An Update on Latin@s and Contraceptive Coverage

An Update on Latin@s and Contraceptive Coverage

Martes, Agosto 4, 2015

In July, the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and Treasury issued a final rule allowing some closely held for-profit employers to refuse to provide contraceptive coverage to their employees.  Under this rule, employees of closely held corporations with religious beliefs will obtain their contraception from their insurance companies at no cost to them.  However, the rule broadly expands the number of employers who can refuse to provide contraceptive coverage to their employees beyond the scope of the Hobby Lobby decision. 

There are several reasons why the contraceptive coverage benefit is a win for Latin@ health and why it is disheartening to see the benefit undermined by Hobby Lobby and others.  Access to contraceptive care is an economic justice issue.  When a Latin@ has access to contraception, they can then plan their families and futures, including their professional and academic goals.  57 percent of young Latinas ages 18-34 have struggled with the cost of prescription contraception, making it extremely difficult for Latinas to have access to the contraception they need on a consistent basis. ​

Moreover, Latinas, including Latinas of faith, use contraception. In fact, 96 percent of sexually active Catholic Latinas have used contraception banned by the Vatican.  Young LGBTQ Latin@s may need contraception as well since some studies show that LBG youth experience higher rates of unintended pregnancies in comparison to their heterosexual counterparts. ​

Finally, the Latin@ community overwhelmingly supports contraceptive coverage.  Polling shows that 89 percent of Latina voters ages 18-34 support contraceptive coverage without copays for all women and 63 percent of Latina/o millennials agree that access to contraception is critical to a woman’s financial well-being and security. ​

While the rule ensures that employees will still have access to contraception, it’s unthinkable that a Latina may lose access to basic reproductive healthcare because of her employer’s beliefs.  The Obama Administration must now ensure that the rule is effectively implemented so that Latinas have real access and availability to the full range of contraception.  It’s up to Congress to fix the number of wrongs stemming from the Hobby Lobby decision.  The time is now.  After all, shouldn’t Latin@s who work at these corporations be able to make personal, reproductive healthcare decisions on the basis of their religious beliefs?