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On June 24, the United States Supreme Court ruled to overturn Roe V. Wade, eliminating 50 years of legal precedence and wiping away the constitutional right to abortion. The 5-4 vote to reverse Roe v. Wade now means state governments will determine abortion laws for their residents. In the U.S., there were 8% more abortions in 2020 than in 2017, according to the Guttmacher Institute’s latest Abortion Provider Census published last month. California had the highest number of abortions nationwide, according to the data, with 154,060 abortions recorded in 2020, which represents a 16% increase from 2017, when 132,680 abortions were recorded.

Reproductive rights activists fear the recent overturn will disproportionately affect Latinx and Black women and believe that legalized forced-birth will add to the ongoing socioeconomic stress of anyone who is already marginalized.

Eight of the 50 states, including Kentucky, Alabama, South Dakota and Utah, have already banned and made abortion illegal, as tracked by The Guardian. Ten other states, such as Idaho, North Dakota, Ohio, Wyoming and Tennessee, are expected to ban or apply heavy restrictions to abortion in the following months. In addition, other states like Montana, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Virginia, abortion policies remain undetermined but threatened. On the other hand, 20 states, including California, Oregon and Washington, as well as Washington D.C., have declared abortion as a protected right. 

Those state governors, including Gov. Gavin Newsom, announced a campaign called “The West Coast Offensive,” which aims to continue to provide reproductive healthcare access to residents, as well as, welcome patients from other states. In a tweet, Gov. Newsom called this initiative “a road map for other states” to advocate for women. “This is an attack on American freedom, … Time to fight like hell.”  

Nearly 8 out of 10 Latina voters agree that pregnant people should be able to have an abortion without fear of arrest or investigation, according to a 2020 nationwide poll sponsored by reproductive justice groups, including The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice. In the same survey, 61% of Latina voters stated that they will “watch their elected officials in Congress more closely than previous elections.”

CALÓ NEWS interviewed women in LA, health experts and advocates about their thoughts and reactions in light of the reversal of Roe V. Wade. 

Responses have been edited for clarity and brevity. 


MINERVA VILLALOBOS, 18, EAST LOS ANGELES, FAST FOOD, SHE/THEY/THEM, HISPANIC

Minerva Villalobos

HOW DOES THIS AFFECT THE LATINO COMMUNITY?

It affects our community because there are many people who are close-minded. A lot of the older generations of señores and señoras are really close-minded when it comes to this type of topic, especially when they were raised within religion. Older people will say ‘Que bueno,’ but in reality it is not a good thing. Many of us don’t have the privilege to access free healthcare or insurance overall. There are many scenarios where women are going to have to put their life at risk to have the baby because that’s what the law says. 

HOW DOES THIS AFFECT THE LATINX COMMUNITY?

We are currently living in a time where expressing yourself is having the right to control your own body. The older generation does not approve of abortions and when you mentioned having an abortion they look down on you. Also, many Latinos don’t have healthcare coverage, so this affects us in a major way. Not only do we not have insurance, we do not have the funds, either.

WHAT SHOULD BE THE PRIORITIES GOING FORWARD FOR LATINOS?

Their priorities should be keeping their kids safe because the resources they gather on the internet are not as trusted as the ones they can get professionally. Also, it’s important to keep in mind the cause and consequences of having a child when there aren’t enough resources.

WILL LATINOS/LATINAS/LATINX/LGBTQ/BLACKS/ASIANS/WOMEN AND OTHER MARGINALIZED GROUPS BECOME STRONGER ALLIES OVER THIS? WHAT WILL THAT LOOK LIKE OR LEAD TO? IF NOT, WHAT WILL IT TAKE? 

I think every single group has that female anatomy. I believe that in those groups there are people who are understanding and there are people who may disagree with this current situation. For the most, part I feel we the people have progressed as a society. It’s going to take a lot of willpower to come together to fight for this human right. We need to stand up for what is right. We need to move forward and not backwards.

WHAT ELSE SHOULD WE BE THINKING ABOUT IN THE WAKE OF THIS REVERSAL?

We should be thinking of ways that we can help by donating for the cause, helping independent clinics,and sharing on social media why we are fighting for abortion access. Also, everyone needs to come together in solidarity for the women whose rights have been taken in other states.

JOSELINE ALCARAZ, 26, PICO RIVERA, SOCIAL MEDIA CREATOR, SHE/HER, CHICANA

Joseline Alcaraz

HOW DOES THIS AFFECT THE LATINO COMMUNITY?

Latinas, like myself, will face multiple barriers after this overturn. Some Latinas who seek abortions face financial difficulties, have small access to health care insurance, low wages, face immigration status and face mental health issues. All of these effects contribute a big part to why Roe v. Wade is important to the Latinx community.

HOW DOES THIS AFFECT THE LATINX COMMUNITY?

This overturn will cause a big effect on the younger Latinx community, especially as they are young and trying to survive living in an expensive country. With this overturn, mental health will be high among women and the family around them. A decision so personal was decided by nine [SUPREME COURT]members who are mostly men and white. It is something that they cannot relate to, women and people of color.

WHAT SHOULD BE THE PRIORITIES GOING FORWARD FOR LATINOS?

We need to fight for our rights. Fifty years of precedent have been erased by the Supreme Court. The Latinx community and people of color are the most affected by this issue. Having great representatives and pro-choice leaders is a great priority after this devastating news. Nonprofit organizations, such as Planned Parenthood need to be heavily supported at this time.

WILL LATINOS/LATINAS/LATINX/LGBTQ/BLACKS/ASIANS/WOMEN AND OTHER MARGINALIZED GROUPS BECOME STRONGER ALLIES OVER THIS? WHAT WILL THAT LOOK LIKE OR LEAD TO? IF NOT, WHAT WILL IT TAKE?  

I truly believe that this devastating decision from the Supreme Court will join everyone together to fight for this right. Women have the right to decide if they want to go through pregnancy. This Supreme Court’s decision will lead to many protests around the country and a huge discussion over separation of church and state.

WHAT ELSE SHOULD WE BE THINKING ABOUT IN THE WAKE OF THIS REVERSAL?

The Supreme Court is making scary decisions for our future. Unfortunately, they have the power to attribute decisions, as such. I personally do not agree that nine members from the Supreme Court should have the right to decide something so personal for a woman. A woman should have the ultimate decision of their body. The Supreme Court members are in charge of ensuring equal justice under law and overruling Roe v. Wade is not it.

SERENA SANCHEZ, 22, SAN PEDRO,CA, WRITER EDITOR, SHE/HER, LATINA

Serena Sanchez

HOW DOES THIS AFFECT THE LATINO COMMUNITY?

The recent Roe v. Wade overturn affects the Latino community because of how marginalized it is. Unfortunately, Latino communities tend to be low-income, depending on where they are located, which means the ability to get an abortion, regardless of the reason or whether they’re in a trigger state, is that much more difficult than it would be for someone in a more optimal situation. 

HOW DOES THIS AFFECT THE LATINX COMMUNITY?

Specifically, this affects the Latinx or younger Latino community because, compared to the white community, they are disproportionately affected. Not only this, but keeping younger and future generations in mind is so important. I think a lot of current older generations, not only Latinos, often didn’t consider the repercussions of their actions and choices in relation to those who came afterwards, which is why they should be a priority.

WHAT SHOULD BE THE PRIORITIES GOING FORWARD FOR LATINOS?

A priority for Latinos when it comes to this issue should be to organize as much, and as well, as possible. It’s important to have alliances in those different from one another, but having a strong community within one’s own [community] is crucial, especially when those elected to protect you do the exact opposite. Listening to other peoples’ voices is also important. Latino voices are essential to listen to, but paying attention to others, such as Black, Asian, LGBTQ+, disabled, etc. individuals, allows for this community to hear from other disproportionately affected voices. 

WILL LATINOS/LATINAS/LATINX/LGBTQ/BLACKS/ASIANS/WOMEN AND OTHER MARGINALIZED GROUPS BECOME STRONGER ALLIES OVER THIS? WHAT WILL THAT LOOK LIKE OR LEAD TO? IF NOT, WHAT WILL IT TAKE?  

I can only hope that this recent overturn brings Latinos, Latinx, LGBTQ+, Black, Asian and women individuals together, creating stronger allies. I think that in the U.S. there is this individualistic mentality, where a lot of people only focus on themselves and what they believe matters. And despite not everyone doing this, I believe that with one similar goal, all of these communities, though different, can put their minds together because their livelihoods are being affected. If this does create stronger allies, it would look strong and resilient, because that’s what it looks like to have strength in diversity. And if this doesn’t build an alliance, I can’t imagine what else would. 

WHAT ELSE SHOULD WE BE THINKING ABOUT IN THE WAKE OF THIS REVERSAL?

In the wake of this reversal, we should also be thinking about what this overturn will also affect. Same-sex marriage, contraceptives, integration and the right to privacy have been called to be reconsidered and should absolutely be on everyone’s mind amid current events. I also think that unity is a huge, nonnegotiable factor that needs to be incorporated into our daily lives. Allowing ourselves reprieve is just as important as strategically planning to fight against this gross injustice. 

CLAUDIA LEMUS, 40, LOS ANGELES, SALES REPRESENTATIVE, SHE/HER, MEXICAN

Serena Sanchez

HOW DOES THIS AFFECT THE LATINO COMMUNITY?

The Latino community is one of the largest low-income groups in the United States. This means that if a woman has to  travel to another state to terminate her pregnancy safely, it’s going to be even riskier financially. Most importantly, her family’s relationship and/or immigration status can be compromised. Opportunities for Latinos and women are at a disadvantage because we are considered minorities.

HOW DOES THIS AFFECT THE LATINX COMMUNITY?

They are going to build a lack of trust with the government and the health care system. 

WHAT SHOULD BE THE PRIORITIES GOING FORWARD FOR LATINOS?

Honestly, the Latino community should support and advocate for Latino women, specifically. Doing this will bring awareness to the problems and disadvantages that these women face in a society that discriminates and healthcare is less accessible for them. 

WILL LATINOS/LATINAS/LATINX/LGBTQ/BLACKS/ASIANS/WOMEN AND OTHER MARGINALIZED GROUPS BECOME STRONGER ALLIES OVER THIS? WHAT WILL THAT LOOK LIKE OR LEAD TO? IF NOT, WHAT WILL IT TAKE? 

Yes, I believe these groups will and should become stronger allies. A foundation of a stronger unity can bring more attention and awareness to this issue. 

WHAT ELSE SHOULD WE BE THINKING ABOUT IN THE WAKE OF THIS REVERSAL?

My main concern is that suicide rates might go up. Abandoned babies and neglected children will be everyday news. I am afraid for all those women who will put their lives at risk to terminate their pregnancy illegally. I feel rage toward the government that is focusing on the wrong issue. I can feel their hypocrisy and selfishness on my skin.

MANUELA TIRONI, 28, WASHINGTON D.C,  INTERNATIONAL PROGRAM ASSOCIATE – CATHOLICS FOR CHOICE, SHE/HER, LATINA/CHILEAN

Manuela Tironi

HOW DOES THIS AFFECT THE LATINO COMMUNITY?

This decision affects everyone in the United States. But those who will suffer the most are historically marginalized communities and minorities – immigrants, black, Indigenous, people of color, the LGTBIQ+ community, the Latinx community and those struggling to make ends meet. 

When Roe v. Wade was still in full force, access to reproductive health care already had significant barriers. For example, there are states where people had to undertake 10-hour car trips one-way to get to the nearest [abortion] clinic. And that was only if they could afford to take a few days off work and pay for the expenses this entailed. 

HOW DOES THIS AFFECT THE LATINX COMMUNITY?

Safe and legal abortion already had multiple limitations on access to the procedure, such as the limits on the number of weeks of gestation allowed or the requirement of a mandatory and “waiting period” between ultrasound and the procedure, to name a few. Now, however, about 26 states will ban or limit access to abortion. These measures will have devastating consequences.

WHAT SHOULD BE THE PRIORITIES GOING FORWARD FOR LATINOS?

Undoubtedly, women and people who can get pregnant will continue to exercise their right to have abortions in the states where the laws are still in force. However, millions of people lacking the capacity to travel will do it unsafely with a high risk of health or death. Criminalizing abortion does not stop abortions, it only makes safe abortions harder to get. Women, pregnant people and providers will go to jail. Many people will be forced to carry unwanted pregnancies to term – further straining the foster care system. What most people don’t talk about is that people will die seeking unsafe abortions.

This moment is a call to action for all of us. Movements to make abortion legal and accessible are happening around the world — and they do succeed. For example, thanks to the Green Wave feminist movement in Latin America, countries like Argentina, Colombia and Mexico have all recently liberalized their abortion laws. We have much to learn from them. I’d say the priorities going forward for Latinx is to persist, protest, make your voice heard and support groups working for abortion access, especially abortion funds and independent clinics. Be there for your friends and neighbors, and have uncomfortable conversations if needed. Community organizing goes a long way!

WILL LATINOS/LATINAS/LATINX/LGBTQ/BLACKS/ASIANS/WOMEN AND OTHER MARGINALIZED GROUPS BECOME STRONGER ALLIES OVER THIS? WHAT WILL THAT LOOK LIKE OR LEAD TO? IF NOT, WHAT WILL IT TAKE? 

As a Latinx immigrant woman who was raised in a Catholic environment, I can understand and empathize with those who feel that abortion is not an easy topic. Whether it is because of morality, religion, tradition or even lack of information, it is sometimes difficult to talk about sexual and reproductive rights. We can all have our personal beliefs and preferences. It is possible to support safe access to abortion without personally wanting to have an abortion. It is possible to be religious and pro-choice. What is not possible is to expect that everyone is subjected to the personal beliefs of a few.

Also, Roe. v. Wade was not just about abortion. Restrictions will not be limited to pregnancy termination. If the reasoning of some Supreme Court justices described in the decision is accepted, and they do have the majority at the Supreme Court, the whole framework that has given rise to reproductive and sexual privacy may be at risk. This decision jeopardizes decisions that protected the right to contraception and same-sex marriage. Fertility care is also at significant risk.

Many of the bills being introduced in statehouses around the country include language defining a fertilized egg as a legal human entity. If the legal status of fertilized eggs or early embryos is codified, IVF procedures may become legally risky for patients, physicians and staff. This is why we’re at a breaking point. If we don’t become allies now over this, then when? We are quite literally going backwards.

WHAT ELSE SHOULD WE BE THINKING ABOUT IN THE WAKE OF THIS REVERSAL?

The Supreme Court has given the green light to extremist state lawmakers who will waste no time springing into action to put in place total bans on abortion. And they won’t stop there — the anti-choice movement and its political allies have already made it clear that they want to enact a nationwide abortion ban. There is an election coming in November, and extremist politicians must learn the consequences of coming for our rights. If you’re able to vote, make sure you vote. If you’re not able to vote for any reason, you can still protest, have conversations with your peers and help others get the information they need. It is also important to support abortion funds and those organizations that are on the ground assisting their communities. This will be a challenging time for them.

AMY PINEDA, BAY AREA, ADMINISTRATIVE MANAGER OF ADVANCING NEWS STANDARD IN REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH (ANSRH) AND CO-CHAIR OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS AT ACCESS REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE, SHE/HER/ELLA, LATINX, FIRST-GENERATION MEXICAN-AMERICAN 

Amy Pineda

HOW DOES THIS AFFECT THE LATINO COMMUNITY, LATINX COMMUNITY?

The Latinx community is affected specifically because of a combination of systemic barriers that are in place within a white supremacist culture. Undocumented people will not be able to travel across state lines to access the abortion care that they need, without risking an interaction with ICE and potential deportation. Latinx women on average make less money and work within industries that do not provide paid time off or living wages. The majority of women who seek abortions are already mothers, which also means that someone will need child care when traveling to access an abortion. All of this means that in order to be able to legally access abortion care, a Latinx person will need the ability to cross state lines, to have the financial resources and the time to travel outside of their communities. 

Those are the immediate consequences. Some of the longer-term consequences of not being able to access an abortion means that a person is less likely to complete their education, leave an abusive relationship and/or be able to economically advance.

WHAT SHOULD BE THE PRIORITIES GOING FORWARD FOR LATINOS?

I think a priority for our community should be to talk about abortion. Saying the word abortion and discussing all the reasons a person may want or need an abortion. There is still a strong stigma around getting an abortion within the Latinx(o) community and being vocal about our support can help erase it. Another priority should be giving direct support to the people in our communities who need help navigating their abortion care. Even if someone doesn’t have the resources needed, there are abortion funds, like ACCESS RJ that can help with logistical, financial or practical support. We still have options, and the only way that we are going to be able to take care of our communities is by showing each other support in whatever way we can, whether that is through volunteering, donations or providing practical and emotional support.

WILL LATINOS/LATINAS/LATINX/LGBTQ/BLACKS/ASIANS/WOMEN AND OTHER MARGINALIZED GROUPS BECOME STRONGER ALLIES OVER THIS? WHAT WILL THAT LOOK LIKE OR LEAD TO? IF NOT, WHAT WILL IT TAKE? 

Yes, we will become stronger allies over this SCOTUS decision. Those of us in the Reproductive Justice movement have already been working together and building communities that support and understand each other. The Reproductive Justice movement was started by Black women and we would be remiss to not continue to follow the Black leaders in this movement. We face many of the same barriers to accessing abortion care in this country and our power to help our communities will only strengthen by working together.

WHAT ELSE SHOULD WE BE THINKING ABOUT IN THE WAKE OF THIS REVERSAL?

The reality is that Roe v. Wade was never enough for our Latinx community, so we have already had to build the networks and support systems to help access abortion care. We are not starting from scratch, and our communities will continue to do everything within our power to maintain bodily autonomy and dignity for everyone.

EMILIAN GUERECA, LOS ANGELES, WOMEN’S MARCH ACTION FOUNDER, SHE/HER, LATINA

Emiliana Guereca

HOW DOES THIS AFFECT THE LATINO COMMUNITY, LATINX COMMUNITY?

The decision is disastrous for the Latinx community, as access to healthcare in many of these states was already inaccessible due to lack of resources and or immigration status. About one-third of Latinos are immigrants. We know that Latinx people in the United States face disproportionate inequities in so many areas of life, as compared to our white counterparts. Those inequities extend to include reproductive healthcare, including access to contraception, pregnancy care and abortion care and healthcare coverage, more generally, including primary care, factors that make the Supreme Court decision weigh even more heavily on Latinx, and particularly the younger Latinx community who may be coming of age as the Supreme Court decision takes hold. 

WHAT SHOULD BE THE PRIORITIES GOING FORWARD FOR LATINOS?

The Latinx community in the United States must fight back at every level no different than our sisters in Latin America. We must be relentless in the pursuit of reproductive rights. We must build political power by forming coalitions and working side by side with other marginalized groups, including women of all backgrounds, BIPOC, AAPI, LGBTQ+, people with disabilities and others who face disproportionate inequities in healthcare and across all institutions and aspects of our civic lives. We must work together with a common goal in mind, to ensure that we support, fund and elect candidates who will represent our best interests and stop the eroding of our rights and livelihoods that we see happening now.

WILL LATINOS/LATINAS/LATINX/LGBTQ/BLACKS/ASIANS/WOMEN AND OTHER MARGINALIZED GROUPS BECOME STRONGER ALLIES OVER THIS? WHAT WILL THAT LOOK LIKE OR LEAD TO? IF NOT, WHAT WILL IT TAKE?  

I remain hopeful that we can unite around a common and urgent cause to safeguard those rights and protections that remain, and fight to secure representation that will preserve and restore those rights we’ve fought so long and hard for. Women’s rights are never a given; we are used to fighting for every inch.  I’m energized by the tremendous turnout of people ready to do more than march.  Thousands of people have come out to volunteer, make phone calls and host gatherings to help get people registered to vote. I am optimistic that this momentum will continue. It must be because we know that historically when democracies fail, they fail women first and it will take all communities. 

WHAT ELSE SHOULD WE BE THINKING ABOUT IN THE WAKE OF THIS REVERSAL?

This is not a test. This game is on. It is not up to someone else to do the work. It is up to each and every one of us, or else we don’t stand a chance. We must exhaust all options and demand that our current politicians in Congress codify Roe v. Wade. We must be one-issue voters, and our issue is reproductive rights. We can’t let the minority choose for the majority but we’ve got to do our part and turn out the vote across the country.   

LAURA JIMENEZ, 49, LOS ANGELES, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF CALIFORNIA LATINAS FOR REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE, SHE/HER, LATINX

Laura Jimenez

HOW DOES THIS AFFECT THE LATINO COMMUNITY, LATINX COMMUNITY?

Our Latino communities are often living in poverty rates that are greater than other communities. We know that this will be a struggle and a challenge to  just be able to access services, whether it’s in their home state because of restrictions or traveling to another state. For example, here in California we have a lot of folks in the Central and North valleys and from those locations it can be challenging to get to a place where you can get abortion services. Sometimes that might imply driving, getting on a train, having access to childcare or they might be taking a day off work.  It’s important for us to look at this as not only a violation of reproductive rights and human rights, but also look at the economic impacts it will have on individuals.

There’s so much misinformation that goes around that it makes it hard for young people to sort through what they should believe and what they should not, and how they should go about it. Compounding that, we also have crisis pregnancy centers that are “clinics” that sometimes do not even have actual medical staff, and their tactics are to attract people who are looking for abortion so they can persuade them to not go through the procedure. That persuasion often includes lying to them about how far along they are in their pregnancy, side effects of abortion or other scare tactics. It is important to note that making something legal does not make it accessible, it makes it legally accessible but not always practical. Many young people may or may not have a job, so accessing funds can be difficult, in addition to understanding how health insurance works, if they have health insurance because not everyone does.  It can be a really complex situation if you do not have a reliable person that helps you navigate all of that.

WHAT SHOULD BE THE PRIORITIES GOING FORWARD FOR LATINOS?

A priority right now for Latinos is to make sure they have the correct information about what is the law, what you can access, how you can access it and how to distinguish a crisis pregnancy center from a reproductive health clinic. Fundamentally, what I think is important in all communities, including the Latinx community, is to be able to talk about these issues. There is still a stigma when talking about abortion and that stems from the stigma of talking about sex. We all need to start having these conversations with the young people in our lives, especially if we are the trusted adults in their life. 

WILL LATINOS/LATINAS/LATINX/LGBTQ/BLACKS/ASIANS/WOMEN AND OTHER MARGINALIZED GROUPS BECOME STRONGER ALLIES OVER THIS? WHAT WILL THAT LOOK LIKE OR LEAD TO? IF NOT, WHAT WILL IT TAKE?

In some circles, there will be a greater allyship, and in other circles there is still a very narrow view of who this issue affects. This is an issue of all of us around collective liberation, so this is not a time to say that this is only a women’s issue, because this is going to affect people of all genders. It affects people who might become pregnant, but also the people who might impregnate them. We should all be talking about this, because reproductive health should not be seen as isolated from healthcare services. This is about abortion, but it’s also about body autonomy. We have to think about what the Supreme Court is saying when they declare you do not have autonomy over your body? The Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas already said he thinks that the Court should review [former] decisions around contraceptives and same-sex marriage. We already know, it’s not a secret where they are going.

WHAT ELSE SHOULD WE BE THINKING ABOUT IN THE WAKE OF THIS REVERSAL?

It’s important for all of us to be  involved, it affects everyone and if you think this decision does not affect you today, think again. Because what this court has shown us is that they do not have respect for human rights. It is not the time to be complacent.  

Brenda Fernanda Verano

Brenda Fernanda Verano is a journalist from South Central LA. At Caló News, Verano covers social justice, health care, and education. She is a senior at California State University, Dominguez Hills, and...

Amairani Hernandez

Amairani Hernandez is a native of Los Angeles and a graduate of the California State University of Los Angeles with a degree in Broadcast Journalism. She is a freelancer and focuses on stories about Latinos,...