Latinas Cross the Border for Birth Control

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We've heard of people crossing state lines in search of legal, affordable reproductive health services (birth control, abortion, etc.), but now women are crossing the Mexican border. According to a study published in the June 2010 American Journal of Public Health, more Latinas are making their way to Mexico where they have easier access to affordable birth control. Another trend is bringing birth control over to the U.S. in bulk and then selling it on the black market.

Access to contraception is an issue for many, and is especially a problem for women who are uninsured or undocumented. Costs for an IUD or vaginal ring are out of reach for some, but even oral contraception can add up if you don't have health insurance. The cost of an unwanted pregnancy, of course, is even higher no matter the outcome, leaving some feeling like they have no other choice.

Taking advantage of the fact that oral contraception in Mexico is available over the counter and without a prescription, some are bringing it back to the U.S. The danger is that there isn't one definitive type of birth control that works for every women. Each method comes with its own side effects and because every woman's health is different, the risks vary. 

Given the continued limits on reproductive health in the U.S., it's likely this will become an even bigger issue in the future. Some states, including border state Arizona, are introducing 20-week abortion bans that would deem you pregnant before you even have the sex that makes you pregnant. If this opens up the door for making contraception a method of abortion, who knows what's next.

It's clear that Latinas want and need better access to birth control and these women in particular are willing to do anything to get it. If they don't, it may cost them their lives.

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