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Kelli Garcia, Senior Counsel

Kelli Garcia, Senior Counsel, first joined the Center in 2009 as a law fellow and was promoted to Counsel, focusing on health care reform implementation and preventing discrimination in health care. She subsequently worked as a law fellow at the O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, where she worked on scholarship related to global health and human rights, health care reform and the Family and Medical Leave Act. Kelli returned to the Center in April 2012, and now oversees the Center's efforts to address religious restrictions on women's access to reproductive health services, including its work on hospital mergers and crisis pregnancy centers. Kelli holds a law degree from Yale Law School, a Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles, and an A.B. from Princeton University.

My Take

Denied Care When Losing a Pregnancy: Pharmacies Refuse to Fill Needed Prescriptions

Posted by Kelli Garcia, Senior Counsel | Posted on: April 16, 2015 at 10:25 am

When Brittany Cartrett needed the drug Misoprostol to help her complete a miscarriage and avoid a more invasive surgical procedure, two separate pharmacies in central Georgia refused to fill the prescription. Cartrett suspects they refused because, in addition to treating miscarriage, Misoprostol is used for medication abortions.

Unfortunately, Cartrett is not alone. After she posted about her experience on Facebook other women came forward with similar stories. One woman wrote:

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Hostile to Women, Hostile to Abortion: the Wage Gap and Abortion Restrictions

Posted by Kelli Garcia, Senior Counsel | Posted on: April 14, 2015 at 03:23 pm

Today is Equal Pay Day, the symbolic date when the wages of women who work full time all year finally catch up to men’s wages. It’s a day to reflect on polices both good and bad that affect economic justice. At the National Women’s Law Center, we work on a range of issues that affect the economic stability of women and their families, including both equal pay and access to reproductive health care. So we thought it was appropriate to look at the overlap between equal pay and access to abortion. Here’s what we found:

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Tennessee Defeats Bill that Would Have Expanded Prosecutions of Pregnant Women

Posted by Kelli Garcia, Senior Counsel | Posted on: April 10, 2015 at 04:05 pm

Tennessee lawmakers took a small step in the right direction earlier this week when they stopped a bill that would have expanded a controversial law that criminalizes drug use during pregnancy. Despite overwhelming consensus that addiction should be treated as a mental health problem, not a criminal issue, Tennessee became the first state in the nation to criminalize drug use during pregnancy when it passed a law last year that allows women to be charged with a misdemeanor and punished with up to 15 years in prison if their newborn tests positive for narcotic drugs.

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Abortion Coverage Ban Would Harm Texas Women

Posted by Kelli Garcia, Senior Counsel | Posted on: April 08, 2015 at 10:49 am

Once again, Texas politicians are trying to make it harder for women to access abortion. Today, the Texas House State Affairs Committee will hear testimony regarding HB 3130 which would prohibit health insurance plans sold in the marketplace from covering abortion, except when a woman’s life is in danger or to prevent “irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function, other than a psychological or emotional condition.” 

This overly narrow exception ignores the real circumstances women face when deciding whether or not to continue a pregnancy. By denying women coverage for abortion, the bill cruelly punishes women by making it harder for them to access this needed health care service and will disproportionately harm lower-income women who may be unable to afford an abortion without insurance coverage.   

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Unconstitutional Ohio Bill Would Place Politics Above Women’s Health by Banning Abortions as Early as Six Weeks

Posted by Kelli Garcia, Senior Counsel | Posted on: March 25, 2015 at 03:15 pm

Once again, state politicians are seeking to insert themselves into women’s medical decisions and violate their constitutionally protected right to abortion. Ohio’s House of Representatives is scheduled to vote today on H.B. 69, a bill that would prohibit abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected. This could be as early as six weeks, before many, if not most, women even know they are pregnant. Abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected would only be allowed in the most narrow and dire of circumstances. This is blatantly unconstitutional. Even supporters of the bill acknowledge that it violates the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade holding that abortions cannot be prohibited before viability. Similar abortion bans failed in the past two legislative sessions, in part, because anti-abortion legislators recognized that the bills were unconstitutional and would subject the state to years of litigation.  

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