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Reproductive Justice for Latinas Requires Fair Wages

Posted by Rosa Carnevali-Doan, Intern | Posted on: August 05, 2015 at 03:24 pm

In recent weeks, the “Fight for $15,” a movement of underpaid workers and their allies fighting to raise the minimum wage to a more livable $15 per hour, has been picking up momentum in cities across the country. There have already been several victories: Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, and most recently, Los Angeles, are all phasing in a $15 minimum wage. Fast food workers in New York will also likely see their minimum pay to rise to $15 an hour, and organizers in Washington, DC are working hard to get a $15 minimum wage on the ballot in 2016.

This progress serves as a testament to what is possible when we continue the conversation about the importance of fair wages for our nation’s low-wage workers.

Who is among those who would be affected most by a higher minimum wage? Indisputably, Latina women and their families.

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The Hyde Amendment Harms Latinas' Economic Security

Posted by Leila Abolfazli, Senior Counsel | Posted on: August 05, 2015 at 11:15 am

I have written before about the harms wreaked by the Hyde Amendment, but let me do a quick recap. The Hyde Amendment is a provision that is attached to the annual appropriations law that funds the government. It denies insurance coverage for abortion (except in limited circumstances) to low-income women who are eligible for Medicaid.

The amount of money a woman has or doesn’t have should not prevent her from being able to have an abortion, and yet that is exactly what the Hyde Amendment does. Politicians have been interfering with low income women’s ability to make their own important health care decisions. 

This is not right.

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Young Parents Need Access to Affordable Child Care to Succeed in School

Posted by Allie Bohm, Legal Intern | Posted on: August 05, 2015 at 09:58 am

Do you remember the demands on your time when you were a high school student? Classes, homework, maybe college applications. Maybe you had a part-time job. Maybe you participated in after-school activities or played on a school sports team.

For expectant and parenting students, the demands are much greater. At a briefing earlier this summer, Leydi Bautista, a young mother, explained that “you have to be three persons in one day”: parent, student, and worker. In the U.S., roughly one in four girls becomes pregnant at least once before age 20 [PDF]. For Latinas, the rates are higher: one in three Latinas becomes pregnant at least once by her 20th birthday [PDF]. This week marks the 6th Annual Latina Week of Action for Reproductive Health. One of the ways we can honor the week and respect all young people’s reproductive health decisions is to provide supports, including child care, for parenting students.

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Sylvia Rivera: STAR of the $10 Bill

Posted by Katie Hegarty, Online Outreach Associate | Posted on: August 05, 2015 at 09:26 am

Take a peek in your wallet and look at the faces staring back at you. Their shared legacy is powerful and important, but also holds some uncomfortable truths many choose to ignore: the realities of slavery, especially for women; the wiping out of thousands of Native Americans; the misogyny and womanizing that was seen as commonplace. The U.S. Treasury’s announcement that the $10 bill is being redesigned with a woman’s face gives us the opportunity to bring some new history to our banknotes, and I think Sylvia Rivera is just the person to do that.

Getting Loud for Liberation

Sylvia Rivera was a transgender activist in the time of Stonewall, there from the beginning of the riots that many consider the start of the modern LGBT rights movement. Police raided the bar and began arresting the patrons, largely transgender women & drag queens — not expecting them to fight back. Sylvia is often rumored to have thrown the first bottle at police. Often homeless herself and for a time relying on sex work to survive, she dedicated herself to protecting and providing for queer youth on the streets. With fellow trans activist Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia created Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR) “for the street gay people, the street homeless people, and anybody that needed help at that time.”  STAR was a classroom, a food pantry, and a refuge for people who had been abandoned — some literally, some figuratively — by everyone else.

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Latinas Need Reproductive Justice — Not Luck

Posted by Kelli Garcia, Senior Counsel | Posted on: August 04, 2015 at 10:09 am

The last time I was home visiting my parents I found an old journal where I had recorded my dreams for the future. Although I didn’t quite follow the path I had laid out, I’ve mostly accomplished those goals. I graduated from college, earned a Ph.D., and became a lawyer. I’ve traveled to Europe and lived in Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago. I have an amazing daughter and I work full-time in a job I love.

A Little Bit of Luck

I’ve been very lucky. Leaving a small Texas town for an Ivy League school opened up a lot of doors for me and not just the ones you might expect. As a young adult, I received compassionate care at my college health center and was always treated with respect and kindness—a far cry from the experiences of many who may get a nice dose of shaming to go along with their requests for birth control. Even after college, in my very low paying job, I still had health insurance—something too many Latinas still lack.

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How Defunding Planned Parenthood Would Destroy Progress in Sex Ed

Posted by Haley Eazor, Intern | Posted on: August 03, 2015 at 02:26 pm

We all remember our first Sex Ed class: the awkwardness, the giggling, the wishing you hadn’t shown up for school that day, followed by the whispered conversations in the hallway: “I can’t believe you didn’t know that!” But the conversations don’t end by the middle school locker. Suddenly you’re 21 and talking about STIs and your friends are asking you, “Wait, didn’t you learn that in Sex Ed?”

The difference between my education and yours

There is a clear disparity in the sexual education that happens across our nation, so that what you learn is dependent upon where you go to school.  My parent’s decision to send me to a Christian middle school made all the difference in what I learned about my own body. There was no discussion of various birth control methods. According to my teachers, abstinence was the only way to go (disclaimer: abstinence is only effective if you ACTUALLY stay abstinent).

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My Two Cents: Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady of the $10 Bill

Posted by Brandie Temple, Well Woman's Benefit Hotline Coordinator | Posted on: August 03, 2015 at 02:15 pm

The significance of any printed currency is more than just the value of the money itself. The images they hold signal who or what is important to a society. What message does it send, then, when we look at our U.S. currency and see that not a single woman is featured on any of our bills? 

This is why I was elated when I heard the United States Treasury Department's decision to place a woman's face on a redesign of the $10 bill with a theme focused on “An Era of Democracy.” Since making its announcement the Treasury department has received millions of comments regarding its redesign, with people offering their two cents about which woman should be featured. For the first woman (but hopefully not the last) who will be featured on a bill, who better than the most influential and longest serving First Lady of the United States, Eleanor Roosevelt.

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Planned Parenthood Provides Reproductive Health Care to Millions

Posted by Carolyn Kossow, Intern | Posted on: August 03, 2015 at 01:54 pm

At a mere age of fifteen, I was faced with a medical need that required me to take birth control pills. Scared and confused, I turned to my mom. My mom is an excellent doctor, and a loving mother. She self-identifies as feminist, and was more than willing to talk with me about my birth control options. She also referred me to see a gynecologist, who then prescribed me the medication I needed just a few days later. My health insurance covered it all.

I was extremely privileged to be able to receive and pay for those services. I was lucky to have a parent open to having honest conversations with me. Most women in the United States don’t have the same support, resources, or coverage that I had. Luckily for many of these women, they can walk into the open doors of Planned Parenthood and find the health care they need.

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