October 3rd marks the 40th anniversary of the death of Rosie Jimenez, a young working class Chicana woman from McAllen, Texas who was the first victim of the Hyde Amendment. A few months prior, the legislation was enacted, barring federal funding from paying for abortion through Medicaid, except for cases of rape, incest, or when the pregnant individual is in a life-threatening state of being. Jimenez was a mother of a five-year old daughter and a student five- months shy of graduating with her teaching credentials to make a better life for herself and her daughter when she realized she was pregnant. Rosie was denied a safe because she was on Medicaid, and as a result, she had an unsafe abortion in Mexico, leading to a septic shock seven days later which resulted in her death.
Today, the Hyde Amendment impacts the poorest and most vulnerable communities; furthering the marginalization they face regularly. The legislation enables the government to foster the racist, sexist and classist undertones that prohibit these communities from the reproductive justice they rightfully deserve. The Latinx community has the second highest abortion rates except for those below the poverty line, where they have slightly higher rates than black people. As we continue fighting against a government that doesn’t believe that reproductive health care is basic health care, it is imperative to remember that the fight for access exceeds the white, cis, able-bodied, economically advantaged populations.