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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

The Real Cost of Abortion Restrictions

Posted by Kelli Garcia, Senior Counsel | Posted on: January 22, 2015 at 01:08 pm

On Tuesday, while President Obama reminded us, “[T]hat every women should have access to the health care she needs,” I was returning home from the premiere of Out of Silence: Abortion Stories from the 1 in 3 Campaign. Some of the stories were heartbreaking and some were amazingly uplifting, but they all had one thing in common—each woman made the decision that was best for her and her family.


Why Young v. UPS is a Reproductive Justice Issue

Posted by Kelli Garcia, Senior Counsel | Posted on: December 02, 2014 at 11:22 am

When a pregnant woman’s doctor tells her that she needs to stay off her feet, stop lifting heaving objects, or even drink plenty of water, her first thought should not be, “Will I lose my job?” But, for too many women, that’s their reality. On December 3rd, the Supreme Court will take up this issue when it hears arguments in Young v. UPS and decides whether companies can force pregnant workers to take unpaid leave rather than provide the same type of accommodations they provide to people with disabilities or on-the-job injuries. In this case, UPS even made accommodations that allowed people who had lost their commercial driver’s licenses as a result of DUI convictions to keep their jobs but refused to give light duty to former UPS driver, Peggy Young, when she became pregnant and her doctor recommended she that she not lift heavy boxes.


Transgender Health Care Needs Can't Be Ignored

Posted by Kelli Garcia, Senior Counsel | Posted on: November 21, 2014 at 12:21 pm

A recent study on pregnancy in transgender men who had transitioned from female to male highlights the significant problems transgender people experience in obtaining appropriate and culturally competent health care. Many patients had to deal with rude or inappropriate treatment, ranging from improper pronoun use to outright refusals to provide care. One patient said that he was reported to protective services because, “A tranny had a baby.” 

Problems with transgender health care, however, aren’t limited to pregnancy. Health care providers often lack training and knowledge in how to treat transgender people and insurance companies refuse to pay for needed services. For example, health insurance companies refuse to pay for basic preventive services, like cervical cancer screenings for transgender men and prostate cancer screenings for transgender women.


Reminding Ourselves What Reproductive Justice Is: Police Violence and the Death of Michael Brown

Posted by Kelli Garcia, Senior Counsel | Posted on: August 15, 2014 at 10:53 am

Twenty years ago a group of women of color activists developed the reproductive justice framework, placing reproductive health issues in the larger human rights context.


¡RJ AHORA! Celebration History During the Latina Week of Action

Posted by Kelli Garcia, Senior Counsel | Posted on: August 08, 2014 at 04:42 pm

Twenty years ago, when a group of visionary Black women created the Reproductive Justice framework, I was still in school, with no idea that a movement was being formed. Nor did I know how important that movement would be as it helped shape and reframe our understanding of reproductive issues, bringing a human rights and justice framework to the reproductive health community and creating a more inclusive movement. Reproductive Justice requires that all people have “the economic, social, and political power and resources to make healthy decisions about our bodies, sexuality, and reproduction for ourselves, our families, and our communities in all areas of our lives.” [PDF] This challenges all of us to work towards a more just world in which we have not only the legal right to reproductive freedom but, also, the resources to exercise those rights and choose whether and when to have children and to be able to parent the children we do have with dignity in healthy and safe environments.