Latino/a Health and Civil Rights Advocates File Amicus Brief in Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Januar 5, 2016

CONTACT: John Garcia, Director of Communications, 212-739-7513, 917-673-9095 or jgarcia@latinojustice.org;

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, LatinoJustice joined the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH) and leading Latino/a health and civil rights groups in filing an amicus brief in support of the petitioners in Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole, a case the Supreme Court will hear on March 2 of this year, reviewing two pieces of Texas’ omnibus anti-abortion law, H.B. 2. The law has already resulted in the closure of most of the abortion clinics in the state. The brief was co-authored by Cynthia Soohoo, the CUNY School of Law International Women’s Human Rights Clinic and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer US LLP.

As described in the expert opinion of Lucy Felix, the Texas Latina Advocacy Network senior field coordinator for NLIRH, who testified during the earlier court proceedings, the challenged provisions of H.B. 2 have already had a devastating impact on Latinas’ ability to access safe and affordable reproductive healthcare in the Rio Grande Valley. For immigrants, mothers, low-wage workers, and Latinas who are all three, securing an abortion means navigating a state-created obstacle course. If the challenged provisions are not struck down, more clinics will close, women will have to wait even longer, and many will face higher costs to access the abortions they need. Those unable to overcome these obstacles will be forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term or take matters into their own hands.

“All women have the right to access critical healthcare services, regardless of where they live, their income, immigration status or ethnicity” said Juan Cartagena, President & General Counsel of LatinoJustice PRLDEF. “Attempts to eliminate access to affordable reproductive health care infringe on women’s constitutionally protected rights and disproportionately burden poor women and women of color.” LatinoJustice Associate Counsel Natasha Bannan said “Latinas throughout Texas, particularly in economically depressed areas, face undue burdens on their right to safe and affordable abortion, severely compromising their health and economic stability. “

Jessica González-Rojas, executive director of NLIRH, issued the following statement:

“We are hopeful that when the Supreme Court reviews these disingenuous and devastating provisions, which fall hardest on Latinas and immigrant women, they will see what we already know. These laws have nothing to do with protecting women, and everything to do with creating coercive and nearly impossible-to-navigate hurdles for those who seek abortion. We are proud to stand with Latino leaders in affirming the right to legal abortion and demonstrating the harms of H.B. 2’s challenged provisions and similar laws.”

The following organizations joined NLIRH in the brief, which outlines the devastating impact of H.B. 2 on the 2.5 million Latinas of reproductive age in Texas: Alianza Americas, California Latinas for Reproductive Justice, Casa de Esperanza, Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR), Hispanic Federation, Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, LatinoJustice PRLDEF, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (MALDEF).

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