LatinaLista — Approximately 50 percent of all pregnancies among Latinas are unintended, according to research gathered by the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health.
Statistics on teen births showing that more Latina teens become mothers than their peers just add to this surprising finding. The debate as to the causes of this statistic can range from religion to culture but the main reasons are that many Latinas either don’t have access to medically accurate sex education in their schools, if they’re teens, or they don’t have affordable access to birth control.
One story being shared by a new coalition called the Latina Reproductive Justice Movement, is the story of Jersey Garcia.
For years, Jersey used the IUD to prevent unintended pregnancy until she had it removed so she could start a family. After her planned pregnancy, she was surprised to learn that her insurance company now refuses to pay for a new IUD device and will only pay for insertion.
The device itself costs $800, which she can’t afford. She is also unable to afford the insurance co-payments for the birth control pill, which could be as high as $480 per year. This new mom is now left with condoms as her primary source of birth control, leaving her at higher risk of unintended pregnancy.
Also, undocumented immigrant women are at higher risk of having unintended pregnancies since public health programs and Title X family services ban women without proof of legal residency status, and even make immigrants who can prove legal status wait five years for healthcare services like birth control.
For the new healthcare reform law, the Obama administration is going to be evaluating whether or not to include birth control as part of insurance plan coverage in the next year. It’s a need that is urgent within the Latina community but is getting little notice from Congress or the White House.
For that reason, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health has joined with the California Latinas for Reproductive Justice and the Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR) to launch the first ever Latina Week of Action for Reproductive Justice, from August 9th – August 15th.
During the week, the coalition has a plan of action to get all Latinas involved in this very important issue. Whether it’s sending an email to a congressional representative, participating in a “blog carnival” where sites re-post blog entries about personal experiences with contraception, or lack of it, or financially supporting the movement, the week’s activities aim to raise awareness about the need for affordable contraception in the Latina community.