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Access and Opinions on Reproductive Health Care and Abortion Among the Latinx Immigrant Community in New Jersey

Updated: 6 days ago

This report was written as a collaboration between: Kay Escobar, Leandra Gerena, Maria Eva Rodrigo, MSPP, Saray Ramos, Dr. Jesselly De La Cruz, Dr. Patricia Campos-Medina

Overview

On June 24, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and the constitutional right to an abortion through its decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Two years later, this ruling continues to harm reproductive rights, bodily autonomy, and access to safe abortions across the nation, disproportionately affecting Black, Latino/x, and Indigenous people, people living with low incomes, trans and nonbinary people, immigrants, adolescents, and people living with disabilities. 


Today, 41 states have some form of abortion ban in place, with 14 of these states enforcing a total abortion ban. Among these states are Arizona, Florida, and Texas, where a predominantly Latino/x population resides. Research from the National Partnership for Women & Families, published in October 2023, found that about 6.7 million Latinas–43% of all Latinas of reproductive age (15-49 years old)—live in states where abortions are banned or likely to be banned. In Arizona, Florida, and Texas, where abortion is either banned or severely restricted, these Latinas make up one-third of all Latinas of reproductive age in the country.


The Guttmacher Institute, a prominent research and policy organization dedicated to promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) globally, reports that 23% of Latinas and 13% of Black women aged 15–49 are uninsured. Additionally, 22% of women aged 15–49 with incomes below the federal poverty level lack health insurance. With a high percentage of Latinas and Black women lacking health insurance, many are unable to afford necessary reproductive health services such as contraception, prenatal care, and abortion. Latinas already face significant healthcare access challenges, with high uninsured rates and limited access to preventative care. The closure of clinics offering such services will further reduce their healthcare options. Additionally, undocumented Latinas will continue to face additional barriers due to high uninsured rates and the criminalization of their existence, making it even harder to seek abortions.


New Jersey is hailed as a state with some of the strongest laws and protections around reproductive care and abortion in the country. These protections include no restrictions based on gestational duration (length of pregnancy), state Medicaid and private health insurance plans that cover abortion, and shield laws to protect providers, among many more. However, many groups of people remain unprotected and at risk in the state, including non-English speakers, undocumented immigrants, and uninsured individuals who are more likely to face systemic, economic, and linguistic barriers to these services.


A recent report developed by the Abortion Justice Committee of New Jersey and the Latino Action Network Foundation, set to be released on June 29, 2024, highlights these ongoing disparities and brings to light the realities of Latino/x immigrant communities in the state. This community-led investigation focuses on the accessibility of a range of general reproductive health services for Latino/x immigrants. Two of the most jarring findings of this report are that 42% of participants find it hard or very hard to access reproductive health care services, and 69% did not know that abortion was legal in New Jersey. 


There is an urgent need to enhance the provision of adequate, accessible, and affordable reproductive care and abortion services for our communities. New Jersey has the opportunity to set a national standard as a leader in reproductive rights. It is imperative that state officials, legislators, health agencies, and advocates intensify efforts to ensure that Latino/x immigrants and non-English speakers can readily access essential reproductive health services, including STI treatments, cancer and OB/GYN screenings, gender-affirming care, abortion services, and beyond. This commitment is crucial to achieving equitable healthcare outcomes for all individuals in our diverse communities.


Read Report the full report here:


Acess and Opinions on Reproductive Health Care and Abortion Among the Latinx Immigrant Com
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