Something rather magical happened on Wednesday this week in front of the U.S. Capitol: thousands and thousands of people, mostly Latinos, gathered for a immigration reform rally. Young and old, from many backgrounds and races, we all gathered together at our nation’s capital to show lawmakers that behind every policy decision, there is a person’s story, life, and future.
I happen to believe that there are certain basic, inalienable human rights, and that health is one of them. The reason I, along with many of my colleagues and friends at Planned Parenthood, gathered in front of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday to rally for immigration reform is precisely this: because we believe that everyone deserves access to live healthy lives, no matter what.
Every year, Planned Parenthood health centers serve nearly three million women, men, and young people in the U.S. They provide basic preventive health care like birth control, cancer screenings, and STI tests. About a quarter of Planned Parenthood’s patients are Latinos, and each one of those patients — more than 600,000 of them — have stories of their own.
Planned Parenthood sees those stories in the Latino community every day — from the woman who hasn’t gotten a well-woman exam in 10 years, to a young man who wants to get tested for STIs, but doesn’t know where to start. These are all our stories: we all know someone who needs affordable health care. Our movements exist together, and our neighbor’s progress is our progress. As a health care provider, Planned Parenthood is invested in ensuring that all individuals have access to health care, including reproductive health care such as family planning services like birth control. We all benefit when more people have access to affordable, quality health care.
We support the efforts that Congress is undertaking to reform our immigration system, and believe that immigration reform legislation should ensure that immigrants, including immigrants that will gain provisional status, have access to health care. Health has no borders. Mis hermanas, the time is now.