June is Immigrant Heritage Month, an opportunity to celebrate immigrants in the United States and around the world. At Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette, we're also reflecting on the direct link between our health as a society and our health as a global community.
I have been working with Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette for about two years. I take the work I do personally because I come from Vietnam, where health care is not very developed. I have seen firsthand how challenging it can be to access health care if you are not a citizen of this country.
I am proud to support an organization that is working to address this need in my community and that recognizes that immigrant rights and reproductive rights are not two different movements.
There are so many barriers to accessing health care for the immigrant community that result in negative health outcomes. Attacks on reproductive rights would hit us immigrants hardest. The ability to access preventive health care and stay together as a family are both crucial parts of what it means to have a happy and complete life.
With the administration focused on stripping both women and immigrants of their rights, it is no surprise that immigrant women are caught in the crosshairs. Attacks on immigrant rights and reproductive health care — and attacks on providers like Planned Parenthood that immigrants have come to rely on for care — make the already difficult maze of barriers to accessing care nearly impossible for undocumented immigrants to overcome.
Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette is proud to see patients regardless of immigration status. If Planned Parenthood is defunded, immigrants in Oregon and Southwest Washington may have nowhere to go to access care.
While undocumented immigrants are barred from accessing affordable health coverage through the Marketplaces and federally funded programs like Medicaid — a harmful and unfair policy that Planned Parenthood does not agree with — people who are undocumented often depend on healthcare providers like Planned Parenthood that are willing to work with them to provide affordable, basic primary and preventive health care.
Planned Parenthood is proud to be part of the Pro-Choice Coalition of Oregon, which has proposed landmark legislation to fill gaps in reproductive health coverage that disproportionately impact immigrant women. The Reproductive Health Equity Act (House Bill 3393) will remove financial barriers and ensure that every Oregonian is empowered to make decisions about whether and when to become a parent, regardless of citizenship status.
Defunding Planned Parenthood would strike a devastating blow to immigrants who already have so much standing in their way to get care. Planned Parenthood is a safe space for my community, and I commit to stand with Planned Parenthood to provide care no matter what.
Ben Hua is a clinic assistant at Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette's Milwaukie-Oak Grove Health Center. For more information visit PPCW.org.