The 2010 election was a mixed result for Latinas and reproductive health, but one strong message came through: Latino/a's are a powerful and active voting bloc, by some estimates Latino turnout could be as high as 60 percent.
"Latinas proved themselves a formidable voting constituency determined to cast their ballots despite political campaigns designed to depress Latina turnout," said Silvia Henriquez, Executive Director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH). "This election was not a referendum on reproductive health and justice issues. However the new Congressional landscape raises the stakes for advocacy work on these issues."
One of the most discouraging election results is the shake-up in the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC). NLIRH's partnership with CHC members has been instrumental in raising the voice of Latinas in healthcare reform, immigration and abortion access. Two important voices were defeated in this election by conservative opponents: CHC Whip, John Salazar (CO-03) and past CHC chair Ciro Rodriguez (TX-23).In the aftermath of the election, the NLIRH will focus on protecting the landmark health care law which will cover an estimated 9 million Latinos and increase funding for community health centers – a lifeline to many in our neighborhoods. Though many new House leaders have promised to take aim at the law, with a supportive stronghold elected in California and other allies nationwide, opportunities exist to continue reform focused on those most in need.
House Republicans have indicated their intent to drastically limit access and affordability of abortions by blocking abortion coverage in insurance plans. NLIRH will continue to work to protect existing coverage and push for public funding so that abortion can remain a safe, affordable option for Latinas.
NLIRH looked at nine state election results in terms of what they mean for Latinas' and immigrants' health and rights: Arizona, Colorado, California, Florida, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Texas and Wisconsin. These nine states have 10 percent of Latino electorate or have an active NLIRH affiliate. State digests will be available this week here. A longer analysis will be available before Thanksgiving. Stay tuned!
En solidaridad,Silvia Henriquez