Equal Pay Is a Reproductive Health Care Issue for Latinas

Mother and daughter reading
Mother and daughter reading

Equal pay is an issue for all women in this country, but unlike the 79 cents to every dollar statistic that most of us are familiar with, Latinas only make 55 cents for every $1 dollar paid to white men. 55 cents.

That means that Latinas have to work 22 months to make as much as white, non Hispanic men did last year alone. This amounts to a loss of $25,177 a year.

How do you pay for rent, electricity, child care, food and health care, all things individuals and families need as basic security, at the same quality and level of those who make double what you do? In most cases, the answer is, you don't. If you've ever had to do the dangerous dance of paying the bills you can't afford, the hope to not get sick is probably a real and constant one.

Despite how lawmakers approach policy, the fact is, equal pay and health care access are directly linked.

Cost is already a barrier to accessing reproductive health care. If you then tack on the costs to take off from work and pay for transportation, public or otherwise, or childcare, it makes health care that much more expensive, for many to the point that health care, even basic preventive services, is considered a luxury, no matter the pain or illness.

When women have access to reproductive health care, they are able to better plan their families; they are more likely to continue and complete higher levels of education; and they are more likely to be economically stable and successful, benefiting themselves, their homes and families, and their communities.

That's why Planned Parenthood is committed to providing affordable high-quality access to health care for all women -- including the 575,000 Latinas we serve each year, regardless of immigration or health insurance status.

No one should have to decide between paying their bills or accessing health care. The wage gap is much wider for most women of color, but it's widest for Latinas.

Too many Latinas are struggling to make ends meet. Congress needs to combat the wage gap and prioritize fair pay. Hispanic Heritage Month may end today but there's still time to speak up.

Check out the #LatinaEqualPay Twitter Storm to have your voice heard and keep this conversation going today.