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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

Reproductive Rights in the Age of Kangaroo Courts

Posted by Kelli Garcia, Senior Counsel | Posted on: July 06, 2012 at 01:14 pm

Last Wednesday, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals (PDF) upheld a district court decision finding that a Baltimore ordinance requiring limited service pregnancy centers, also known as crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs), to post completely factual information stating that they “do not provide or make referrals for abortion or birth control services” violated the CPCs’ right to free speech.

According to the Fourth Circuit, the notice would have been compelled speech that required CPCs “to participate in the City’s effort to tell pregnant women that abortions are available elsewhere as a morally acceptable alternative, contrary to the moral and religious beliefs of the Pregnancy Center.” The majority opinion privileges the beliefs of those who oppose abortion over the rights of women to get accurate information by declaring that a mere factual statement that CPCs do not provide or make referrals for abortion or contraceptive services is also a moral statement and endorsement of the opinion that abortions and contraception should be available.

This is false logic. A factual statement is not an endorsement and, in and of itself, does not carry a moral valence. After all, nothing is stopping a CPC from posting a sign stating that it does not endorse abortions or contraception next to the required notice. This sign could even be five times the size of the notice so that there wouldn’t be any confusion regarding the CPC’s moral position.


Reproductive Rights Matter for Mothers

Posted by Kelli Garcia, Senior Counsel | Posted on: May 12, 2012 at 10:50 am

This blog post is a part of NWLC’s Mother’s Day 2012 blog series. For all our Mother’s Day posts, please click here.

In honor of Mother’s Day, I want to let you in on a little secret. Reproductive rights are mother’s rights. When women are able to make informed, autonomous decisions about when and whether to have children, they have healthier pregnancies. Planning the timing of a pregnancy can prevent a range of pregnancy complications that can endanger a woman’s health, including gestational diabetes and high blood pressure. Planned pregnancies allow women to take steps to address and ameliorate health problems such as diabetes, hypertension, or coronary artery disease which may be worsened by a pregnancy and threaten the health of the fetus.


It's Time to Help Women Lead Healthy Lives

Posted by Kelli Garcia, Senior Counsel | Posted on: May 12, 2011 at 01:30 pm

Before my daughter was born, I regularly exercised and ate a pretty healthy diet. I knew, of course, that I would have less time after I had a child, but I never imagined that as my daughter's fourth birthday approaches, I would still not have returned to a regular yoga practice and instead content myself with weekday walks between my husband's and my offices.

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The Affordable Care Act Benefits Rural Women

Posted by Kelli Garcia, Senior Counsel | Posted on: March 24, 2011 at 04:17 pm

Growing up in rural Texas, I was lucky. My town of about 7,000 people had a handful of family practitioners and our county had a small hospital. But, the hospital didn't deliver babies, so women had to drive into San Antonio, about 35 miles away, to see an OB/GYN.


Hooray for the ACA!

Posted by Kelli Garcia, Senior Counsel | Posted on: March 23, 2011 at 11:03 am

There are strange things done in the D.C. sun,
By the folks who troll for votes.
The beltway stars have their insider bars
And ways of staying afloat.
Out in the breach, we’ve seen overreach.
But the craziest vote we all still say
Was the day HR2 lead the way for the House to say –
"Repeal the ACA."