Stereotyped as “hyper-breeders,” Latinas have been targets of involuntary sterilization campaigns from Puerto Rico to California. Since 1994, with California’s Proposition 187 which sought to prevent undocumented immigrants from accessing public services, we’ve seen bill after bill designed to deny immigrant women the reproductive health care they need to make healthy and safe decisions about pregnancy.
Within the past decade, under administrations that have some of the worst track records on deportation, immigrant parents have been further characterized as “unfit” to care for their children. The Race Forward report, “Shattered Families” documents how common it is for detained parents to lose custody of their children to the foster care system, all due to poorly designed justice systems, and assumptions about how one should parent.
The reproductive and parenting choices of Latinas, and particularly indigenous Latinas, are often attacked as greedy, backwards, or uneducated, their lifestyles considered unhealthy. Here’s what is wrong and unhealthy: the reproduction of nativist, racist beliefs, and stereotypes about the choices that indigenous women and Latinas make about their bodies, pregnancies, and parenting.