Nuestro Texas is a human rights campaign calling for reproductive health access for all women, without distinction as to geographic location, ethnicity, race, economic class, or citizen status. It is a response to policies passed by the Texas legislature in 2011 that devastated the reproductive health safety net of Texas—a decades-old system enabling millions of low-income Texas women to exercise their rights to health services and information. These polices, including severe funding cuts to family planning services and regulations limiting certain reproductive health providers from operating, have jeopardized women’s rights to health, life, autonomy, equality and freedom from ill treatment.
One of the areas most deeply impacted is the Lower Rio Grande Valley, an under-resourced area where family planning clinics are frontline providers for uninsured and low-income women who would otherwise have nowhere to turn for essential services like contraception and cancer screenings.
The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH) and the Center for Reproductive Rights formed a partnership in 2012 to document the human rights impact of Texas’ policies on the women in the Valley. The investigation exposed the profound barriers women in the Valley have faced for years in trying to access basic reproductive health care and shows, through women’s own voices, how recent policies have eliminated what little access they once had. With long delays at clinics and the elimination of many free and low-cost services, reproductive health care has become unavailable and unaffordable for hundreds of thousands of women. Health outcomes reflect this, with reported increases in unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections, as well as reproductive system cancers that, if caught early, are preventable or treatable.
Still, Latinas in the Valley remain resilient in the face of these violations to their human rights. Through the Texas Latina Advocacy Network, women in the four counties of the Valley work collectively to advance reproductive health care for all women. Their strategic campaigns have addressed some of the systemic barriers to health care, such as improvements in transportation access for very rural communities and restoring funding for to the clinics. After the funding cuts they redoubled their efforts to organize, educate, and mobilize for policy change.
Nuestro Texas relies on the findings of this report to call for a rights-based approach to reproductive health policy that promotes women’s fundamental human right to affordable and accessible care.
Nuestro Texas. Raise your voice for women’s health and human rights.