In the News

7 Ways Trump’s Agenda Is a Disaster for Latinas

Friday, April 28, 2017
JESSICA GONZÁLEZ-ROJAS
Washington
Wilmarie Ríos Jaime Phone: (202) 754-8811 Email: wilmarie@latinainstitute.org

This article was originally published on trueviralnews.com

Under the best of circumstances, navigating the complexities of health care can be stressful and tricky. As most women have, I’ve needed different care at different times: For years, I prevented pregnancy by using birth control and was grateful to have abortion care available should I ever have needed it. When the time came to have my son, I was lucky to be employed and insured and grateful for my midwife and doula. Like many Latinas, I struggled with the costs of care and worried about time away from work – but even still, I faced fewer barriers than most.

Unfortunately, under President Trump, getting many essential forms health care could become next to impossible for millions of Latinas. If Trump’s first 100 days are any indication, he’s charging full steam ahead with his cruel agenda to shame, bully, and punish women for our decisions – especially low-income women and women of color. April is National Minority Health Month, a fitting moment to examine what Trump’s agenda could mean for Latina health. In short? It doesn’t look good.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeal bill has resurfaced, and like before, it would be disastrous for women’s health. Congressional Republicans’ first attempt at a discriminatory and dangerous ACA repeal bill failed miserably. They have now revived it, and while House Republicans say they don’t have enough votes to ram it through Congress ahead of Trump’s 100-day mark in office, that doesn’t mean they’re done trying. This bill would kick tens of millions of people off their insurance, push affordable birth control out of reach for many, restrict insurance coverage for abortion, slash Medicaid funding, endanger essential health benefits such as well-woman visits and intimate partner violence screenings, and threaten maternity care for millions of women.

Trump’s still trying to defund Planned Parenthood. A politically motivated attack on a health care provider that serves many Latinxs each year was one of Donald Trump’s key campaign promises. Defunding Planned Parenthood would take away the only care provider available to some women in underserved areas; Latinxs, immigrant women, young people, and communities of color would be hardest hit.

Trump’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids are keeping women from seeking care. Families torn apart by terrifying raids in the middle of the night, a transgender woman grabbed by ICE agents after testifying against her abuser in court, immigrants too scared to leave their houses to go to the doctor: This is the reality of Trump’s heartless immigration enforcement agenda. ICE raids push immigrant women into the shadows, making them afraid to leave home and making it harder for them to access support and health care for themselves and their children. This anguish has taken a toll on the mental health of immigrant women and their families, particularly as Trump has doubled down on targeting immigrants and militarizing communities against them.

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price is likely to undermine access to birth control. Price famously refused to believe that any woman had struggled to afford birth control – so how can he be trusted to administer the Affordable Care Act, which remains the law of the land? Price has said he will examine every piece of the law to determine where he can make changes, and it’s fair to speculate that he’s put no-copay birth control on his hit list.

Newly minted Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch has a lifetime appointment – and a troubling record on women’s and workers’ rights. Since the Republican majority in the Senate changed the rules to get Gorsuch confirmed, he’ll shape our jurisprudence for decades to come. He’s the one who said companies could deny their employees contraception coverage on the grounds of “religious freedom.” And given how anti-abortion groups are cheering his confirmation, we can expect his hostility to women’s right to make decisions about abortion and other necessary care.

Trump and Congressional Republicans want to make it even harder for low-income women to access abortion. Trump and his cronies in Congress are determined to take insurance coverage for abortion away from from low-income women. Given that Latinas and their families make up a disproportionate share of low-income families in the U.S., this would hit them especially hard. For 40 years, Congress has denied abortion coverage to women who are on Medicaid and already struggling to make ends meet through a rule called the Hyde Amendment – and Congressional Republicans want to do everything they can to make this rule permanent.

Trump’s proposed budget would defund our families’ well-being. Housing programs, heating assistance, child care, food aid, health coverage, education: All of these are on the chopping block in Trump’s Scrooge-on-steroids budget. He has made it crystal clear that he would rather beef up military and border-security spending than protect our families’ well-being.

Putting the pieces together shows a truly disturbing picture: When it comes to the health of their bodies and families, there is no care a woman might need, and no decision she may need to make, that this administration and Congress won’t threaten, undermine, or outright deny.

And Latinxs already face too many barriers to getting the care we need. The ACA was a game-changer for millions, including many Latinxs. Still, though, one in four of us doesn’t have insurance. We’re likelier than average to need abortion care, and less likely to be able to afford it. Any policy that pushes health care out of reach will be disproportionate in its impact on our community and potentially deadly for a Latina with a lump in her breast or undiagnosed cervical cancer.

When a woman is making a decision about her health, her pregnancy, or her family, the last thing she should have to worry about is whether getting the care she needs will push her to the brink of bankruptcy, hunger, or homelessness. Yet that’s exactly the future waiting for women if Trump and the anti-choice leadership in Congress have their way.

But Latinas won’t stand by as Trump or any other politician tries to take away our health care. We will fight back, we will be bold, and we will resist as though our lives depend on it – because the truth is that they do.