The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health and the Center for Reproductive Rights released a report last week documenting the impact of state funding cuts to family planning services on Texas women, particularly women living in the southern Rio Grande Valley [see PDF]. The report asserts that Latinas in Texas – where more than 60 reproductive health clinics have closed since 2010 – face such severely restricted and limited reproductive health care that their human rights are violated.
Latinas in the Rio Grande Valley face almost insurmountable barriers to obtaining reproductive health care that can delay or prevent treatment. Distant and inaccessible clinics, lack of transportation to those clinics, and immigration status can prevent women from receiving the care they need. The high cost of care, as well as appointment wait times that can exceed several months, are also large barriers.
“We want to grow, give back to this country,” said a woman interviewed for the report named Liria. “But for that to happen we need to be in good health.”
Because of the difficulty in accessing quality care, women may be driven to use illegal products and services that are potentially dangerous to their health, and they may face increased stress, anxiety and insecurity. More unintended pregnancies, higher rates of sexually transmitted infections, and limited access to fertility treatment are also negative outcomes.
Texas has grown increasingly hostile to reproductive rights and access over the past few years. Women’s health clinics that offer abortions have been excluded from state funding for women’s health, and they have been required to abide by Targeted Regulations of Abortion Providers (TRAP) that are impossible to follow, causingmany to close. A law passed over the summer requiring physicians who provide abortion to obtain admitting privileges at a local hospital has gone into effect as well after surviving a court battle.
Media Resources: Nuestro Texas; Feminist Newswire 9/5/13, 10/3/13, 10/29/13, 11/1/13