Monday, December 7, 2015

For Undocumented Women Seeking Reproductive Healthcare, Policing and Politics Create a Maze of Barriers

By Xatherin Gonzalez, Bitch Media Bitch Magazine
November 16, 2015

In September 2015, an undocumented woman arrived at a healthcare clinic outside of Houston, Texas for a routine follow-up exam. Blanca Borrego handed a false driver’s license to the receptionist at the Memorial Hermann women’s clinic upon check-in and waited to be called into the examination room with her two daughters at her side. They sat in that waiting room for two hours. Finally, when her name was called, her daughters stayed behind as she was led to an exam room where a Harris County Sheriff’s deputy was waiting for her. He handcuffed her and brought her through the clinic’s office, where her daughters waited and her eight-year-old burst into tears when she saw her mother under arrest. Her 22-year-old daughter, who has an open application for legal status through Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, told The Houston Press that the sheriff’s deputy turned to her and said they were arresting her mom for false papers: "She's going to get deported.”

Borrego has been released from Sheriff’s custody, and it’s likely that the arrest violates federal patient-doctor privacy laws, but charges are still pending and she risks being turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). As Borrego’s case works through the courts, reproductive health experts in Texas are concerned that her highly publicized arrest will prevent many undocumented immigrants from seeking medical attention, with fears that they will also be delivered into ICE custody by their medical providers.[...]

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