The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH) is the only national reproductive justice organization dedicated to building Latina power to advance health, dignity, and justice for 25 million Latinas, our families, and communities in the United States. We do this through leadership development, community mobilization, policy advocacy, and strategic communications.
We work on a range of issues that affect the ability of Latinas to live with salud, dignidad, y justicia--health, dignity, and justice--including abortion access and affordability, sexual and reproductive health equity, and immigrant women's health and rights. We are also deeply committed to centering the needs of those most affected by reproductive oppression: low-income people, LGBTQ people, pregnant and parenting youth, and undocumented people.
Since our inception, we have defined reproductive justice to include social justice and human rights for LGBTQ people. The LGBTQ liberation and reproductive justice movements share the values of bodily autonomy, sexual liberation, and the ability for persons to decide whether, when, and how to build families and relationships of their choosing. At the core of each movement is the belief that our most personal decisions should be free from political interference.
Right now, we're in the middle of an incredibly challenging time for social justice advocacy. It's true--and exciting--that we have seen tremendous gains in legal protections for LGBTQ people and we certainly advanced in terms of a national conversation about the need for immigration reform. At the same time, it's no secret that reproductive rights have seen tremendous setbacks, particularly at the state level.
But the rollback in legal protections for abortion is not a new threat or the only threat. While the Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade enshrined the right to safe, legal abortion in concept, it did nothing to ensure that those services would be available or affordable. (1) Nor did Roe prevent the steady march of more restrictive abortion laws that seek to close clinics, punish providers, shame and burden women, and ultimately reduce abortion rights to a legal fiction.
One of the clearest examples of this is the Hyde amendment, signed into law each year by Congress since 1976--my entire lifetime. (2) The Hyde Amendment and other bans on insurance coverage for abortion force women to make impossibly difficult choices in order to keep themselves and their families...