Voces Unidas column: Protecting and expanding access to reproductive healthcare and abortion is crucial for democracy

The Latino community knows firsthand what it means for the government to ignore our needs when it comes to health care. Many of us are of undocumented ethnicity, and are often victims of misinformation and discriminatory information when trying to access reproductive health care.

That’s why the Latino community wants to see intentional policy action to protect and expand access to abortion. And that’s why our organization continues to work in Colorado to expand access for everyone regardless of immigration status, age, religion or income. Colorado must not only continue to provide access to safe and dignified abortion care, but expand it to all who need it.

Reproductive justice isn’t just about discretion — it’s about access. And while we are proud of Colorado’s commitment to reproductive health, we must take additional steps to ensure broad and equitable access to abortion care. That includes removing the Constitution’s outdated prohibition on spending government money on abortions, and inserting the Health Equity Act, which lawmakers passed earlier this year, into the state Constitution as an amendment that guarantees and protects a person’s right to choose to do so. abortion.

Dusty Gurule

A partially ratified amendment to the 1984 state constitution that prohibits the use of public funds for abortion disproportionately affects Colorado’s Latino community and other low-income populations by limiting access to essential reproductive health care to only those with income or private health insurance. Coloradans should not have to choose between paying for basic needs or paying for health services such as birth control, prenatal care, or abortion care. Reproductive Justice is economic justice, and it is important to the lives of all communities that have been underserved by our health care system.

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To further expand reproductive justice in Colorado, state-sponsored insurance programs including Medicaid and Colorado state health insurance should be allowed to cover abortion. Likewise, health care operators who receive government funding must be able to increase existing abortion services, rather than forcing private organizations like Planned Parenthood to deal with the growing demand.

Since the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, Colorado has become a haven for abortion access, stretching limited resources in a trend that is unlikely to reverse. But not everyone is equally affected when access to abortion is taken out of reach. Abortion care has remained inaccessible to Latinas and Latinos and other communities of color facing systemic barriers, even after Roe v. He became the law of the land. And the inability to use state funds to expand abortion services will increase the burden on their shoulders when it is already greatly reduced.

We are not willing to allow that to continue.

Community power is at the core of our reproductive justice movement, and Colorado’s Latino community is united in support of protecting and expanding access to safe abortion and reproductive rights for the state’s citizens. According to our recently released Colorado Latino Policy Agenda (CLPA), nearly 70% of Latino adults support the passage of laws to protect access to safe abortion, including nearly all demographics – Democrats (74%), Republicans (60%), Independents (65%), men (70% ), women. (67%), and in all types of religion, including Catholics (65%).

Alex Sanchez

It’s clear that the Latino community wants to see more policy action on abortion, and support for legal abortion extends to support for other related policies. Among them, the poll showed that 60% of Latino voters would support using state Medicaid dollars for abortion services and most support using federal Medicaid dollars.

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And we’ve seen that support show through issue-driven mobilization at the ballot box this November.

Not only did some 57% of Latino voters polled in the primary say they were more likely to vote after learning that the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, but almost two-thirds (61%) of those questioned reiterated their views. willingness to vote for candidates committed to expanding access to abortion in 2022. Voting numbers translated into candidate elections are closely aligned to our state’s most-voted issue, with data from the first-ever Colorado Latino Results. A parrot indicating that the Latino voting bloc played a large role in the outcome.

The CLPA and the polls show us what we’ve known for a long time – that our society values ​​the freedom to choose and determine their own future, showing nearly 7 in 10 people say they trust people to make their own decisions about reproductive health care. without the intervention of politicians. And, finally, that protecting and expanding our access to comprehensive health care, including abortion care, is essential to democracy. Without you, our collective freedom remains at risk.

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Latinos are a powerful force in the health and well-being of our democracy, just as they are a force in protecting abortion access by guiding our elected leaders to policies that reflect Colorado’s modern values. The Reproductive Health Equity Act declaring an individual’s right to make reproductive health decisions without government interference is an important step, but without resources to expand access to abortion it will never provide true equality. And lack of federal funding remains a major barrier to access.

Our commitment to growing our community by bringing it to the policy-making table remains the same, and we invite you to participate. If you believe in true reproductive justice, join us in continuing the work to remove restrictions on government funding for abortion. If you are upset by the end of Roe v. Wade, continue to make your voice heard by working with us to advance our values ​​among our elected officials. We must commit to enacting policies that expand access to and coverage of abortion insurance, so that everyone can get the care they need to thrive in their communities.

Dusti Gurule is the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Voices Unidas Action Fund. She is also the president and CEO of the Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity & Reproductive Rights (COLOR).

Alex Sánchez is the founder and CEO of Voces Unidas Action Fund, a Latino-owned, Latino-led nonprofit organization serving Summit, Lake, Eagle, Pitkin, and Garfield counties.


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