Skip to contentNational Women's Law Center

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

Religious Refusal Laws Threaten Access to Health Care

Posted by Kelli Garcia, Senior Counsel | Posted on: May 22, 2015 at 04:22 pm

This post is cross-posted from AIDS United

In 2011, Joao Simoes, a gay HIV positive man was denied HIV medication by a doctor who, according to Simoes, stated, “This is what he gets for going against God’s will.” Unfortunately, Simoes’s experience was far from unique. Almost 20% of HIV-positive individuals report being denied health care.

Refusals to provide care can threaten not only an individual’s health but public health as well by contributing to the spread of HIV. Perhaps as important, a refusal, or the fear of being refused care, can lead people living with HIV to distrust health care workers. This fear can discourage people from disclosing personal information that might be essential to their care and lead people to avoid the health care system all together or to delay getting necessary care.

Read more...

Texas Activist Speaks About Proposed Abortion Restrictions

Posted by Kelli Garcia, Senior Counsel | Posted on: May 21, 2015 at 02:10 pm

In Texas, a new bill would make it even harder for pregnant minors to get an abortion by adding extra barriers to an already burdensome process. In the following blog post, Emily Rooke-Ley from Jane's Due Process, an organization that provides legal representation to  pregnant minors in Texas, tells us first-hand how these unnecessary and dangerous hoops would harm Texas adolescents:

Texas Legislators Are Putting Pregnant Teens in Harm's Way

by Emily Rooke-Ley, cross-posted from RH Reality Check

I remember my first time answering the hotline for Jane’s Due Process, a nonprofit organization that provides legal representation for pregnant minors in Texas. Holding back tears, I listened anxiously to a young woman, whom I will call Gaby, explain her home life and her pregnancy, asking me to help her obtain a judicial bypass, which would allow her to obtain an abortion without a parent or guardian’s consent. She was just as mature as I am—probably more. “Well the thing is,” she said to me, her voice exuding a kind of tough conviction, “I just can’t bring a baby into this world right now.” 

Read more...

Surprise! Slashing Funding Limits Reproductive Health Care Access

Posted by Kelli Garcia, Senior Counsel | Posted on: May 18, 2015 at 04:03 pm

The Texas Evaluation Policy project released a new study [PDF] finding that many Texas women struggle to access and pay for reproductive health care, including cervical cancer screening and birth control. The researchers looked at women’s access to reproductive health care, beginning in 2011 when the Texas legislature slashed state funding for family planning and rejected federal funding for the women’s health program. Since 2011, 76 women’s health clinics have closed, leaving many women without nearby care.

Read more...

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:

Read more...

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:

Read more...