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Thu Jun 14, 2012, 02:12 PM

'War on Women' Increasingly Focused on Women of Color and Immigrants

Published on Thursday, June 14, 2012 by RH Reality Check

'War on Women' Increasingly Focused on Women of Color and Immigrants
by Natalie Camastra

VAWA. PRENDA. Aderholt.

What do all these words (and acronyms) have in common?

They represent the three latest attacks on women's health, safety, and reproductive justice. However, the War on Women has been raging continuously in the 112th Congress. So what else connects these three? They represent the escalating attacks on the health and rights of women of color, and immigrant women in particular — their right to reproductive health care, their access to protections from intimate partner violence and other crimes, and their right to bodily autonomy.

Let's start with the most recent affront: the Aderholt amendment. Last week, the House of Representatives passed the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act (H.R. 5855), which includes a provision (Aderholt Amendment) that targets immigrant women's reproductive health care with unnecessary and mean-spirited restrictions on access to abortion. The provision prohibits federal funding for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to provide abortion care for women in ICE detention centers — adding yet another layer to the harmful restrictions the Hyde amendment already puts in place.

The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH), outraged over the politicized attack on some of the most vulnerable women in our society, led an effort to unite over 50 national, state, and local organizations in opposition the provision — a group that includes reproductive health, rights, and justice advocates as well as faith-based groups, advocates for Latinos health, and groups that represent immigrants, refugees, and LGBTQ people.

In a letter to the House of Representatives, this diverse group united to express deep concern that the Aderholt amendment would take us backwards, making life harder for women in federal immigration custody. Women in detention are separated from their children, their partners, and their health care providers. They have been denied HIV medication, forced to give birth in shackles, and sexually assaulted by guards. This amendment, and any restriction on access to reproductive health care, is yet another insult and humiliation for women who are already facing terrible circumstances. Immigrant women’s health should never be used as a political bargaining chip.


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