Latinas remain concerned about immigrant and low-income women
WASHINGTON, DC (PR) - Today, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH) applauded President Barack Obama for substantial investments in health and family economic security in the President’s FY2016 budget, while expressing concerns about restrictions on insurance coverage for abortion services and funding for immigration programs that tear families apart. The budget fails to lift the Hyde Amendment, a harmful policy that denies abortion coverage for women enrolled in Medicaid, and retains restrictions on abortion coverage for other women, including: Medicare enrollees, federal employees and their dependents, Peace Corps volunteers, Native American women, and women held in federal prisons and immigration detention centers.
Jessica González-Rojas, executive director of NLIRH, issued the following statement:
“The president’s budget contains a strong vision to improve the health and economic well-being of our families. However, we remain concerned that low-income women and immigrant communities are left behind by many of the proposals. We urge Congress to embrace and improve upon the considerable investments in healthcare while also reforming our immigration policies and practices to rely less on policing and prisons, and more on recognizing and building on the contributions of immigrant women and families.
“This budget includes important investments in healthcare and safety net services, including ongoing implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and a robust allocation for community health centers — which are a lifeline and the only source of care for many Latinas and our families. As an organization committed to Latina health, we commend the president for affirming his commitment to publicly funded family planning and the women who rely on these services by calling for Title X to be increased to $300 million, an increase of $13.5 million over FY2015 funding.
It is time to end the politically motivated budget cuts and fully fund this vital program now and into the future.
“Unfortunately, these steps forward for women’s and Latinas’ health are marred by this budget’s failure to challenge Congressional policy to withhold abortion coverage for many women, including low-income Latinas. While we are pleased that the President has decided to lift restrictions on D.C.’s use of its own local funds to provide abortion coverage for low-income women and that Peace Corps volunteers will have the same abortion coverage as federal employees, we are disappointed to see the insidious Hyde Amendment retained in the President’s budget.
Given the continued assaults against women’s personal decision-making — including the ban on insurance coverage for abortion that recently passed the House — it is more important than ever that policymakers, including the President, oppose efforts by politicians to make abortion care more costly and out of reach.
“We applaud provisions in the budget that would improve protections for some LGBTQ people facing employment discrimination and that include more same-sex married couples in Social Security benefits. We know that these steps are a mere beginning, and urge Congress to pass comprehensive, inclusive nondiscrimination legislation to protect all LGBTQ people.
“On the immigration front, we are encouraged that President Obama has confirmed what we already know — that pro-immigration policies benefit our society as a whole because of the contributions of immigrants to our nation’s families, communities, and economy. We are disappointed that while the budget recognizes the contributions of immigrant women and families, it nevertheless pours billions of dollars into detention and deportation policies that tear families apart.
As the budget process moves forward, we encourage the president and Congress to expand opportunity for immigrant families by investing in access to healthcare and other family economic supports, instead of pursuing punitive border and interior enforcement policies without the necessary oversight, accountability, and civil rights protections.”