Image Source: NPR
On June 24th, 2022, The Supreme Court officially overruled Roe V. Wade, which was the previous Supreme Court case that protected the right to an abortion under the 14th amendment. This now means that each state in America is allowed to determine how to legally deal with abortion in their own way. For some more liberal states, like California, abortion will remain protected under state laws. For more conservative states, like Texas and Alabama, there will be a more than likely outlawing of abortion altogether on top of the possibility of criminal punishment for women who seek to get one.
While this is a disastrous case for any person with a uterus, it is especially hard-hitting for Latinas in the U.S.
To paint the picture, according to the 2020 census, about 15.7% of Hispanic families live below the poverty line. On top of the financial issues many face, almost 20% of Hispanics are not insured at all, which is the most of any ethnic group. These two data points alone tell us that many Latinas will more than likely face some type of financial issue in trying to get proper health care overall, including that of reproductive healthcare like birth control and abortion.
Specifically regarding abortions, Latinas make up 1 in every 5 abortion patients in the United States. This means there is a high need for access to abortion clinics for Latino communities, but unfortunately, there are too many communities where access is scarce and this will continue to dwindle. Many people will suggest going to a location where abortion is less restricted, but many Latinas do not have the financial means to travel or to miss work to get such care. Additionally, if a Latina is undocumented, she lives in even greater fear of being deported if she crosses state or country lines to seek treatment.
A handful of states have already passed laws that ban abortion completely, and many others are on the same path. Without access to safe abortion, what will happen to Latinas? In simple terms, they will be forced to give birth even when they can not physically, mentally, or financially support a child. Women are left with physical and emotional scars from forced birth. Some physical health effects can be cardiovascular conditions, hemorrhages, and infection. Emotional issues typically comes from the stress and mental trauma of forced birth, especially if the child is the product of rape or abuse. In fact, in the state of Minnesota, it is required for you to co-parent with the rapist regardless of a criminal conviction.
For the children themselves, this also has a huge impact on their quality of life. Children who grow up in poverty and unstable living situations are more likely to be poor as adults and experience things like childhood trauma, abuse, housing and food insecurity, and overall increased health issues. By forcing these women to give birth, the Supreme Court is making it incredibly harder for these women and those in their lives to escape the cycle of poverty and life instability.
But don’t think that Latinas are staying silent – in fact, they are currently some of the biggest leaders in the fight for abortion rights. All over the country, Latinas are calling for immediate civil action that mimics that of previous protests in Latin American countries like Colombia, Mexico, and Chile, the last of which is where abortion is now constitutionally protected! They are drawing inspiration from their ancestral homelands, which is proof that change is possible if we take direct action and refuse to back down.
Image Source: National Latina Institute for Reproductive Rights Facebook
If there is one thing for certain, Latinas will not go down silently and we WILL continue to fight for our basic human rights. This may seem like the end, but it is actually only the beginning.
To stay up to date on the fight for Reproductive Rights, specifically concerning Latinas, check out The National Latina Institute For Reproductive Rights.
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