5 Latinas Saying #ThxBirthControl
During Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 to October 15) we celebrate the cultures and contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. Though Latinas—and Latinx people—have had a complicated relationship with birth control, they continue to rely on methods like the pill and to start families if and when they desire. It was reported in a Cambridge study that 74% of US-born Latinas (and 62% of foreign-born Latinas) believe birth control should be safe and accessible. Hispanic Heritage Month provides the unique opportunity to recognize the many contributions Hispanic Americans have made in order to help ensure all women could have the power to decide their futures.
Rep. Veronica Escobar
Representative Veronica Escobar is from El Paso, Texas where her parents had a dairy farm. Escobar is the first woman to represent the 16th District of Texas. And together she and Rep. Sylvia Garcia are the joint-first Latina Texans elected to the House of Representatives. Escobar says, “I fundamentally believe reproductive freedom means having the option to all reproductive health care options.”
Lydia Tavarez is a medical assistant for an orthopedic surgeon at Houston Methodist Hospital. She comes from a very large family; her mother has 12 siblings and her father five. She and her husband have nine children. “Most Hispanics come from big families," she said. "I think having a large family has made me a people person who loves to take care of people.” But Tavarez encourages young women to “be aware of all forms of birth control and practice safe sex at all times.”
Retired professional wrestler Nikki Bella broke barriers for both women and Latinos in WWE. Though she has retired, Bella still holds the record for longest reign as a WWE Divas Champion. Born in California and raised in Arizona, she comes from Mexican descent. "I'm so proud to be a Latina," Bella said. "Growing up and being Latina and growing up with my father and getting to do a lot of the Hispanic traditions, I loved it.” Bella says her 15-month-old niece, Birdie, has been "the best form of birth control," as she continues to contemplate having children right now. “Here I was dying to be a mom. Now I want to push it back. Can my clock tick until my 40s?"
Rep. Sylvia Garcia
A native Texan from San Diego, Representative Sylvia Garcia attended Texas Woman’s University and Texas Southern University. Alongside Rep. Escobar she is the joint-first Latina to be elected from Texas to the House of Representatives. “A woman’s choice should be between her and her doctor, not a choice made by politicians.” Rep. Garcia has long advocated for women. She supports expanded abortion access and quality women’s health care.
Yasmine Winkler is the CEO of the central region for the Medicaid business for UnitedHealthcare. She heads up a team focused on making sure that people using Medicare—often comprised of the most vulnerable populations—can overcome the many barriers to receiving care. “Navigating the healthcare system can be challenging for anyone,” Winkler says. “How can we make it easier to navigate so people have access to the services they need?”
Her work is especially important as 19.5 million women who are in need of publicly funded contraception live in contraceptive deserts—that is, they lack reasonable access in their county to a health center that offers the full range of contraceptive methods.