Let’s be honest: Latinas (and all women, overall) find themselves facing unique challenges that demand attention and action. Recent data reveals that Latina women are more likely to be uninsured than their non-Latina counterparts, shedding light on the pressing need for targeted healthcare policies and considerations.
As the Latina population becomes an increasingly prevalent demographic, there’s a stark realization that healthcare providers in the U.S. are falling short of meeting the specific needs of this community.
For instance, reproductive health and preventative care, essential for all women, are areas where Latinas are disproportionately affected. One of the challenges includes women facing disparities in reproductive cancers, such as cervical cancer. Latinas are not necessarily accessing regular mammograms and pap tests, and this contributes to higher mortality rates from breast and cervical cancers compared to non-Latina women.
In the broader context of women’s health in the United States, recent events, including the overturning of Roe v. Wade, have left women, including Latinas, concerned about receiving care. In what would’ve been the 51st anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the topic around the access to healthcare for women and reproductive rights has taken on an unprecedented conversation.
BELatina spoke to the White House’s Press Secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, to discuss what the Biden-Harris Administration is doing to protect women, especially during this hectic period. Jean-Pierre stressed, “the President and the Vice President are going to continue to do everything that they can to fight on behalf of the majority of women and fight on behalf of, obviously, women of color.”
How the Biden-Harris Administration Is Helping Women and Latinas
As the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade hangs over the nation, extreme state laws have left women’s health and live in precarious positions. President Biden’s Task Force on Reproductive Healthcare Access is stepping up with new actions to protect access to reproductive health care. Vice President Kamala Harris’ Fight for Reproductive Freedoms tour is also a bold initiative to counter extreme attacks on women’s rights across America. She launched the tour in Wisconsin, which is considered “ground zero” for reproductive rights at the moment as they are trying to push restrictive laws against women.
“And we have to remember, the majority of Americans do not stand for this,” the Press Secretary said. “The majority of Americans do not agree on their rights being taken away.”
In an attempt to provide solace to women in the U.S., the Biden-Harris is trying to work towards fixing things in the system that are, unfortunately, not working for everyone.
“I think a couple of things that women out there need to know and understand is that this administration, Biden-Harris administration, has their back,” Jean-Pierre said.
To address some of these healthcare disparities, the Departments of Treasury, Labor, and Health and Human Services are issuing new guidance to support expanded coverage of FDA-approved contraceptives under the Affordable Care Act. This builds on the ACA’s progress in providing affordable contraception to millions of women nationwide.
Also, in the face of threats to reproductive freedom, the Administration is committed to ensuring all patients, including those experiencing pregnancy loss, have access to emergency medical care required under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA). Jean-Pierre reassured, “We’re doing everything that we can… to protect them and to have the contraception that they need, to have the help that they need, to make sure that they get the healthcare that they need and deserve.”
With a focus on increasing awareness of EMTALA, HHS is launching a comprehensive plan to educate patients about their rights and help hospitals comply with federal obligations. The Department of Justice is defending the interpretation of the law before the Supreme Court, highlighting the ongoing commitment to safeguarding patients’ rights.
In addition to these efforts, HHS is strengthening privacy protections under HIPAA, preventing disclosure of information related to legal reproductive health care. The Federal Trade Commission is enforcing laws against the illegal use and sharing of highly sensitive data, including reproductive health information.
Combatting Language Barriers
Through ReproductiveRights.gov and justice.gov/reproductive-rights, the administration provides accessible resources and information on reproductive health rights, acknowledging the importance of language accessibility. Jean-Pierre emphasized, “It’s important to have people who speak the language…we want to make sure that folks are getting the care that they need.”
According to the Press Secretary, anyone can browse the White House’s official site in Spanish as well.
“They can go to whitehouse.gov, and there is a Spanish translation of information,” she said. “So, folks can actually read that and get a really good understanding and comprehend in their own language on what this administration is doing.”
Right now, there’s no denying that the nation is grappling with evolving challenges in women’s health. However, the Biden-Harris Administration is making a point to ensure the nation sees their advocacy for women.
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