What mamas really need this mother's day: The opportunity to make their own health care decisions

Thursday, May 09, 2013

By Evy Valencia

Mamas—they are our rocks, our heroes, always challenging us to dream big. Our mamas, tias, cousins, and sisters are the backbone of our families and communities. Many mamas are also the decision makers for their family health care choices. Yet today’s broken health care system denies millions of women of color—like my mama—the ability to live a healthy life. Worse, health care options have become so politicized that many of our mama’s are also unable to fully participate in the social and political life of our communities.

Many of our mamas also work full-time or multiple part-time jobs just to put food on the table and to play their role as leader, decision maker, and heart of the family. At the same time, more than one-third of the 45 million Americans who lack health insurance are women of color, women who are also more likely to live in underserved and under-resourced communities. My mama is more likely to lack appropriate access to health care. She is more likely to have a chronic illness left undiagnosed and untreated, resulting in unnecessary illness and earlier death.

This Mama’s Day, let’s prove that we appreciate our mamas’ contributions by giving them the opportunity to make their own health care decisions. All mamas—including poor, young, undocumented, LGBT, and single mothers—need to have power and access to comprehensive, accurate, and unbiased reproductive health information and services.

If mothers are trusted and relied on to make health care choices for their families, why can’t our legislators trust women more broadly to make health care policy decisions that are the healthiest for my mama and her family?

Evy Valencia is a organizer at Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR). She is an educator for Latinas of Vision (LOV) and Latinas Increasing Political Strength (LIPS) programs working to educate youth, engage the community, and advocate for comprehensive sexuality education.

This blog post is part of the Strong Families Mama’s Day Our Way celebration. You can read more posts in the series on the Strong Families blog. Strong Families is a national initiative led by Forward Together. Our goal is to change the way people think, act and talk about families.

No comments:

Post a Comment