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New York, NY — Planned Parenthood Federation of America, a leading health care provider that serves 500,000 Latino patients each year, celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month by standing with Latino communities to honor their history and culture and and to support expanding access to vital health care.

“Part of honoring Hispanic heritage in this country is ensuring that we stand with Latino communities so they are able to access affordable, high-quality health care and live free from discrimination,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “It’s clear that access to affordable health care, including birth control without a copay, remains at risk under this administration. Paired with racial attacks on Latino communities on the campaign trail and current racialized immigrant enforcement efforts that deter undocumented immigrants from accessing health care, it is more important than ever to stand with Latino communities.”

Despite the progress made under the Affordable Care Act, Latinos in the U.S. continue to face significant barriers to accessing health care, as well as significant disparities in their health care outcomes. A greater percentage of Latinas (38%) are uninsured compared to women of any other group and, as such, they are less likely than non-Latina white women to have a regular health care provider. Latinas are also more likely to be diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Immigrant communities often face more challenges to accessing coverage and health care. While the Affordable Care Act resulted in significant coverage gains for Latinos, it failed to cover undocumented immigrants, the majority of whom are Latino. Increased immigration enforcement drives immigrants further into the shadows and can prevent them from seeking the lifesaving care they need.

“Latinos are a vital part of the Planned Parenthood community; they are our patients, volunteers, activists, supporters, educators, clinicians, and staff,” said Bridgette Gomez, director of Latinx outreach and engagement at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “They make our country better, stronger, and more vibrant. And they make Planned Parenthood stronger, too. In addition to providing critical preventive health care, Planned Parenthood is proud to advocate for and with Latino communities in partnership with community leaders to harness their political power and increase their access to health care.”

Planned Parenthood is proud to see patients regardless of income, insurance, immigration status, or country of origin, and it is often one of the only places that undocumented people can turn to for care. For many Latinos, Planned Parenthood is their preferred health care provider or the only health care provider they have, and Medicaid and Title X funding is the only way they are able to access care.

In addition to providing direct medical services, Planned Parenthood is driving two major community-based initiatives to increase Latinos’ access to health care. Planned Parenthood’s Raíz program is made up of community organizers that mobilize Latinos on the ground in key states with large Latino populations. The Promotores de Salud program brings bilingual health education into Latinos’ homes across the country. Together, these programs have played a key role in educating and enrolling Latinos in the Affordable Care Act and advocating for the civil rights, including immigrant rights, of Latinos.

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Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood affiliates serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives