You are here

Center for Reproductive Rights

Subscribe to Center for Reproductive Rights feed
Updated: 4 min 43 sec ago

U.S. Supreme Court Case on Affordable Care Act Could Dismantle Advances in Affordable Reproductive Health Care for Millions of Women

Tue, 03/03/2015 - 23:00
U.S. Supreme Court Case on Affordable Care Act Could Dismantle Advances in Affordable Reproductive Care for Millions Hundreds expected to rally on Supreme Court steps in support of preserving critical tax credits in Obamacare’s massive expansion of affordable health care

03.04.15 - (PRESS RELEASE) The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments today in yet another challenge to the Affordable Care Act—a case that could completely dismantle the historic legislation that has already brought millions of people affordable, quality health care services to which they otherwise would not have access.

The case, King v. Burwell, challenges the Affordable Care Act’s federal tax credits for individuals who need assistance affording mandatory coverage through Health Insurance Marketplaces established by the federal government in the 34 states that have refused to establish state-run Marketplaces. At issue for the Court is whether Congress intended to include such tax credits for individuals obtaining health coverage through these federally-run Marketplaces in addition to the 16 state-run consumer Marketplaces.

The Center for Reproductive Rights is one of 68 organizations that signed on to an amicus brief in the King v. Burwell case, submitted by the National Women’s Law Center, which argues that the tax credits are critical to ensuring more than 9 million women maintain affordable health care benefits

Studies estimate that anywhere from 8 to 10 million Americans would lose their health insurance if the Supreme Court takes away the tax credits they need to afford coverage. Half of those at risk are women, including 1.4 million women of color. An additional 5 million children could also lose coverage.

Said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights:

“The Affordable Care Act is an historic step forward in improving the lives of all Americans, especially millions of women who now have access to a wide range of reproductive health care services they wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford.

“But without the critical benefits afforded by this law, millions of Americans would suddenly lose their insurance coverage—putting their health, well-being, and economic stability at grave risk.

“Just as it previously upheld the Affordable Care Act, the U.S. Supreme Court must take this opportunity to preserve the benefits this historic law provides for millions of Americans—benefits that are essential to their health, lives, families, and future.”  

The Affordable Care Act—which was upheld in 2012 by the U.S. Supreme Court—vastly expanded women’s access to preventive health care without copayments, including contraception, cancer screenings, HIV and STI testing, well-woman visits, breastfeeding support, and prenatal and post-partum care and counseling.

However, in June 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. allowed some private companies to limit their employees’ birth control coverage under the ACA’s preventive health provision based on the religious opinions of corporate owners. ​

Victory for Women as Affordable Care Act Upheld by U.S. Supreme Court U.S. Supreme Court Lets Private Companies Deny Birth Control Coverage to Employees

How (Not) to Protect Women

Tue, 03/03/2015 - 11:40
How (Not) to Protect Women Numerous state policies have been shown to improve women’s and children’s health. Restricting abortion is not one of them.

03.03.15 - The notorious Texas law known as HB2 has closed more than half of the health clinics that provide abortion care in that state. Jodie Laubenberg, the state representative who authored the bill, celebrated its passage in 2013 by saying she was “proud of the step we've taken to protect both babies and women.”

Texas has one of the highest numbers of abortion restrictions in the U.S. Given the sentiments of politicians like Laubenberg, you might expect women’s health to be extremely well-protected in that state.

But when it comes to indicators of the well-being of women and children, Texas has some of the most abysmal scores in the nation.

In Louisiana last year, Senator David Vitter called for an unwarranted investigation of abortion clinics “to protect the health and safety of children.” Meanwhile, his state has one of the highest maternal and infant mortality rates in the country. Despite this, legislators in 2014 advanced a medically unnecessary admitting privileges requirement claiming that it was “about the safety of women.”

Abortion is already a very safe procedure: less than a quarter of one percent of abortions result in a major complication. It’s safer than many other common procedures such as wisdom tooth removal and tonsillectomy.

Nevertheless, anti-choice state legislators proclaim their commitment to women’s and children’s health loudly and often. But that concern fails to translate into real improvements in the lives of families, according to a new report.

Evaluating Priorities markedly shows that states with the most abortion restrictions have the poorest health outcomes for women and children.

The study calculated the number of abortion restrictions in all 50 states and the District of Columbia and ranked them from the least restrictive to the most restrictive state. This ranking was assessed against an array of indicators of women’s and children’s health and well-being in those same states.

The report’s authors found a “consistently negative relationship” between the number of abortion restrictions in a state and the indicators of women’s and children’s health.

States with the most numerous abortion restrictions have also failed to enact policies that genuinely promote the health and well-being of women and children. Such proactive measures include improving the quality of prenatal care, access to cervical cancer screenings, asthma treatment for women and children, and dental care for children, as well as decreasing domestic violence.

“The report makes it clear that enacting abortion restrictions is not genuinely about protecting women’s health; it’s just about politics,” says the Center’s director of state advocacy, Kelly Baden. “There are a number of evidence-based policies that have been shown to improve women’s and children’s health and lives, but restricting abortion is not one of them.”

Instead of imposing restrictions that only intensify the hardship and risk that women face, leaders need to craft policies that respect women’s decision making, improve access to health care, and foster families’ financial health.

To this end, the Center has compiled a guide to pro-women policies that are being proposed and enacted around the country. Released this month, Moving in a New Direction: A Proactive State Policy Resource for Promoting Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice was created in an unprecedented partnership with more than 60 national and state organizations.

Evaluating Priorities: Measuring Women’s and Children’s Health and Well-being against Abortion Restrictions in the States New Report Debunks Politicians’ Disingenuous Claims about Protecting Women’s Health and Safety in Passing Abortion Restrictions

Center for Reproductive Rights Announces High-Ranking State Department Official Karen Hanrahan as New Chief Program Officer

Sun, 03/01/2015 - 23:00
Center for Reproductive Rights Announces High-Ranking State Department Official Karen Hanrahan as Chief Program Officer

03.02.15 - (PRESS RELEASE) The Center for Reproductive Rights has appointed Karen Hanrahan, who most recently served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, as the organization’s new Chief Program Officer, effective today.

A widely recognized expert in international human rights and foreign policy, Hanrahan brings over two decades of experience leading social change and building effective organizations.  As Chief Program Officer. Hanrahan will serve as a member of the Center’s executive management team and oversee the Center’s legal and policy work in the U.S., Latin America, Asia, Africa, Europe and at the U.N.  She will focus on envisioning, implementing, and coordinating the Center’s sweeping portfolio of programs in order to advance the continued transformation of the human rights landscape with respect to reproductive rights, health, and justice.

The Center’s game changing litigation and advocacy work, combined with its unparalleled expertise in the use of constitutional, international, and comparative human rights law, have transformed how reproductive rights are understood by courts, governments, and human rights bodies. It has played a key role in securing legal victories in the U.S., Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe on issues including access to life-saving obstetrics care, contraception, safe abortion services, and comprehensive sexuality information, as well as the prevention of forced sterilization, child marriage, and female genital mutilation.  It has brought groundbreaking cases before national courts, U.N. Committees, and regional human rights bodies, and has built the legal capacity of women’s rights advocates in over 55 countries.

“Karen Hanrahan is a strategic and innovative leader with a track record of promoting and defending human rights,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights. “The imperative need for advancing women’s reproductive health and rights throughout the world demands the kind of bold leadership that Karen has embodied throughout her impressive career, and we are thrilled that she is joining the Center for Reproductive Rights as our Chief Program Officer.”

“I am honored to be joining the leadership team of such a committed, effective organization,” said Karen Hanrahan.  “I have seen the Center’s results-driven legal and policy work produce direct positive impact on people and communities around the world, and I am excited to be part of this inspiring movement.”

Hanrahan has served in the Obama administration since 2009, brought on under the leadership of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.  She was appointed to her most recent role of Deputy Assistant Secretary for Democracy and Human Rights in 2012 where she provided vision and, leadership to shape U.S. Government policy and programs for Africa, South and Central Asia, Business and Human Rights, International Labor Affairs, and Security and Human Rights—including policies on sexual and gender-based violence, child soldiers and counter-terrorism. Hanrahan shaped U.S. Government policy, influenced senior foreign government officials and worked closely with civil society groups around the world.

Prior to serving as Deputy Assistant Secretary, Hanrahan was the architect of then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s inaugural Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (the QDDR) that has redefined the U.S. Government’s approach to diplomacy and development. Hanrahan went on to serve as the Chief Innovation Officer for the UK Department for International Development (DFID) where she helped the agency strengthen its capabilities to devise innovative solutions to entrenched development challenges.

Hanrahan has spent much of her career working in and on countries in conflict, including working closely with Ambassador Richard Holbrooke as the US Coordinator for International Assistance to Afghanistan and Pakistan. She served as the State Department’s Senior Rule of Law Coordinator in Iraq and Senior Consultant to the Iraqi Minister of Human Rights. Prior to this, she served with USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives in Iraq as the Senior Advisor on Human Rights and Transitional Justice. She worked for the UN High Commissioner of Refugees as a Protection Officer in Afghanistan, including substantial work on gender.   Hanrahan went on to serve as Vice President for International Peace and Stability in a Fortune 500 company, leading a large-scale organizational change effort and travelling around the world to integrate human rights, rule of law, and security assistance.

Hanrahan began her legal career as an associate at White & Case in Washington, D.C., focusing on international financial institutions and foreign investment, while representing asylum seekers and unaccompanied refugee minors on a pro bonobasis.  She graduated from University of Washington School of Law, holds a master’s degree in international politics from American University, and completed the advanced management program at the Harvard Business School.​

Miscarriage of Justice

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 10:10
Miscarriage of Justice Unjustly convicted of homicide after experiencing a miscarriage, Guadalupe is at last free. But there are many more women like her who are not.

02.27.15 - Last week, Guadalupe spent her first night at home as a free woman following seven years in prison. After mounting international and local pressure prompted the Salvadoran government to issue a pardon in her case, she was quietly released.

At 25 years old, Guadalupe has already been through more than any woman should have to endure. She was raped, and became pregnant as a result. After Guadalupe miscarried late in the pregnancy, she was unjustly accused of abortion and convicted of murder. Her sentence was 30 years in prison.

The day after her release, surrounded by supporters and human rights advocates, Guadalupe gave the following statement:

My name is Carmen Guadalupe Vásquez Aldana and today I stand before you with overwhelming relief and joy. I have been waiting and hoping for this day for more than seven years.

 

I was 18 years old when I suffered a terrible tragedy. I became pregnant after being raped, and then lost the baby before it was born. But when I was taken to the hospital—even though I had done nothing wrong—I was treated as a criminal.

Due to our country’s unfair abortion laws, I was prosecuted, convicted of homicide, and sentenced to prison for 30 years, even though there was absolutely no evidence that I had committed a crime. I have now spent most of my adult life behind bars for something I did not do.

When I was in prison at Centro Penal de Ilopango, I met other women like me. Women who had suffered terrible losses but are instead being treated like murderers. I wish to send a message of strength and hope to these women. I want them to know the world is now paying attention, and there are many people fighting for their release.

I would not be here today without many of these people. In particular—for their tireless support and advocacy—I would like to thank Morena Herrera and Sara García from la Agrupación Ciudadana, and my lawyers, Dennis Muñoz and Angelica Rivas.  And I also feel immense gratitude for the other local, regional, and international organizations that have worked so hard to return me to my family and restore to me my freedom.

This is a day I have dreamed of for years and a day I will never forget. Moving forward, I simply ask for privacy and respect as my family and I attempt to rebuild the life that was stolen from us when I was unjustly imprisoned.

Guadalupe’s story is not unique. For more than 16 years, El Salvador has criminalized abortion in all circumstances—even when necessary to save a woman’s life. The inhumane ban has resulted in the wrongful imprisonment of countless women who have suffered pregnancy-related complications and miscarriages.

Guadalupe is one of “Las 17,” a group of 17 women who, under similarly tragic circumstances, have been charged with homicide and given 30 to 40 year prison sentences. Today, 15 of them remain imprisoned, many at the same severely overcrowded facility where Guadalupe was held.

On the same day that Guadalupe was released, Agrupación Ciudadana—a local advocacy group that has fought for the release of Las 17—confirmed that the Salvadoran government is refusing to issue any additional pardons of other similarly imprisoned women.

The Center for Reproductive Rights has been working with Agrupación Ciudadana for over a decade to expose the harsh consequences El Salvador’s ban has on women. Guadalupe’s pardon is the most significant government response we have seen to our efforts so far. The momentum is building.

Help us keep the pressure on. Let Las 17 know the world is watching—and that we stand with them.

We are asking Secretary of State John Kerry to call on El Salvador to release Las 17 and stop treating women in need of reproductive care as criminals. Add your name to the petition today.

El Salvador Issues Pardon of Woman Wrongfully Imprisoned for Pregnancy Complications El Salvador Releases One Woman Wrongfully Imprisoned, But Refuses to Pardon 15 Others

Retrial Begins for Nepalese Migrant Worker Wrongfully Accused of Obtaining Illegal Abortion

Wed, 02/25/2015 - 23:00
Retrial Begins for Nepalese Migrant Worker Wrongfully Accused of Obtaining Illegal Abortion

02.26.15 - (PRESS RELEASE) The retrial of Nirmala Thapa, a 24-year old Nepalese migrant worker who was arrested alongside her doctor in a clinic raid and found guilty of obtaining an illegal abortion, starts today in the Penang High Court in Malaysia.

High Court Judicial Commissioner Nordin Hassan overturned Nirmala’s conviction in January after he discovered she was charged and convicted without a Nepali interpreter and determined she was unable to understand the full consequences of her initial guilty plea. 

Since 1989, abortion in Malaysia has been legal in circumstances when a qualified doctor considers the “continuance of the pregnancy” to pose a “risk of injury to the mental or physical health of the woman, greater than if the pregnancy were terminated.” Nirmala is the first woman to be charged and convicted for an “illegal” abortion since 1989.

Said Melissa Upreti, regional director for Asia at the Center for Reproductive Rights:

“Migrant women deserve the same reproductive health care as every other woman in Malaysia, and Nirmala was unfairly targeted.

“If Nirmala’s conviction is upheld, it will set a dangerous precedent for the harassment and unlawful imprisonment of any woman in Malaysia who obtains legal abortion care.

“We urge the Malaysian judicial authorities together with the Ministry of Health to work quickly to reverse the unjust and discriminatory charges against Nirmala and to set her free.”

In October 2014, Nirmala, who was six weeks pregnant at the time, went to a polyclinic in Taman Ciku, Bukit Mertajam seeking a legal abortion. Nirmala was an operator at a Sony factory and, because she was a migrant worker, the pregnancy put her job security at risk. The doctor considered the mental trauma associated with the risks of Nirmala losing her job, having to pay compensation to her employer, and being sent back home if found pregnant—and decided she was legally justified to have a termination.  While in the recovery room post procedure, officials from the Malaysian Ministry of Health entered the clinic and arrested both Nirmala and her doctor.

The Bukit Mertajam Sessions Court charged and convicted Nirmala in November with “conducting an act to prevent a child from being born alive without the intention of saving her own life as a mother,” under section 315 of the country’s Penal Code. Soon after, she filed an appeal in the Penang High Court which was granted by High Court Commissioner Nordin Hassan. Nirmala is currently out of prison on bail and staying at a migrant workers shelter.

The application of section 315 for terminating an early non-viable pregnancy before 22 weeks is unprecedented in Malaysia. The human rights bodies that oversee states’ compliance with the international treaties that have been signed and ratified by Malaysia have recognized the right to safe and legal abortion as a human right. Nirmala’s rights have been violated under both Malaysian law and international law and justice demands that the Penang High Court accord full protection to the rights of all women in Malaysia to reproductive health care without stigma and criminal punishment.

The Center for Reproductive Rights has built a significant presence throughout Asia with major initiatives such as the South Asia Reproductive Justice and Accountability Initiative that focuses on promoting the use of the law and legal strategies to protect and advance women’s reproductive rights in the region. The Center—which opened a regional office in Kathmandu, Nepal in 2012—has conducted legal research, built local capacity and undertaken advocacy at the UN in relation to numerous countries in the region.

Center for Reproductive Rights Calls on West Virginia Governor to Veto Cruel and Unconstitutional Abortion Ban

Wed, 02/25/2015 - 23:00
Center for Reproductive Rights Calls on West Virginia Governor to Veto Cruel and Unconstitutional Abortion Ban Governor vetoed nearly identical legislation last year, citing constitutional concerns, dangerous impact on pregnant women

02.26.15 - (PRESS RELEASE) For the second time in less than a year, the West Virginia Legislature has passed an unconstitutional ban on abortion at 20 weeks.  HB 2568 contains an extremely narrow exception for medical emergencies—including non-viable pregnancies— and no exceptions for survivors of rape or incest.

West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin vetoed last year’s attempt to unconstitutionally ban abortion in the state, noting the bill would be a “detriment of the health and safety” of women and a violation of the U.S. Constitution.

Said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights: 

“West Virginia politicians are yet again interfering in personal, private decisions that should be left to women, their families, and their doctors. 

“Pregnant women facing challenging circumstances need policies and laws that advance healthy pregnancies and address their real medical needs, not interference from politicians who presume to know better.

“Last year, Governor Tomblin stood up for women’s health and safety and rightfully vetoed this intrusive measure.  Once again, we call upon Governor Tomblin to prioritize the lives and health of women in West Virginia over political pretense and veto this bill.”

The U.S. Supreme Court has consistently held—first in Roe v. Wade and again in Planned Parenthood v. Casey—that states cannot ban abortion prior to viability. Last year, the Supreme Court refused to review a decision permanently blocking Arizona’s ban on abortion at 20 weeks of pregnancy, and courts in Idaho and Georgia have also blocked similar pre-viability bans.

Bans on abortion at 20 weeks are as dangerous as they are unconstitutional, coming at a point at which a woman is just receiving the results of critical tests to determine the health of her pregnancy—and potentially the presence of severe and possibly life-threatening complications.

Harmful and unconstitutional restrictions like these further underscore the need for the federal Women's Health Protection Act (S. 217/HR. 448)—a bill that would prohibit states like West Virginia from imposing unconstitutional restrictions on reproductive health care providers that apply to no similar medical care, interfere with women’s personal decision making, and block access to safe and legal abortion services.​

Center for Reproductive Rights Calls on West Virginia Governor to Veto Cruel and Unconstitutional Abortion Ban Unexpected Veto of Abortion Ban in WV Supreme Court Refuses to Review Arizona Abortion Ban

El Salvador libera una mujer encarcelada injustamente y se rehusa a indultar a las 15 mujeres restantes

Sun, 02/22/2015 - 23:00
El Salvador libera una mujer encarcelada injustamente y se rehusa a indultar a las 15 mujeres restantes

23.02.15 - (COMUNICADO DE PRENSA) El mismo día en que defensores locales celebran la liberación oficial de “Guadalupe”; una víctima de violencia sexual que fue denunciada por aborto y quien fue injustamente encarcelada por homicidio después de sufrir una complicación en su embarazo; fuentes anónimas confirmaron a la Agrupación Ciudadana que El Salvador no emitirá más indultos al resto de mujeres que se encuentran en circunstancias similares.

En enero de este año el Congreso aprobó el indulto para “Guadalupe” con 43 votos a favor, después de que el Comité de Derechos Humanos del Congreso y la Corte Suprema de Justicia presentaran sus recomendaciones para que se diera su liberación. Las mujeres restantes hacen parte del grupo de “Las 17” mujeres detenidas injustamente y quienes actualmente sirven penas de entre 30 y 40 años de cárcel.

Durante más de 16 años El Salvador ha criminalizado el aborto en todos los casos, inclusive en los casos en que el aborto es necesario para salvaguardar la vida y la salud de la mujer, imponiendo graves penas a las mujeres y los doctores que practiquen abortos. La prohibición también se ha traducido en la detención arbitraria y criminalización de un amplio número de mujeres que han sufrido complicaciones relacionadas con el embarazo y abortos espontáneos.

Nancy Northup, Presidenta y Directora Ejecutiva del Centro de Derechos Reproductivos afirmó:

"La liberación de Guadalupe debería ser celebrada como una victoria y un símbolo de esperanza para el resto de mujeres que sufren las consecuencias de las leyes restrictivas que prohíben el aborto en El Salvador, pero por el contrario, este día debe ser recordado como el día en que le negaron la justicia al resto de mujeres que siguen injustamente encarceladas”.

"Buscar cuidados médicos después de una emergencia obstétrica en ningún caso puede significar la comisión de un delito y ninguna mujer debe tener miedo de ser detenida o encarcelada por hacerlo”.

“Las leyes que prohíben de manera absoluta el aborto en El Salvador son una clara violación de los derechos humanos de Las 17 y de todas las mujeres en el país. Desde el Centro, seguiremos trabajando con nuestros aliados globales y locales para exigir la libertad del resto de las mujeres que han sido injustamente encarceladas bajo las leyes restrictivas que prohíben el aborto, y a su vez incidir en la reforma necesaria para combatir el ambiente de miedo, sospecha y abuso que enfrentan las mujeres en El Salvador”.

En diciembre de 2014, una coalición de organizaciones dirigidas por la Agrupación Ciudadana y el Centro de Derechos Reproductivos, puso en marcha la campaña "Las17" para pedir la liberación de "Guadalupe" y otras 16 mujeres salvadoreñas que sufrieron emergencias obstétricas y posteriormente fueron declaradas responsables de homicidio. “Mirna”, una de las “Las17” mujeres fue liberada en Diciembre después de haber completado la pena por la que fue sentenciada y sin la oportunidad de haber sido indultada. Actualmente, 15 mujeres siguen detenidas pagando penas entre 30 y 40 años de cárcel.

En noviembre del año pasado, 12 países denunciaron la penalización del aborto en El Salvador en el marco del Examen Periódico Universal (EPU) del Consejo de Derechos Humanos de las Naciones Unidas. En enero de 2015, seis expertos independientes de las Naciones Unidas solicitaron a El Salvador reformar la ley restrictiva que prohíbe de manera absoluta el aborto e indultar a todas las mujeres que han sido detenidas y encarceladas tras enfrentar emergencias obstétricas.

“El Centro de Derechos Reproductivos seguirá trabajando hasta que cesen las vulneraciones a los derechos humanos de las mujeres en El Salvador y se reformen las leyes restrictivas para que se respete, proteja y garantice los derechos a la vida y a la salud de las mujeres”, afirmó Mónica Arango, Directora Regional para América Latina y el Caribe.

El Centro de Derechos Reproductivos ha trabajado durante más de 12 años para exponer las consecuencias de la prohibición absoluta del aborto en la vida de las mujeres en El Salvador. El Centro y la Agrupación Ciudadana, prepararon el informe Excluidas, Perseguidas, Encarceladas: El Impacto de la Criminalización Absoluta del Aborto en El Salvador, el cual documenta las consecuencias en los derechos humanos de la prohibición del aborto, e incluye las historias de cinco mujeres que fueron injustamente encarceladas por cometer abortos ilegales después de sufrir emergencias obstétricas. El informe analiza cómo los sistemas de salud, judicial y penitenciario de El Salvador no garantizan los derechos humanos de las mujeres.

El Salvador Releases One Woman Wrongfully Imprisoned, But Refuses to Pardon 15 Others

Wed, 02/18/2015 - 23:00
El Salvador Releases One Woman Wrongfully Imprisoned, But Refuses to Pardon 15 Others

02.19.15 - (PRESS RELEASE) On the same day local advocates celebrate the official release of “Guadalupe”—a rape survivor who became pregnant, suffered an obstetric emergency, was charged for having an abortion and later wrongfully imprisoned for homicide—anonymous sources have confirmed that El Salvador will refuse to issue any additional pardons of other similarly imprisoned women, according to Agrupación Ciudadana.

Last month, the Congress approved “Guadalupe’s” pardon by 43 votes, after both the Human Rights Congressional Committee and Supreme Court Committee submitted their recommendation for her release. The remaining women, part of a group called “Las 17,” are each currently serving 30-40 year sentences.

For more than 16 years, El Salvador has criminalized abortion in all circumstances--even when necessary to save a woman’s life—imposing harsh criminal penalties on both women and physicians. The ban has resulted in the wrongful imprisonment of countless women who have suffered pregnancy-related complications and miscarriages, who are then charged for having an abortion and wrongfully convicted of homicide.

Said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights:

“Guadalupe’s release should be celebrated as a victory and symbol of hope for women who have suffered under El Salvador’s unjust laws, but instead it marks a day justice is being denied to the rest of these wrongfully imprisoned women.

“Seeking critical health care in a medical emergency is not a crime, and no woman should have to fear imprisonment for doing so.

“El Salvador’s severe anti-abortion laws are a gross violation of the human rights of Las 17 and women across the country. We stand with our global and local partners to demand the release of all women wrongfully imprisoned under these laws, and long-overdue reform for all Salvadoran women living under their government’s cloud of fear, suspicion, and abuse.”

In December, a coalition of NGOs led by Agrupación Ciudadana and the Center for Reproductive Rights, launched the “Las17” online campaign calling for the release of “Guadalupe” and 16 other Salvadoran women who all suffered obstetric emergencies, were charged for having an abortion and were later convicted of homicide. “Mirna,” one of “Las 17” was released in December after serving her prison sentence before her pardon could be finalized. The remaining 15 women are each currently serving 30-40 year sentences.

In November, 12 countries denounced the criminalization of abortion in El Salvador as part of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) by the United Nations Human Rights Council. In January, a group of United Nations human rights experts called on El Salvador to review its draconian abortion law and pardon all women jailed for obstetric emergencies.

“The Center for Reproductive Rights will continue to shed light on the human rights violations faced by women in El Salvador, and we will not rest until the government reforms its laws to respect, protect, and fulfill women’s rights to life and health,” said Mónica Arango, regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean.

The Center for Reproductive Rights has worked for more than 12 years to expose the consequences that the blanket abortion ban in El Salvador has on the lives of women. Recently, the Center and the Agrupación Ciudadana co-authored the reportMarginalized, Persecuted and Imprisoned: The Effects of El Salvador’s Total Criminalization of Abortion that documents the human rights consequences of the abortion ban, and includes the personal stories of five women who were unfairly prosecuted for illegal abortion after suffering obstetric emergencies without receiving medical attention. The report analyzes how El Salvador’s health, judicial and prison systems fail to guarantee women’s human rights.

12 Countries Call on El Salvador to Decriminalize Abortion Marginalized, Persecuted, and Imprisoned: The Effects of El Salvador’s Total Criminalization of Abortion

El Salvador Releases One Woman Wrongfully Imprisoned, But Refuses to Pardon 15 Others

Wed, 02/18/2015 - 23:00
El Salvador Releases One Woman Wrongfully Imprisoned, But Refuses to Pardon 15 Others

02.19.15 - (PRESS RELEASE) On the same day local advocates celebrate the official release of “Guadalupe”—a rape survivor who became pregnant, suffered an obstetric emergency, was charged for having an abortion and later wrongfully imprisoned for homicide—anonymous sources have confirmed that El Salvador will refuse to issue any additional pardons of other similarly imprisoned women, according to Agrupación Ciudadana.

Last month, the Congress approved “Guadalupe’s” pardon by 43 votes, after both the Human Rights Congressional Committee and Supreme Court Committee submitted their recommendation for her release. The remaining women, part of a group called “Las 17,” are each currently serving 30-40 year sentences.

For more than 16 years, El Salvador has criminalized abortion in all circumstances--even when necessary to save a woman’s life—imposing harsh criminal penalties on both women and physicians. The ban has resulted in the wrongful imprisonment of countless women who have suffered pregnancy-related complications and miscarriages, who are then charged for having an abortion and wrongfully convicted of homicide.

Said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights:

“Guadalupe’s release should be celebrated as a victory and symbol of hope for women who have suffered under El Salvador’s unjust laws, but instead it marks a day justice is being denied to the rest of these wrongfully imprisoned women.

“Seeking critical health care in a medical emergency is not a crime, and no woman should have to fear imprisonment for doing so.

“El Salvador’s severe anti-abortion laws are a gross violation of the human rights of Las 17 and women across the country. We stand with our global and local partners to demand the release of all women wrongfully imprisoned under these laws, and long-overdue reform for all Salvadoran women living under their government’s cloud of fear, suspicion, and abuse.”

In December, a coalition of NGOs led by Agrupación Ciudadana and the Center for Reproductive Rights, launched the “Las17” online campaign calling for the release of “Guadalupe” and 16 other Salvadoran women who all suffered obstetric emergencies, were charged for having an abortion and were later convicted of homicide. “Mirna,” one of “Las 17” was released in December after serving her prison sentence before her pardon could be finalized. The remaining 15 women are each currently serving 30-40 year sentences.

In November, 12 countries denounced the criminalization of abortion in El Salvador as part of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) by the United Nations Human Rights Council. In January, a group of United Nations human rights experts called on El Salvador to review its draconian abortion law and pardon all women jailed for obstetric emergencies.

“The Center for Reproductive Rights will continue to shed light on the human rights violations faced by women in El Salvador, and we will not rest until the government reforms its laws to respect, protect, and fulfill women’s rights to life and health,” said Mónica Arango, regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean.

The Center for Reproductive Rights has worked for more than 12 years to expose the consequences that the blanket abortion ban in El Salvador has on the lives of women. Recently, the Center and the Agrupación Ciudadana co-authored the reportMarginalized, Persecuted and Imprisoned: The Effects of El Salvador’s Total Criminalization of Abortion that documents the human rights consequences of the abortion ban, and includes the personal stories of five women who were unfairly prosecuted for illegal abortion after suffering obstetric emergencies without receiving medical attention. The report analyzes how El Salvador’s health, judicial and prison systems fail to guarantee women’s human rights.

12 Countries Call on El Salvador to Decriminalize Abortion Marginalized, Persecuted, and Imprisoned: The Effects of El Salvador’s Total Criminalization of Abortion

Mississippi Asks Supreme Court to Review State’s Clinic Shutdown Law

Tue, 02/17/2015 - 23:00
Mississippi Asks Supreme Court to Review State’s Clinic Shutdown Law Law blocked by appellate court threatens to shutter last clinic in the state, abortion access in region already devastated by similar restrictions

02.18.15 - (PRESS RELEASE) Mississippi has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review a decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit blocking a law designed to close the last remaining abortion clinic in the state.

Today’s filing follows the U.S. Fifth Circuit’s decision to uphold a lower court’s decision to block the law—which forces a physician performing abortions at a clinic to have admitting privileges at a local hospital—from taking effect pending the outcome of the case

Admitting privileges requirements—which are designed by anti-choice politicians as an underhanded way to shutter high-quality clinics and severely limit abortion services—have already devastated abortion access across the South.  Numerous clinics have already been forced to close due to the clinic shutdown law in Texas, and abortion providers in LouisianaOklahoma, and Alabama are hanging on by the thread of a court order.

Said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights:

“There is no reason for the U.S. Supreme Court to step into this case.

“This law is an underhanded attempt by anti-choice politicians to close the state’s only abortion clinic. Mississippi cannot make a run-around the constitutional guarantees of Roe v. Wade with a sham health and safety law.

"The Court should decline to review the sound determination that Mississippi women would be irreparably harmed if the state were allowed to close its last clinic.”

Although all the doctors currently providing abortions to women at the Mississippi clinic are board-certified ob-gyns, the physicians responsible for providing abortions to the vast majority of the clinic’s patients have been unable to obtain privileges at any hospital in the area—in fact, no hospital would even process the physicians’ applications, with several hospitals citing their policies on abortion care.

Medical experts confirm that legal abortion care in the U.S. is extremely safe, with less than a quarter of 1 percent of patients experiencing a major complication.  Furthermore, privileges can be impossible to obtain due to individual hospital policies or biases toward abortion providers for reasons not related to the doctors’ qualifications.

Major medical groups oppose laws like Mississippi’s that require hospital admitting privileges for physicians providing abortion services. In an amicus brief filed in the challenge to Texas’ admitting privileges requirement, the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) write that the law “jeopardizes women’s health in Texas,” doing “nothing to protect the health of women.”

The Jackson Women’s Health Organization has served women and families in Mississippi for nearly 20 years, and has been the sole reproductive health care provider offering abortion in the state since 2002. The next nearest clinics for Mississippi residents are approximately three hours away, with most neighboring states requiring a mandatory 24-hour waiting period.

The Center filed the suit on behalf of Jackson Women’s Health Organization & Willie Parker, M.D., M.P.H., M.Sc. v. Mary Currier, M.D., M.P.H. & Robert Shuler Smith, with Julie Rikelman as lead counsel, along with co-counsel Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP and Robert B. McDuff in Jackson, Mississippi.

Harmful and unconstitutional restrictions like these further underscore the need for the federal Women's Health Protection Act (S. 217/HR. 448)—a bill that would prohibit states like Mississippi from imposing unconstitutional restrictions on reproductive health care providers that apply to no similar medical care, interfere with women’s personal decision making, and block access to safe and legal abortion services.​

Case History

Following the lawsuit brought by the Center for Reproductive Rights on behalf of the Jackson Women’s Health Organization and Dr. Willie Parker, a federal district court partially blocked the law in July 2012 andlater fully blocked it in April 2013—barring the state from imposing criminal and civil penalties on the clinic doctors and on staff pending the outcome of the litigation.  A three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit heardarguments on the district court’s preliminary injunction in April 2014 and upheld the injunction blocking the law in July 2014.  In November 2014 the Fifth Circuit refused to reconsider its decision to continue to block the law—allowing the clinic to stay open—while the case proceeds. 

Fifth Circuit Considers Mississippi Law Designed to Shutter Last Clinic in the State Federal Judge Blocks All Enforcement of Mississippi Admitting Privileges Requirement Full Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Refuses to Rehear Mississippi Law Designed to Close Last Abortion Clinic Texas Clinics Closed by Fifth Circuit Can Reopen in Light of Supreme Court Ruling Federal Court Blocks Enforcement of Louisiana Law Threatening Women’s Access to Safe and Legal Abortion Oklahoma Supreme Court Blocks Two Unconstitutional Measures Designed to Severely Restrict Access to Abortion

Mississippi Asks Supreme Court to Review State’s Clinic Shutdown Law

Tue, 02/17/2015 - 23:00
Mississippi Asks Supreme Court to Review State’s Clinic Shutdown Law Law blocked by appellate court threatens to shutter last clinic in the state, abortion access in region already devastated by similar restrictions

02.18.15 - (PRESS RELEASE) Mississippi has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review a decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit blocking a law designed to close the last remaining abortion clinic in the state.

Today’s filing follows the U.S. Fifth Circuit’s decision to uphold a lower court’s decision to block the law—which forces a physician performing abortions at a clinic to have admitting privileges at a local hospital—from taking effect pending the outcome of the case

Admitting privileges requirements—which are designed by anti-choice politicians as an underhanded way to shutter high-quality clinics and severely limit abortion services—have already devastated abortion access across the South.  Numerous clinics have already been forced to close due to the clinic shutdown law in Texas, and abortion providers in LouisianaOklahoma, and Alabama are hanging on by the thread of a court order.

Said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights:

“There is no reason for the U.S. Supreme Court to step into this case.

“This law is an underhanded attempt by anti-choice politicians to close the state’s only abortion clinic. Mississippi cannot make a run-around the constitutional guarantees of Roe v. Wade with a sham health and safety law.

"The Court should decline to review the sound determination that Mississippi women would be irreparably harmed if the state were allowed to close its last clinic.”

Although all the doctors currently providing abortions to women at the Mississippi clinic are board-certified ob-gyns, the physicians responsible for providing abortions to the vast majority of the clinic’s patients have been unable to obtain privileges at any hospital in the area—in fact, no hospital would even process the physicians’ applications, with several hospitals citing their policies on abortion care.

Medical experts confirm that legal abortion care in the U.S. is extremely safe, with less than a quarter of 1 percent of patients experiencing a major complication.  Furthermore, privileges can be impossible to obtain due to individual hospital policies or biases toward abortion providers for reasons not related to the doctors’ qualifications.

Major medical groups oppose laws like Mississippi’s that require hospital admitting privileges for physicians providing abortion services. In an amicus brief filed in the challenge to Texas’ admitting privileges requirement, the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) write that the law “jeopardizes women’s health in Texas,” doing “nothing to protect the health of women.”

The Jackson Women’s Health Organization has served women and families in Mississippi for nearly 20 years, and has been the sole reproductive health care provider offering abortion in the state since 2002. The next nearest clinics for Mississippi residents are approximately three hours away, with most neighboring states requiring a mandatory 24-hour waiting period.

The Center filed the suit on behalf of Jackson Women’s Health Organization & Willie Parker, M.D., M.P.H., M.Sc. v. Mary Currier, M.D., M.P.H. & Robert Shuler Smith, with Julie Rikelman as lead counsel, along with co-counsel Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP and Robert B. McDuff in Jackson, Mississippi.

Harmful and unconstitutional restrictions like these further underscore the need for the federal Women's Health Protection Act (S. 217/HR. 448)—a bill that would prohibit states like Mississippi from imposing unconstitutional restrictions on reproductive health care providers that apply to no similar medical care, interfere with women’s personal decision making, and block access to safe and legal abortion services.​

Case History

Following the lawsuit brought by the Center for Reproductive Rights on behalf of the Jackson Women’s Health Organization and Dr. Willie Parker, a federal district court partially blocked the law in July 2012 andlater fully blocked it in April 2013—barring the state from imposing criminal and civil penalties on the clinic doctors and on staff pending the outcome of the litigation.  A three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit heardarguments on the district court’s preliminary injunction in April 2014 and upheld the injunction blocking the law in July 2014.  In November 2014 the Fifth Circuit refused to reconsider its decision to continue to block the law—allowing the clinic to stay open—while the case proceeds. 

Fifth Circuit Considers Mississippi Law Designed to Shutter Last Clinic in the State Federal Judge Blocks All Enforcement of Mississippi Admitting Privileges Requirement Full Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Refuses to Rehear Mississippi Law Designed to Close Last Abortion Clinic Texas Clinics Closed by Fifth Circuit Can Reopen in Light of Supreme Court Ruling Federal Court Blocks Enforcement of Louisiana Law Threatening Women’s Access to Safe and Legal Abortion Oklahoma Supreme Court Blocks Two Unconstitutional Measures Designed to Severely Restrict Access to Abortion

Colorado Proposes Ultimate Sham Law

Tue, 02/17/2015 - 15:47
Colorado Proposes Ultimate Sham Law

02.17.15 - Extremist Colorado politicians are making a risky move with a new piece of sweeping anti-choice legislation that could actually end up alienating moderate voters, according to a recent article in RH Reality Check.

Disingenuously named the “Women’s Health Protection Act” (not to be confused with proposed federal legislation of the same name that seeks to protect women from state level assaults on their reproductive freedom), HB 15-1128 is the quintessential “sham law”—an increasingly popular variety of anti-choice legislation that purports to protect women’s health while actually imposing medically unnecessary requirements on abortion providers and women seeking care.

The proposed Colorado bill claims abortion poses “an increased risk of breast cancer, fertility problems, emotional problems, and even death.” In fact, as RH Reality Check points out:

There is little dispute that abortion is one of the safest medical procedures, which is why the vast majority of abortions are performed in outpatient clinics or doctors’ offices. This has been affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court. Still, anti-choice legislators push admitting privilege requirements with language indicating care for women’s safety.

Given the current political landscape in Colorado, the bill has little to no chance of passing—and may even backfire, helping state Democrats regain control of the Senate.

Read the article at RH Reality Check.

Colorado Proposes Ultimate Sham Law

Tue, 02/17/2015 - 15:47
Colorado Proposes Ultimate Sham Law

02.17.15 - Extremist Colorado politicians are making a risky move with a new piece of sweeping anti-choice legislation that could actually end up alienating moderate voters, according to a recent article in RH Reality Check.

Disingenuously named the “Women’s Health Protection Act” (not to be confused with proposed federal legislation of the same name that seeks to protect women from state level assaults on their reproductive freedom), HB 15-1128 is the quintessential “sham law”—an increasingly popular variety of anti-choice legislation that purports to protect women’s health while actually imposing medically unnecessary requirements on abortion providers and women seeking care.

The proposed Colorado bill claims abortion poses “an increased risk of breast cancer, fertility problems, emotional problems, and even death.” In fact, as RH Reality Check points out:

There is little dispute that abortion is one of the safest medical procedures, which is why the vast majority of abortions are performed in outpatient clinics or doctors’ offices. This has been affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court. Still, anti-choice legislators push admitting privilege requirements with language indicating care for women’s safety.

Given the current political landscape in Colorado, the bill has little to no chance of passing—and may even backfire, helping state Democrats regain control of the Senate. 

Webinar Series with LSRJ & Ipas

Tue, 02/17/2015 - 12:53
Webinar Series with LSRJ & Ipas

02.17.15 - We're partnering with the Law Students for Reproductive Rights to bring you another webinar series this spring! Join us for “The World's Abortion Laws Map,” the first webinar of the series on Wednesday, March 4th at 4pm PT/7pm ET.

You can find details and registration information here.

Family Law: International & Comparative Law Supplement on Reproductive Rights

Webinar Series with LSRJ & Ipas

Tue, 02/17/2015 - 12:53
Webinar Series with LSRJ & Ipas

02.17.15 - We're partnering with the Law Students for Reproductive Rights to bring you another webinar series this spring! Join us for “The World's Abortion Laws Map,” the first webinar of the series on Wednesday, March 4th at 4pm PT/7pm ET. You can find details and registration information here.

Family Law: International & Comparative Law Supplement on Reproductive Rights

María Mamérita Mestanza: el caso de las esterilizaciones forzadas en Perú sigue estancado

Sun, 02/08/2015 - 23:00
María Mamérita Mestanza: el caso de las esterilizaciones forzadas en Perú sigue estancado Casa_Image.jpg

09.02.15 - El pasado 4 de febrero en Lima, APRODEH, CEJIL, DEMUS, CLADEM, la Comisión Nacional de Derechos Humanos, el Centro Flora Tristán, IAMAMC, MAM Fundacional y SER, expresaron su preocupación frente al incumplimiento de los compromisos adquiridos por el Estado peruano en el acuerdo de solución amistosa del caso de María Mamérita Mestanza. La amenaza a dicho cumplimiento surge ya que el Fiscal designado en provisionalidad para investigar los casos de esterilizaciones forzadas se postuló para otro cargo, retrasando aún más las investigaciones sobre los responsables de estas graves violaciones de derechos humanos.  

En el pronunciamiento se exigió al Estado de Perú que cumpla con su obligación internacional de investigar con la debida diligencia los hechos, lo cual incluye no generar dilaciones indebidas en la etapa preliminar de la investigación. En ese mismo sentido Amnistía Internacional se pronunció en enero de 2015, exhortando a las autoridades estatales para que garanticen el derecho a la justicia y a la reparación de todas las mujeres víctimas de esta práctica sistemática de violaciones graves y masivas.

En 1998, María Mamérita Mestanza, mujer campesina en la población de La Encañada, murió debido a complicaciones de salud por la mala calidad del procedimiento de ligadura de trompas. Dicho procedimiento se llevó a cabo como parte del Programa Nacional de Salud Reproductiva y Planificación Familiar durante el gobierno de Alberto Fujimori, bajo el cual cerca de 350.000 mujeres y 25.000 hombres fueron esterilizados de manera forzada durante el período 1990-2000.

Este Programa fue justificado como una política de control poblacional para enfrentar la pobreza en el país. No obstante, el caso de Mestanza como el de las otras miles de mujeres, demuestran que fue una política pública para controlar la reproducción de las mujeres pobres, indígenas y de zonas rurales.

En octubre de 2003, la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos aprobó el acuerdo amistoso del caso y el Estado de Perú se comprometió a investigar y sancionar a los responsables de las esterilizaciones forzadas, así como reparar de manera integral a la familia de Mestanza. Luego de 17 años de ocurrido los hechos, aún no se han identificado ni sancionado a los responsables. A las organizaciones que acompañamos el caso, nos preocupa la inefectividad judicial y la falta de voluntad por parte del Estado peruano para cumplir con sus obligaciones internacionales asumidas en el acuerdo de solución amistosa.

María Mamérita Mestanza: el caso de las esterilizaciones forzadas en Perú sigue estancado

Sun, 02/08/2015 - 23:00
María Mamérita Mestanza: el caso de las esterilizaciones forzadas en Perú sigue estancado Casa_Image.jpg

09.02.15 - El pasado 4 de febrero en Lima, APRODEH, CEJIL, DEMUS, CLADEM, la Comisión Nacional de Derechos Humanos, el Centro Flora Tristán, IAMAMC, MAM Fundacional y SER, expresaron su preocupación frente al incumplimiento de los compromisos adquiridos por el Estado peruano en el acuerdo de solución amistosa del caso de María Mamérita Mestanza. La amenaza a dicho cumplimiento surge ya que el Fiscal designado en provisionalidad para investigar los casos de esterilizaciones forzadas se postuló para otro cargo, retrasando aún más las investigaciones sobre los responsables de estas graves violaciones de derechos humanos.  

En el pronunciamiento se exigió al Estado de Perú que cumpla con su obligación internacional de investigar con la debida diligencia los hechos, lo cual incluye no generar dilaciones indebidas en la etapa preliminar de la investigación. En ese mismo sentido Amnistía Internacional se pronunció en enero de 2015, exhortando a las autoridades estatales para que garanticen el derecho a la justicia y a la reparación de todas las mujeres víctimas de esta práctica sistemática de violaciones graves y masivas.

En 1998, María Mamérita Mestanza, mujer campesina en la población de La Encañada, murió debido a complicaciones de salud por la mala calidad del procedimiento de ligadura de trompas. Dicho procedimiento se llevó a cabo como parte del Programa Nacional de Salud Reproductiva y Planificación Familiar durante el gobierno de Alberto Fujimori, bajo el cual cerca de 350.000 mujeres y 25.000 hombres fueron esterilizados de manera forzada durante el período 1990-2000.

Este Programa fue justificado como una política de control poblacional para enfrentar la pobreza en el país. No obstante, el caso de Mestanza como el de las otras miles de mujeres, demuestran que fue una política pública para controlar la reproducción de las mujeres pobres, indígenas y de zonas rurales.

En octubre de 2003, la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos aprobó el acuerdo amistoso del caso y el Estado de Perú se comprometió a investigar y sancionar a los responsables de las esterilizaciones forzadas, así como reparar de manera integral a la familia de Mestanza. Luego de 17 años de ocurrido los hechos, aún no se han identificado ni sancionado a los responsables. A las organizaciones que acompañamos el caso, nos preocupa la inefectividad judicial y la falta de voluntad por parte del Estado peruano para cumplir con sus obligaciones internacionales asumidas en el acuerdo de solución amistosa.

A Bold Vision for Texas

Fri, 02/06/2015 - 14:20
A Bold Vision for Texas A new resource aims to restore essential reproductive care to millions of underserved Texas Latinas.

02.06.15 - If you don’t know where the Lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas is, get out a map. Trace your finger down to the southernmost point of the state where it plunges toward Mexico. Find the four counties clustered in the tip, along the border where the Rio Grande carves its jigsaw divide into the earth.

Right now, you have your finger on one of the most treacherous health crises in the United States.

Texas boasts some of the most alarming statistics in the nation surrounding women’s health care. It has the highest uninsured population of any U.S. state, and more than 20 percent of women there live in poverty. But in the rural, impoverished, primarily Latino reaches of Texas like the Rio Grande Valley, the situation is far more dire: poverty rates are twice the state average, and over half the women of reproductive age lack basic health insurance. 

As detailed in a startling report published in 2013 by the Center for Reproductive Rights and the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH), severe cuts to women’s preventive health services enacted by the Texas state legislature over the last four years have further devastated this region.

Limited availability of contraception and sex education has caused unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection rates to swell above the national average.

A lack of accessible physicians and screening tests has permitted cervical and breast cancers to take a disproportionate toll on the population.

Restricted access to counseling, abortion services, and adequate pre- and postnatal care has left immigrants and Latinas of reproductive age largely adrift during some of their most vulnerable years.

This month, the Center and NLIRH released Nuestro Texas: A Reproductive Justice Agenda for Latinas, a blueprint of proactive policy measures to restore access to critical reproductive health services for millions of Texas Latinas and put an end to this unfolding and preventable crisis. Each member of the Texas state legislature has received a copy of the report.

“Texas can and must do better when it comes respecting and fulfilling the human rights of Latinas and their families,” says Katrina Anderson, the Center’s senior human rights counsel and one of the report’s authors. “The state’s current policies have jeopardized women’s rights to health, life, and freedom from ill treatment. This guide will help lawmakers address these violations and restore to women across Texas their fundamental right to affordable and accessible care.”

Offering “a bold vision for a better Texas,” the detailed report includes policy recommendations that would ensure

  • reproductive health services in rural and underserved areas;
  • safe, legal, and affordable abortion for all Texas women;
  • expanded health care coverage to improve the health and well-being of all Texans; and
  • protection for non-citizens’ basic human rights, including the right to health.

“We wanted to develop an agenda that addresses the comprehensive needs of Latinas throughout their sexual and reproductive lives—expanding the conversation beyond abortion and birth control to include the concerns of youth and older women, and to address the particular challenges faced by Latinas living in border communities versus urban centers,” says Anderson. “This is an ambitious, long-term vision, but the agenda also includes concrete, short-term solutions—such as increasing the capacity of community health workers to reach Latinas in very rural areas—that could help pave the road toward that goal.”

In addition to publishing the agenda, the Center and NLIRH are also mobilizing a campaign with local and national networks to further promote these policy initiatives. On February 10, NLIRH’s Texas Latina Advocacy Network will host a Lobby Day and a briefing on the policy blueprint at the Texas State Legislature to build support for the agenda.

All across the Rio Grande Valley, women have become highly organized and energized in the fight to defend their reproductive rights and build stronger families and communities. We are excited to engage and support them in these efforts. On March 8-9, we will hold a hearing in the Rio Grande Valley on women’s rights issues, along with a community march and rally in honor of International Women’s Day and a human rights training session. To learn more about the hearing and register to attend, visit the Nuestro Texas campaign website.

Show your support. Endorse the Nuestro Texas blueprint for action.

Nuestra Voz, Nuestra Salud, Nuestro Texas: The Fight for Women's Reproductive Health in the Rio Grande Valley

A Bold Vision for Texas

Fri, 02/06/2015 - 14:20
A Bold Vision for Texas A new resource aims to restore essential reproductive care to millions of underserved Texas Latinas.

02.06.15 - If you don’t know where the Lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas is, get out a map. Trace your finger down to the southernmost point of the state where it plunges toward Mexico. Find the four counties clustered in the tip, along the border where the Rio Grande carves its jigsaw divide into the earth.

Right now, you have your finger on one of the most treacherous health crises in the United States.

Texas boasts some of the most alarming statistics in the nation surrounding women’s health care. It has the highest uninsured population of any U.S. state, and more than 20 percent of women there live in poverty. But in the rural, impoverished, primarily Latino reaches of Texas like the Rio Grande Valley, the situation is far more dire: poverty rates are twice the state average, and over half the women of reproductive age lack basic health insurance. 

As detailed in a startling report published in 2013 by the Center for Reproductive Rights and the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH), severe cuts to women’s preventive health services enacted by the Texas state legislature over the last four years have further devastated this region.

Limited availability of contraception and sex education has caused unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection rates to swell above the national average.

A lack of accessible physicians and screening tests has permitted cervical and breast cancers to take a disproportionate toll on the population.

Restricted access to counseling, abortion services, and adequate pre- and postnatal care has left immigrants and Latinas of reproductive age largely adrift during some of their most vulnerable years.

This month, the Center and NLIRH released Nuestro Texas: A Reproductive Justice Agenda for Latinas, a blueprint of proactive policy measures to restore access to critical reproductive health services for millions of Texas Latinas and put an end to this unfolding and preventable crisis. Each member of the Texas state legislature has received a copy of the report.

“Texas can and must do better when it comes respecting and fulfilling the human rights of Latinas and their families,” says Katrina Anderson, the Center’s senior human rights counsel and one of the report’s authors. “The state’s current policies have jeopardized women’s rights to health, life, and freedom from ill treatment. This guide will help lawmakers address these violations and restore to women across Texas their fundamental right to affordable and accessible care.”

Offering “a bold vision for a better Texas,” the detailed report includes policy recommendations that would ensure

  • reproductive health services in rural and underserved areas;
  • safe, legal, and affordable abortion for all Texas women;
  • expanded health care coverage to improve the health and well-being of all Texans; and
  • protection for non-citizens’ basic human rights, including the right to health.

“We wanted to develop an agenda that addresses the comprehensive needs of Latinas throughout their sexual and reproductive lives—expanding the conversation beyond abortion and birth control to include the concerns of youth and older women, and to address the particular challenges faced by Latinas living in border communities versus urban centers,” says Anderson. “This is an ambitious, long-term vision, but the agenda also includes concrete, short-term solutions—such as increasing the capacity of community health workers to reach Latinas in very rural areas—that could help pave the road toward that goal.”

In addition to publishing the agenda, the Center and NLIRH are also mobilizing a campaign with local and national networks to further promote these policy initiatives. On February 10, NLIRH’s Texas Latina Advocacy Network will host a Lobby Day and a briefing on the policy blueprint at the Texas State Legislature to build support for the agenda.

All across the Rio Grande Valley, women have become highly organized and energized in the fight to defend their reproductive rights and build stronger families and communities. We are excited to engage and support them in these efforts. On March 8-9, we will hold a hearing in the Rio Grande Valley on women’s rights issues, along with a community march and rally in honor of International Women’s Day and a human rights training session. To learn more about the hearing and register to attend, visit the Nuestro Texas campaign website.

Show your support. Endorse the Nuestro Texas blueprint for action.

Nuestra Voz, Nuestra Salud, Nuestro Texas: The Fight for Women's Reproductive Health in the Rio Grande Valley

Federal Bill Would Ensure Military Servicewomen, Dependents Have Equal Access to Birth Control, Family Planning

Tue, 02/03/2015 - 23:00
Federal Bill Would Ensure Military Servicewomen, Dependents Have Equal Access to Birth Control, Family Planning Sen. Shaheen and Rep. Speier reintroduce legislation to extend comprehensive reproductive health care coverage and counseling to servicewomen, military dependents

02.04.15 - (PRESS RELEASE) Today members of Congress reintroduced a federal bill that would guarantee all women who rely on the military for their health care—including active and non-active duty servicemembers and dependents—comprehensive coverage for contraceptives and family-planning counseling.

The “Access to Contraception for Women Servicemembers and Dependents Act of 2015,” first introduced in July 2014, would bring the military’s health program, also known as TRICARE, in line with contraceptive coverage required in most health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act. Under the proposed legislation, the nearly 5 million women eligible for TRICARE would have the same birth control coverage as federal employees.

The bill, reintroduced today by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), would also ensure that women who depend on TRICARE for health coverage receive comprehensive family-planning counseling and improve access to emergency contraception for servicewomen who have been sexually assaulted. It would also ensure that a full range of FDA-approved contraceptive methods is available at Military Treatment Facilities (MTFs).

Said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights:

“Women who have committed their lives to serve our country deserve nothing less than equal and affordable access to health care coverage for themselves and their families.

“With the vast majority of servicewomen being of reproductive age, many of whom may be deployed far from home, the benefits of expanding coverage of contraception and family planning services for women in the military couldn’t be clearer.”

Women represent 16 percent of all active duty and reserve members of the military, with 97 percent being of reproductive age. Currently, active-duty military have no cost-sharing for any prescriptions, but non-active-duty military and dependents must pay cost-sharing for birth control acquired outside a military treatment facility.​

Senate Bill Would Ensure All Military Servicewomen and Dependents Have Equal Access to Contraceptive Coverage, Family Planning Counseling

Pages

Theme by Danetsoft and Danang Probo Sayekti inspired by Maksimer