Latinx Communities Deserve Reproductive Justice this Latinx Heritage Month, and Always
By: Planned Parenthood of Greater New York Action Fund
During Latinx Heritage Month and all year, we celebrate the histories, cultures, and contributions of people whose ancestors came from Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America — and we proudly fight in solidarity for equity and access to health. This fight requires us to confront compounding injustice that jeopardizes the physical health and mental wellness of Latinx families and communities.
Just this past month, we observed politicians dehumanize hundreds of Venezuelan immigrants by using them as political pawns in their anti-immigrant crusade. This is a classic case of how racialized people are too often robbed of their right to bodily autonomy and their free will to make informed, healthy decisions about their own lives. This Latinx Heritage Month, we encourage you to examine immigrant rights through the lens of reproductive justice — the human right to maintain personal bodily autonomy, have children, not have children, and parent the children we have in safe and sustainable communities. Immigrant families who seek asylum are inherently seeking reproductive justice. When politicians tokenize asylum seekers, viewing them as props and not people, they are simultaneously denying them reproductive justice and renewing a cycle of white supremacy that has long harmed both Latinx and immigrant communities in this country.
These racist and xenophobic tactics are part of the same dangerous playbook used by politicians to sharply restrict abortion access or outlaw it all together. Abortion bans, like anti-Black and anti-immigrant policies, are designed to control who makes decisions about our bodies. It is vital that we uplift the types of movements and grassroots efforts that directly deal with these issues, one of them being the Marea Verde movement happening across different regions of South America. We must recognize the power and successes of this Latin American feminist movement to heed their call in solidarity and begin to bridge our struggles as one — su lucha es nuestra lucha.
Reproductive justice also requires Planned Parenthood and the reproductive rights movement to reckon with its own racist history and how it shows up today. In her campaign to promote birth control, Planned Parenthood’s founder, Margaret Sanger, aligned herself with the philosophy of eugenics — a practice that the world has come to understand as violent and dehumanizing to people who society deemed “unfit” to exist within white cultural norms. This contributed to a well-documented history of reproductive violence against Black and Brown communities — from physically excruciating experiments on Black bodies to testing the birth control pill on low-income women in Puerto Rico, often without their consent. The same disregard for bodily autonomy is being perpetuated today by Puerto Rico’s hostile anti-abortion movement. Anti-abortion politicians have ramped up their efforts to limit access on the island in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. And making matters worse, catastrophic disasters like Hurricanes Fiona and Ian further weaken Puerto Rico’s fragile health care system. We know in disaster situations sexual and reproductive health care is often one of the first basic needs to go unmet.
The denial of reproductive justice for Latinx communities has cascading consequences. Latinas suffer from disproportionately higher rates of cervical cancer compared to white women, and out of the 1.2 million people with HIV in the country, 23% are Hispanic/Latino and 26% of Hispanic/Latina transgender women have HIV. Social determinants, like language barriers or immigration status, often limit their access to life-saving cervical cancer screenings, STI testing and treatment, HIV testing, HPV vaccines, as well as the full range of birth control options. Our involvement with the Latinx community is seen through ongoing and long-term efforts to expand equitable access to sexual and reproductive health care and education, and a commitment to defending the fundamental human rights of Latinx people. We are committed to fighting for social justice, racial justice, environmental justice, and reproductive justice for all.
Below you can find a list of resources to support and uplift issues currently affecting Latinx communities:
Ways to support the Venezuelan Diaspora:
Ways to support PR and DR: