The 2022 reversal of Roe v. Wade eliminated federal protections for abortion rights and left abortion policy up to state legislatures.
In response, states such as Maryland expanded protections for people seeking abortions. Back in May, Gov. Wes Moore (D) declared Maryland a “safe haven” for people in more restrictive states. Other states are also restricting access to abortion in the wake of Roe v. Wade’s reversal.
But in a virtual discussion Thursday, members of Unidos Latino Unidos of Maryland said that access to abortion and sexual health care around the world is limited, and that Maryland and other states are developing their own policies. We discussed how this can lead to unintended consequences that should be taken into account when
“Governments around the world are making important decisions about women’s ability to control their bodies and their lives,” said Gabriela Lemus, executive director of Latino Unidos of Maryland. “Some of the decisions are very restrictive and can lead to mental health problems, physical problems and even suicide.”
“Some women may end up making very difficult choices, drastic choices, in order to maintain their autonomy and personal sovereignty for the benefit of themselves and their families. They migrate. They are trying to figure out whether to leave, leave or be sterilized,” she said.
Although not discussed in Thursday’s conversation, transgender men and many non-binary people are also affected by policies that expand or restrict reproductive health care.
Maryland Latinos Unidos is a coalition of various Maryland-based nonprofit organizations that advocate for the state’s Latino population and immigrants.
Kelly Umaña, senior health equity evaluation and monitoring specialist at Latino Unidos of Maryland, said her family is from El Salvador, so she always advocates for health issues that are especially important to the Latino immigrant community. He said he is interested in.
During her doctoral research, Umaña examined the impact of restricting access to abortion in El Salvador, and noted that many women between the ages of 15 and 49 choose sterilization as a method of contraception rather than birth control.
El Salvador prohibits abortion under any circumstances, and those seeking abortions can be jailed. According to a report by the Associated Press. Umanha said some of the lessons he observed in his study could be considered in Maryland.
“We have a huge Latino community here in the United States, especially in Maryland, and we have a large Salvadoran diaspora there,” she added.
“If protected health care is reduced, what are the trickle-down effects? What will happen in terms of education and economic opportunities? What would that look like from a perspective,” she said.
Bridget Kelly, a sexual and reproductive health advocate and doctoral student at the Milken Institute of Public Health at George Washington University, volunteered with the Peace Corps in Ethiopia, where her experience inspired her to promote good menstrual health. It helped him realize how important it is to gain for other issues.
She said there are challenges in talking about reproductive health care, not only in Ethiopia but also in the United States.
“There has been a confusion of equating reproductive health with abortion alone. And what I am saying is that while abortion is a very important component of reproductive health and rights, it is the only And when we do that, we end up overlooking or ignoring other really important parts that are perhaps less controversial and taboo,” Kelly said. Told.
Other topics under the umbrella of “reproductive health care” include maternal health and mortality, infertility issues, and prevention of sexually transmitted diseases and reproductive cancers, Kelly said.
Kelly pointed to some unintended consequences of the rollback on reproductive rights.
“One of the issues that is less discussed, but is coming up more and more, is the use of contraceptives, some types of hormonal contraceptives, to manage menstrual disorders. Things like that can prevent people from being able to go to work or go to school,” she said.
Kelly also noted that some lawmakers in other states have expressed interest in banning certain types of contraception, and that such restrictions would make it easier for people with menstrual disorders to use contraception to manage their symptoms. He pointed out that there is a possibility that it may become unusable.
She said people who advocate for access to reproductive and sexual health in their daily lives indirectly help migrants.
“These are other issues that we can address and move the whole movement forward,” Kelly said.
“These international or even national policies can seem out of reach,” she says. “I hope that we can begin to see sexual and reproductive health and rights as a prerequisite or fundamental aspect of developmental education, health care and economic empowerment,” she added.
Mr. Kelly posed a series of questions as examples of possible areas for future legislation.
“What’s on my mind is, what are the demographics of providers? Are there enough Latinx providers that can provide the services that women need to ensure they have access? “People should be working on making medical school more accessible to more people,” she said.
“If you work in a school, is there provision for menstrual products?” Is there comprehensive sex education? Is that something you can advocate for? If we’re working on economic empowerment…are women given maternity leave?” Kelly said.
Veronica Kuhl, executive director of Unidos Latinos of Maryland, said legislative action could be considered.
“We need to be more strategic as a group. We have friends in the legislative field. I think we need to propose more bills that ensure access. We need to look at the fundamentals.” said Kuhl.
She said she is interested in enacting legislation that would mandate basic standards across the state to ensure widespread access to reproductive and sexual health care, such as available menstrual pads and nursing facilities.