By Jessica González-Rojas, Nancy Northup
The rural community in the Texas Rio Grande Valley where Daniela lives has few options for health care. So when the mobile clinic that once visited her community stopped coming, services stopped with it. Because she was having breast pain, she managed to travel to a distant clinic for a mammogram—no small feat given that transportation options are essentially nonexistent—only to find they didn’t have a mammogram machine. Daniela was referred to a hospital, but she couldn’t afford the $800 charge for the test. After a six-month wait, Daniela got an appointment at another clinic, but when she arrived, it no longer had the equipment. Without any other options for affordable care, she’s simply enduring the pain.
“I don’t even think about it,” she says. “I try to live with it.”
A recent human rights investigation by the Center for Reproductive Rights and the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health has found that the deep cuts to family planning services enacted by Texas politicians in 2011has severely limited—and in cases like Daniela’s, completely eliminated—women’s access to cancer screenings, contraception, and other essential health care services.