National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health
Silvia Henriquez is the Executive Director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health.
Silvia Henriquez is primarily responsible for the overall management, fundraising and administration of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health. In just three years, Silvia has positioned NLIRH as one the leading organizations working to advance the reproductive health and rights of Latinas. She has increased national visibility through the March for Women’s Lives, the National Latina Summit, developed national organizing and advocacy programs as well as tripled the funding base for the organization. Prior to her leadership position at NLIRH, Silvia has worked with various reproductive rights organizations. She was the National Campus Coordinator at the Feminist Majority Foundation, the Outreach Director at the National Abortion Federation and a Policy Analyst with the Latino Issues Forum.
Silvia currently sits on the Board of Directors of both the Reproductive Health Technologies Project and the Guttmacher Institute. She has also been recognized by the National Women’s Health Network at their 30th Anniversary as one of 30 activists working on behalf of women’s health. Silvia is also the recipient of the 2005 Young Professional Award from the American Public Health Association. She graduated with a Bachelor’s in International Affairs and a Master’s in Women’s Studies both from the George Washington University.
I fervently identified as pro-choice. However, how I define abortion rights is not as simple as being pro-choice. At the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, we are faced with talking about abortion rights within the broader context of women’s real lives.
As important as it is, the focus in the media on the abortion ban in the House bill obscures an equally important issue: immigrant access to medical coverage. If this isn’t addressed, the final bill will be outdated before the President’s ink dries.
Latina teens give birth at a rate more than twice that of white teens. Many of the policies intended to address this are misguided and have been largely ineffective. We need a dramatically different approach.
Many young Latinos’ sexual and reproductive health needs fall outside of
the scope of pregnancy prevention. As a result, focusing on teen pregnancy prevention as a main "common ground" strategy is an incomplete framework.
Information about Latina teen pregnancy and childbirth should be presented in a way that enables the public to understand the exact dimension and context of the issue.
Silvia Henriquez is the Executive Director for the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health.
Thirty-four years ago the U.S. Supreme Court legalized the right to an abortion. While this certainly was a milestone and victory for women in the United States, we also must understand how this decision impacts women from all backgrounds and communities.
The Latina community is incredibly diverse. Many of us are immigrants or our parents were immigrants, while others have been here for generations. We come from many different places: Caribbean Islands, Mexico and more recently from South and Central America. Our cultural diversity, varied immigration status and personal experiences in the United States all contribute to how a Latina will perceive her right to an abortion and her understanding of this right.