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Archive for the ‘Women’s Issues’ Category

Telling My Father About My Abortion

When writer and storyteller April Salazar was told by her doctors that her unborn child had an incurable birth defect —lethal skeletal dysplasia— she was given two options: carry her baby to term or terminate her pregnancy.

She chose the latter option. She couldn’t bear the thought of giving birth to her child only to watch him suffer and die shortly after. But then she was faced with a problem she never had considered before: how would she break the news about her abortion to her conservative Mexican-American father?

Featured image via April Salazar

Crisis Pregnancy Centers: Deception or Salvation?

It’s been 40 years since Roe v. Wade, but the abortion war rages on.

It’s out on the streets, in the courts, in state legislatures.

But there’s also a quieter fight going on, in the waiting rooms of Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs), places created to discourage women from getting abortions.

Sometimes called pregnancy resource centers, they are non-profit organizations that generally provide peer counseling related to abortion, pregnancy and childbirth. Some also provide non-medical services like financial assistant or adoption referrals.

The majority of CPCs are run by pro-life Christian organizations.

They have commercials like these all over the country:





Pro-choice organizations like Planned Parenthood have criticized CPCs for posing as medical facilities, and using intimidation to disseminate false medical information to clients.




Feminist writer Jaclyn Munson went undercover to a crisis pregnancy center in New York City.

“A woman walking into this facility would definitely think this could be a medical facility,” says Munson, “there were white lab coats, they did have the model fetuses out, they did have a lot of pamphlets that looked like medical pamphlets.”

Munson says she was quickly ushered into a room to talk privately with a counselor who told her she was too pretty to be having sex before marriage.

“They build up a great trust with these women, they’re really nice, they’re really friendly, but at the end of the day, you’re a slut who got pregnant and we have to help you so that you never get in this situation again.

But pretty soon, according to Munson, it went from slut shaming to outright misinforming.

“It was a lot of heavy lecturing about breast cancer being implanted in breast cancer and these things that have been scientifically refuted.”

Munson’s experience inside a CPC is echoes the findings from undercover investigations conducted by NARAL Pro Choice chapters all over the country.




Rai Rojas, Latino Outreach Director for Right To Life, defends the crisis pregnancy centers’ practices.

These resources are a godsend for a pregnant woman in need, says Rojas, “We hook her up with food stamps, aid from the state, the city and the federal government.”

And Rojas insists, the CPCs aren’t set up to mislead women.

“Crisis Pregnancy Centers aren’t set up to be health care centers, we’re there to provide information that they do not receive at abortion clinics,” says Rojas.



But the New York City Council didn’t see it their way.

In 2011, it passed a consumer protection law requiring CPCs to openly specify the services they don’t provide and to disclose whether or not they have a medical doctor on staff.

“The law we passed here in this city is pretty simple,” says former New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, “It says, ‘say what you are, say whether you’re a medical office, say if you provide abortion services, say if you provide emergency contraception.'”

The American Center for Law And Justice, which is like a Christian version of the ACLU, argued that the law was violating the crisis pregnancy center’s First Amendment rights.

A federal court first blocked the law, but in January, most of it was upheld by a federal appeals court.

Both sides interpreted this as a victory.

Now, the centers don’t have to disclose whether they provide referrals for emergency contraception, abortion or prenatal care.

“They sided for the most part on the side of the crisis pregnancy centers and said you can’t legislate freedom of speech,” says Rai Rojas from Right to Life, “It’s guaranteed in the first amendment that we can say pretty much what we want and the government can’t prohibit us from saying what we need and want to say.”

But they do have to say whether or not they have a doctor on staff, what kind of services they don’t provide, and they have to protect their clients’ privacy.

“A woman has a right to know when she walks into an office if it’s a medical facility or it’s not,” says former New York City councilwoman Jessica Lapin, “these women give incredibly personal information to these centers and this bill requires them to treat that confidentially.”



More than two dozen crisis pregnancy centers are still operating in New York City:


cpc map















And their day-to-day looks pretty much the same.

During the appeals court hearing, the CPCs admitted to purposefully setting up shop as close as possible to registered women’s health clinics.

They also place Spanish-speaking volunteers out on the street to usher Latina women into their doors.

It’s a moral war they’re waging, says Rojas.

“I’ll make it easy for you, the single most dangerous place for a Latino in these United States today is in his mother’s womb.”

And as long as they believe that to be true, this fight’s not going anywhere.




BrendaSalinasBefore coming on board as an associate producer with Latino USA, Brenda Salinas was awarded the highly competitive Kroc Fellowship at NPR. She has reported pieces for Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition, Weekends on All Things Considered and for KUHF Houston Public Radio. In college, she started her campus’ only student run foreign-language publication, Nuestras Voces. Brenda has a B.A. in Economics from Columbia University.



Latina Wonder Women?

There’s been a lot written in the past year about women balancing work and family, but what that means for Latinas can be complicated — especially in the world of business. Do they tone down their cultural differences to be accepted in the workplace? Maria Hinojosa talks to the president of Barnard College, Debora Spar. In addition to leading the women’s Liberal Arts college, Spar wrote the book Wonder Women: Sex, Power and the Quest for Perfection.

A1_DEBSPAR_HEADSHOT_CREDITBARNARDCOLLEGE Debora Spar is president of Barnard College and the author of numerous books, including, most recently, Wonder Women:  Sex, Power, and the Quest for Perfection.  Prior to her arrival at Barnard in 2008, Spar was the Spangler Family Professor at Harvard Business School, where her research and teaching focused on political economy and the various ways in which firms and governments together shape the rules of the global economy.  Spar also serves as a Director of Goldman Sachs and trustee of the Nightingale-Bamford School.


Blogueras: Latina Body Image

While women of all kinds have to worry about body image, for Latinas, navigating cultural differences can make things complicated. Maria Hinojosa is joined by blogueras Patricia Valoy and Kassandra Peña to discuss body hair, thigh gaps, and being Latina.

Photo courtesy of Flicker (suez92).


Kassandra Peña, 24, is a graduate from San Jose State University with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and an academic focus in Spanish. Kassandra currently holds the title of Miss San Jose Latina and her future dreams include visiting all 50 U.S states and working within the media and entertainment industry. Aside from blogging, reading and attending weekly Pilates classes, she also enjoys spending time with her family and two dogs. Photo courtesy of Kassandra Peña.
B1_PatriciaPatricia Valoy is a  feminist blogger  and a trained Civil Engineer. She combines her experiences as a Latina and an engineer to advocate and inspire girls considering careers in the fields of STEM. Patricia also speaks and writes on a variety of issues affecting the Latin@ community including safe abortion access, racism, immigration, cultural and religious pressures, and living at the intersection of two cultures. Photo courtesy of Patricia Valoy.

Latinas Have the Buying Power

This holiday season, the toymaker Mattel is hoping to boost sales by reaching out to Latina moms. Maria Hinojosa talks about Mattel’s first-ever Spanish-language ad campaign, and a recent Nielsen study that positions Latina moms as a rapidly emerging economic and cultural force.

Photo courtesy of Flicker (davidd).

Bigger, Faster, Stronger: Latinas in Sports

Maria Hinojosa talks to Mexican soccer team member Anisa Guajardo and sports and fitness writer Laanna Carrasco about Latinas in sports, and the self-determination it takes to win.

C2_Anisaphoto2_Courtesy Anisa GuajardoAnisa Guajardo plays soccer for the Boston Breakers as well as the Mexican national soccer team.

C2 Laanna_on_steps courtesy Laanna CarrascoLaanna Carrasco is a sports and fitness writer. Her profile of Anisa Guajardo appeared in the most recent issue of Bigger Faster Stronger magazine.


Being bicultural, multicultural, ambicultural…it can get complicated. We want to help out. We’ve teamed up with Latina Magazine’s advice columnist Pauline Campos for a new recurring segment we like to call #LatinoProblems.



Pauline Campos is Latina Magazine’s advice & relationship columnist, Latino USA’s #LatinoProblems advice expert on NPR, editor of the ebook anthology, Strong Like Butterfly, and contributes to various websites. Pauline blogs three times a week at Aspiring Mama (or when she remember to take her Adderall) & is the founder of Girl Body Pride.

Awareness, Access, and Advertisements

The good news: overall, teen pregnancy is down. The bad: Latinas are still getting pregnant at a higher rate than other teens. Latino USA’s Daisy Rosario reports on how public health campaigns are trying to combat teen pregnancy, and why critics of these ads view them as “shaming.”

Photo by Diana Montaño


Nicole Angresano is the Vice President of Community Impact for United Way of Greater Milwaukee. She oversees more than 160 United Way-funded health and human service programs, as well as leading United Way’s communitywide teen pregnancy prevention efforts aimed at reducing Milwaukee’s rate of births to teens by 46% by 2015 – an issue that has been a focus for her since completing a graduate school thesis on the topic.



YoungMama-JessGonzalesRojas (1)

Jessica González-Rojas is the Executive Director at the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, the only national reproductive justice organization that specifically works to advance reproductive health and rights for Latinas. Jessica is an Adjunct Professor of Latino and Latin American Studies at the City University of New York’s City College and has taught courses on reproductive rights, gender and sexuality.




A2_bill-profile-200x300Bill Albert is the Chief Program Officer of The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, a private, non-profit initiative organized in 1996 that focuses on preventing both teen pregnancy and unplanned pregnancy among single, young adults.  As Chief Program Officer, Mr. Albert is responsible for overall program planning and development, and for tracking program progress.


Cuban immigrant Loreta Velazquez once disguised herself as a man just so she could fight in the Civil War. We speak to writer and director María Agui Carter about her film, “Rebel,” premiering nationwide on PBS.

Image courtesy of Flickr/TradingCardsNPS.

MariaMaría Agui Carter emigrated to the U.S. from Ecuador, grew up an undocumented “Dreamer” in New York City, and graduated from Harvard College. A filmmaker and scholar, she has won the George Peabody Gardner, Warren and Rockefeller Grants and has been a visiting scholar at Harvard and Tulane. Her work has been shown at film festivals and has been broadcast internationally. Based in Boston, she is an advocate for Latino and social issue filmmakers. She currently serves as the Chair of the National Association of Latino Independent Producers.



Watch Rebel – Preview on PBS. See more from VOCES.

Lost Women

Maria Hinojosa examines a pattern of violence and human rights abuses in Mexico. In the seven years since the Mexican government launched its war against the drug cartels, more than 60,000 people have been killed and an estimated 25,000 have disappeared.  Much of the violence comes from police and government forces as well as the cartels — and women are often targets.  Does Mexico’s new President, Enrique Peña Nieto have the will to curb the excesses?

Click here to download this week’s show. Image courtesy of

Mem.Photo_-copyMaría Emilia Martin is a pioneering public radio journalist with over two dozen awards for her work covering Latino issues and Latin America. She started her career at the first community public radio station owned and operated by Latinos in the U.S. She has developed ground-breaking programs and series for public radio, including NPR’s Latino USA, and Despues de las Guerras: Central America After the Wars. A recipient of Fulbright and Knight Fellowships, she has extensive experience in journalism and radio training, in the U.S., Mexico, Guatemala, Bolivia and other countries.


Host Maria Hinojosa travels to Guatemala for a report on the many indigenous women there who are involved in clashes with multinational mining companies that they say are despoiling the environment and threatening their way of life.

Click here to download this week’s show.

María Emilia Martin is a pioneering public radio journalist with over two dozen awards for her work covering Latino issues and Latin America. She started her career at the first community public radio station owned and operated by Latinos in the U.S. She has developed ground-breaking programs and series for public radio, including NPR’s Latino USA, and Despues de las Guerras: Central America After the Wars. A recipient of Fulbright and Knight Fellowships, she has extensive experience in journalism and radio training, in the U.S., Mexico, Guatemala, Bolivia and other countries.


Maria Hinojosa goes cruising with two members of “The Unique Ladies,” an all women’s car club in San Diego and learns about hydraulic jacks, hopping, customized paint jobs, and the satisfactions of lowriding.

Click here to download this week’s show.





































After the 1959 revolution, being gay in Cuba was considered counter-revolutionary. LGBT Cubans were jailed and harassed because of their sexual identity. Hear from two lesbians talk about their life on the island since the Revolution.

Click here to download this week’s show.

Von Diaz is a multimedia journalist based in New York City. Her reporting focuses on immigration, Cuba, and LGBT issues. She was born in Puerto Rico and raised in Atlanta, GA. She is a Feet in Two Worlds fellow, and has published her work on PRI’s The World, WNYC, and New American Media.


The UN calls the Central American nation of Honduras “the most violent country in the world.” The violence is fueled by poverty, drug trafficking, corruption, and increasingly, with the involvement of the military and police.  In the past few years, women have become frequent targets of rape, battering, and murder in Honduras. Latino USA host Maria Hinojosa explores the reasons why.

Click here to download this week’s show.

María Emilia Martin is a pioneering public radio journalist with over two dozen awards for her work covering Latino issues and Latin America. She started her career at the first community public radio station owned and operated by Latinos in the U.S. She has developed ground-breaking programs and series for public radio, including NPR’s Latino USA, and Despues de las Guerras: Central America After the Wars. A recipient of Fulbright and Knight Fellowships, she has extensive experience in journalism and radio training, in the U.S., Mexico, Guatemala, Bolivia and other countries.


Comic book superheroes may rule movie screens recently, but two Chicanos from Southern California have used comics to tell amazing stories about ordinary people for the past 30 years. We meet Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez, godfathers of the alternative comics movement and creators of Love and Rockets. Latino USA’s senior producer Carolina Gonzalez reports.

Click here to download this week’s show. Love and Rockets, Copyright 2012, Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez. Photo courtesy of Fantagraphics.

Diaz On Hernandez/Hernandez on Diaz

Dominican-American author Junot Díaz’s work often references Love & Rockets. And Jaime Hernandez has illustrated four Díaz stories published in The New Yorker magazine. So we decided to ask Díaz about the influence Los Bros. have had on his storytelling, and asked Jaime about translating Diaz’s obsessions into images. Check out what they said here:

But wait! There’s more…check out this exclusive cover art slide show below:

Carolina Gonzalez is an award-winning journalist and scholar with over two decades of experience in print and radio. She served as an editorial writer at the New York Daily News, and has covered education, immigration, politics, music and Latino culture in various alternative and mainstream media outlets, such as WNYC radio, AARP Segunda Juventud, SF Weekly and the Progressive Media Project. The guidebook she co-authored with Seth Kugel, Nueva York: the Complete Guide to Latino Life in the Five Boroughs, was published in 2006 by St. Martin’s Press. She was raised in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and Queens, New York and lives in Brooklyn, New York.


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