Most Latinas to be Denied Basic Access to Health

By Samantha McLane

In these times of scientific and technological progression, international commerce, globalization, internet communication, multiculturalism, and other important achievements that have provided us with “better living conditions”, health services seem to be heading to medieval times when I read the kind of news which follows.

In its battle to leave the country with a conservative impression, the Bush administration has been working towards making women’s lives more difficult, specifically; limiting our own control of our bodies and violating our reproductive rights. If you ever thought you haven’t practiced an abortion, well read this:

The government has drafted a new set of health regulations that would define abortion as “any of the various procedures — including the prescription and administration of any drug or the performance of any procedure or any other action — that results in the termination of the life of a human being in utero between conception and natural birth, whether before or after implantation.”

The regulation also would allow any employee of a healthcare provider to refuse to treat any individual receiving any services that would violate the employee’s moral beliefs. Could it be worse?

As the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health informs, low-income Latinas will be deeply affected because many of the clinics that they frequent often receive federal funding and may be compromised under these new definitions.

Latina’s reproductive rights are already at stake, especially for low-income Latinas who are alienated at the time of receiving health services. Thus they are denied a basic human right; access to health.

In an effort to not discriminate against religious and moral beliefs on abortion issues, these regulations at the same time discriminate against a disadvantaged group: women, moreover low-income women. It has taken just a couple of decades to turn aside the efforts of women and concerned society. When the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) was created, it recommended to States Parties in its 12th article to provide appropriate reproductive health services for women.

The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health invites us to take action on the matter by contacting The Department of Health and Human Services. Just take a couple of minutes to visit this link and follow the easy instructions: And if we still don’t get enough of obscurantism at the beginning of the 21st century, where nations claim to promote modern social approaches to human interaction, where racism and sexism are at last vanishing, what do we think about hospitals denying access to illegal immigrants and community health services denying translation services?

As mentioned before, low-income Latinas frequent community health services where they can receive several necessary services. The National Association of Community Health Centers released a report on June 16th concerning the lack of reimbursement for language services provided at community health centers (CHCs). This report states that the reimbursement for translation services is optional and currently only 12 states and DC have decided to do it. So we have thirty-eight states that do not care about giving a human service to non-English speakers, without recognizing diversity, and furthermore violating human rights.

I believe this is proof of the theory of ascending and descending cycles in historical achievements concerning human and civil rights. In the 14th century, Venetian women who believed they were already empowered by gaining access to public spaces, control of businesses, and access to education never imagined that the generations of women in the following centuries were going to suffer and get degraded again. Now feminists of the 60s can’t imagine that we have to fight back again.