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Maria: This is Latino USA, the radio journal of news and cultura. It’s Latino USA. It’s Latino USA. Welcome to Latino USA. I’m Maria Hinojosa. We bring you stories that are underreported, but that matter to you. Overlooked by the rest of the media. And while the country is struggling to deal with these problems. We listen to the stories of Black and Latino students.

A united Latino front. A cultural renaissance. Organizing at the forefront of the movement. I’m Maria Hinojosa. ¡No se vayan!

For many women in the United States, the fall of Roe v. Wade has meant going back to the time when abortion was not legal in this country. Only now, things have definitely changed. Almost two years after the Dobbs decision, there’s an increasing of policing of women and of pregnancies in general. And Brittany Watts knows what that’s like in the flesh.

Brittany Watts: Just makes me angry that somebody would make me seem so callous and so… so hateful. 

Maria: Brittany Watts is a 34-year-old Black woman living in Ohio. This January, a grand jury in Ohio declined to indict her after she was arrested and charged with the quote-unquote abuse of a corpse after she suffered a miscarriage.

This is Brittany speaking about the moment when she went to seek care right after she lost the pregnancy. 

Brittany Watts: The nurse comes in and she’s rubbing my back and talking to me and saying everything’s going to be okay. Little do I know, the nurse that was comforting me and saying that everything was going to be okay was the one who called the police.

Nurse: I had a mother who, um, had a delivery at home and came in without the baby and I need to have someone go find this baby or direct me on what I need to do. 

Phone call: Did she say if the baby was alive or not? 

Nurse: She said she didn’t want to look, she didn’t want the baby, and she didn’t look. 

Maria: The Warren City Police proceeded to then go to Brittany Watt’s home. They took her toilet apart. They retrieved the fetus and used it for forensic evidence. This story is escalofriante, it’s bone-chilling, but perhaps it’s not that surprising. 

Lourdes Rivera: Pregnancy criminalization has been accelerating, and we released a report last September that shows that pregnancy criminalization is happening in most states to various degrees.

Maria: This is Lourdes Rivera, she is president of Pregnancy Justice, a national organization dedicated to defending the rights of people who are pregnant. 

Lourdes Rivera: Between 2006 and the Dobbs decision in 2022, we found close to 1,400 cases of pregnancy criminalization. And we know this is an undercount. The majority of the cases in our data are related to people who are accused of using drugs during pregnancy, which using drugs in and of itself is not a crime.It’s “possession” is the crime, right? But because the person is pregnant, prosecutors have been very creative in interpreting laws to apply to people who are pregnant. But we’re seeing all kinds of fact patterns, including falling down the stairs, taking a prescribed medication from your doctor, getting into a car accident while not wearing a seatbelt.

And then, of course, having a miscarriage or stillbirth and being accused of causing this outcome. When we know there are many biological and health reasons that cause this outcome, but if we can’t guarantee a perfect pregnancy, we are at risk of being surveilled and reported to law enforcement.

Maria: From Futuro Media and PRX, it’s Latino USA, I’m Maria Hinojosa. Today we continue our special election coverage for 2024, “The Latino Factor: How We Vote.” We’re going to be talking about one of the top mobilizing issues for Latino and Latina voters, abortion and reproductive rights.

Since the Supreme Court eliminated the constitutional right to an abortion, voters across the country have overwhelmingly shown up in support of abortion rights. 

Archival tape: “Michigan is now the first state in the nation to guarantee the right to an abortion.” 

“Abortion access is the law of the land in Ohio.” 

“The right to an abortion is now officially part of California’s State Constitution.”

Maria: And Latina and Latino, Latinx, Latine voters are no exception. Currently, Latinas represent the largest group of women of color impacted by state abortion bans, and the community is sensitive to the issue. When researchers asked Latinos and Latinas why abortion policy was important to them, they responded that banning abortions puts women’s lives at risk.

This election, over 36 million people in the Latino community are eligible to vote. That makes Latinos the second largest voting cohort, which accounts for almost 15 percent of all voters, which means they cannot be ignored, as President Biden has admitted.

Joe Biden: We cannot do well in America if the Latino community doesn’t do well.

Maria: Historically, the Democratic Party has had an advantage with Latino voters. 

Archival tape: “Bueno, yo no voté por Bush, voté por Al Gore.”

Interviewer: Senator Obama, do you believe Latino voters will not vote for a black candidate?

Barack Obama: Not in Illinois. They all voted for me. So…” 

Maria: Still, former President Trump has his own edge among Latino voters, specifically, men. So this election, the stakes are high on so many intersecting fronts because study after study shows that when abortion access is taken away from people, it’s women of color who suffer the most. And all over the country, from Colorado to Florida, Latinas are coming up with forms of resistance and are fighting back.

So in this episode, we’re going to talk with Lourdes Rivera, who you heard at the top of the show, and with two other Latinas who are working on the ground. And we’re going to talk about the state of reproductive rights post-Roe, and how those consequences are impacting how we vote. So Lourdes, welcome.

Lourdes Rivera: Buenas tardes. 

And welcome, bienvenida, Stephanie Loraine Piñeiro, Executive Director of the Florida Access Network. It’s the only queer and BIPOC led statewide abortion funding organization in the U. S. in the state of Florida. Stephanie, hi! 

Stephanie Loraine Piñeiro: Hello! 

Maria: And finally, we’re joined by América Ramírez. She’s Program Manager at COLOR, which stands for Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights.

It’s a community rooted organization that makes sure that Latinos and Latinas can lead safe, healthy, and self determined lives. Buenas, America! 

América Ramírez: Buenos días, tardes, depending on where we’re at. 

Maria: So welcome all of you to Latino USA. But before we jump into the conversation, I just want to go around the room as it were, to get a temperature check on all of you, because the three of you are literally on the front lines of the issue of reproductive justice. So, just quickly, what’s your temperature check? Like, how are you feeling? And we’re going to start with you, America. 

América Ramírez: That’s a tough question. I think for a lot of repro workers, we’re just, le tenemos que seguir aquí en la lucha, right?

Like, we’re still trucking along, but, vale la pena. So we’re still doing the best that we can, even in the spaces like Colorado, where we know that there’s at least some sort of protections, we still have a ways to go. 

Maria: Lourdes, what’s your temperature check? 

Lourdes Rivera: You know, this is a really tough time in our movement, but I have to say that when I’m feeling discouraged, I channel my abuela Carmen.

Her family worked on a sugar plantation in Puerto Rico.

She had 14 pregnancies. She gave birth to 10 children and nine of whom grew up into adulthood. So I do this work in her name. I do this work in the name of the Puerto Rican women of my mother’s generation and so many others who were sterilized without informed consent and who were robbed of their bodily autonomy and agency.

And I do this work for the communities like Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, where I grew up, where in the name of “war on drugs,” they were cruelly impacted by policies that prioritize criminalization, over policies that meant to address discrimination. And so, I can’t afford to be discouraged, and I feel inspiration by my ancestors and my community.

Maria: Stephanie, what’s your temperature check? 

Stephanie Loraine Piñeiro: We’re feeling focused and hopeful about what our future looks like because we firmly believe that our future is in our hands and not in the hands of the State or politicians who are more interested in using abortion as an issue of political fodder than protecting the rights for us to live a future with bodily autonomy.

Maria: So it appears that there has been a major shift in Latino and Latina public opinion about the issue of abortion. As recently as the year 2020, studies showed that only 5 percent of Latino voters said that abortion was one of their top issues. But when the fall of Roe v. Wade happened, those numbers significantly changed. Today, abortion is one of the top 10 concerns for Latino and Latina voters. 

Stephanie, you work in the state of Florida, America, you’re in Colorado, both of them with a significant Latino population. Stephanie, let’s start with you in Florida. How have reproductive rights and abortion access changed since the fall of Roe v. Wade?

Stephanie Loraine Piñeiro: The Florida abortion landscape has changed most drastically and significantly than it has in over 25 years. 

Archival tape: “Today a judge ruled women looking to get an abortion must wait 24 hours after an initial doctor’s visit before getting the procedure.” 

“Governor Ron DeSantis signing a bill into law Thursday that bans most abortions after 15 weeks.”

“Florida lawmakers have given final approval to a six-week abortion ban, paving the way for a tighter grip on abortion access in the state.” 

Stephanie Loraine Piñeiro: So, while Florida was viewed as a, quote, “abortion heaven” for many states in the South that had even less access, now people are forced to leave the state and we are now waiting on pins and needles every week to hear what the State Supreme Court of Florida has to say about our right to continue to access abortion care.

Maria: América, you’re in Colorado. It was for a long time considered to be a swing state, but since 2008, it has been pretty much a Democratic and liberal stronghold. And that coupled with last year’s laws, expanding abortion access in Colorado, abortions appear to be politically safe in Colorado. América, you are on the ground, so can you just tell us what that looks like in your state?

América Ramírez: Yeah, so even though there’s a lot of talk that Colorado is very progressive, and although we have very few restrictions on abortion, we knew that Roe v. Wade was not enough for our communities. And when Roe was overturned, we didn’t have a state law that would expressly protect abortion. And so that was when we signed the Reproductive Health Equity Act in 2022, right before the Dobbs decision.

And since then, what we’ve seen is that abortion and abortion care and healthcare has been a top issue for our community. And we’ve seen a huge increase in curiosity and wanting to learn and engage in reproductive justice. But also, we’ve seen a lot of influx of patients coming to Colorado. Although COLOR is not a direct service organization, we work a lot with organizations that have either abortion funds or clinics or providers, and they talk a lot about how there’s a strain right now on their systems to be able to provide services, not just for Coloradans, but for folks that are traveling to Colorado from other states to access services.

Maria: So, we talked about criminalization at the top of the episode in the case of Brittany Watts in Ohio, and I just briefly want to give América and Stephanie the opportunity to jump in here and to give their perspective on this issue. So, América? 

América Ramírez: To go a little bit further about the criminalization, I mean, to also think about folks that are undocumented or young people who are already in those margins. We get a lot of concern of even wanting to routine procedures done or routine care because of things like being criminalized.

We’ve talked to young people who are in high school that don’t want to go to states that don’t protect abortion for college because they don’t know what will happen once they’re there. And that’s not something that I considered when I was thinking about college. And so it’s really concerning for us to know that there’s just so many other things that people are thinking about, having to think about when it comes to this type of criminalization.

Maria: How about you, Stephanie?

Stephanie Loraine Piñeiro: I think a way that we’re seeing this happen in Florida is this past year a law was passed that requires hospitals ask on their admission forms whether a patient is lawfully present in the U. S. And what we’re seeing is now people who are immigrants who may be undocumented are not getting the health care that they need.

We’re seeing increased police presence in front of abortion clinics. We’re seeing an increased presence in surveillance and they are scared. They’re not only scared about what is happening, they’re also confused and rightfully so are worried that what they are doing is wrong and we obviously stand on the fact that getting an abortion, wanting an abortion, needing an abortion, there is absolutely no shame and nothing wrong with getting that.

However, because of the way these laws are being described and how they are being executed, people are worried that what they’re doing is illegal, that getting an abortion is a crime, and that is also stoking fear in people, and that’s by design to discourage people from accessing their bodily autonomy.

Lourdes Rivera: And, this is Lourdes, if I can just add one other point. The overturning of Roe and the rolling back of abortion rights, this is part of a larger agenda to dismantle the gains that have been made by the women’s rights movement, the civil rights, LGBTQ rights, and workers rights movements. 

Archival tape: “This is no simple reform. It really is a revolution.” 

“We want freedom by any means necessary.” 

“For lesbians and gay men have always been in the vanguard of struggles for liberation and justice in this country.” 

“It’s not a Democrat or a Republican thing. It’s a workers thing. The people are the ones that make these corporations go. It’s not the other way around.”

“We’re demanding that the federal government do something to legalize abortion now. That waiting till November is not enough.”

Maria: Coming up on Latino USA, what abortion allies and advocates can learn from the green wave in Latin America. And, will young voters show up to the polls come November? Stay with us. ¡No te vayas

Maria: Hey, we’re back. Before the break, Lourdes Rivera, Stephanie Loraine Piñeiro, and América Ramírez gave us a snapshot of what the two years since the fall of Roe have been like. 

Now we’re going to expand on the new possibilities post-Roe when we take the shame out of abortion. So, let’s get back to the conversation.

Stephanie, you actually call yourself an abortion storyteller. I’m sure that some people are saying, wait, what, what, what? So, what is an abortion storyteller and why is it important in the context of the politics of today? 

Stephanie Loraine Piñeiro: So an abortion storyteller to me, is someone who is reclaiming the narrative about abortion and telling their story on their own terms.

For me, I’ve had two abortions, one of them from a sexual assault and another because of needing it, and both happened as a minor. And both, even today, I would still not be able to access because in Florida, you need parental involvement to access an abortion. If not, you have to go through a judicial intervention called a judicial bypass and get permission from a judge.

So, for me, it’s really important to uplift my abortion story and uplift the fact that my abortion was my decision. And these barriers are very real because they are not just geographic, they’re economic, they are religious, they are social, there are so many different barriers people are needing to face in accessing an abortion.

And it is important that people hear the complexities of life, that for some people getting an abortion is as simple as, “I want an abortion, I’m going to go get one.” And for other folks, they need to atravesar all these barreras to access their bodily autonomy. And we deserve to hear all of those experiences because we are tired of having our stories and our narratives stolen from us and used to push political agendas that are unsupportive about abortion care.

And not just by the opposition, but by our allies too. And that’s what’s most important about abortion storytelling is destigmatizing abortion, destigmatizing our narratives and reclaiming what it means to access bodily autonomy on our own terms. 

Maria: Even though I haven’t, Stephanie, called myself an abortion storyteller, I have talked about the fact that when I was in college, I had two abortions.

And at this point, I… I mean, I don’t have any shame. I’m thankful that I was able to have those abortions. That’s why I talk publicly about it. But I want to ask you, Stephanie, because, on the one hand, storytelling is all about making this public, right? But on the other hand, the central issue around Roe v. Wade, I’m not a legal scholar, but I believe is about the right to privacy. And yet in your case, Stephanie, you had to go before a judge to get this judicial bypass— so public— and that was what allowed you to actually be able to get access to an abortion. So for you, where does privacy enter into the conversation?

Stephanie Loraine Piñeiro: I am also not a legal scholar, but that is where I feel that our abortion rights and legal scholars have more to grow. And, absolutely, we all deserve a right to privacy about the decisions that we make around our health care and around our bodies. But we continue to have these repetitive, circular conversations about privacy and whether who deserves it and who’s more deserving of it, when we need to reframe abortion as an issue of human rights, abortion as an issue of self-determination that we all deserve about our future. Because when we normalize abortion, we are able to have bipartisan conversations. And that is what, when I talk to my abuelita, to my loved ones who may have heard of abortion in the political sense, in the way that it’s been politicized, but when we have conversations one-on-one about, “What would you do? Would you still support me? And do you still love me?” They still love me. My abuelita still loves me. The people who love me in my life still love me. And that is what’s important to continue to lift up. And that’s why we continue to tell our stories and talk to each other. Because it’s not just about telling the public. You don’t have to tell the public. You don’t have to come on a podcast. You don’t have to do those things for your story to be valid. 

Sharing with yourself, sharing with your God, sharing with the people who you love to remind them. Because everyone loves someone who has had an abortion, whether you know it or not.

Maria: For me, when I ended up having to tell my mom and my dad about the abortions, you know, I was so scared. And the reaction from my Mexican parents, my mom was like, “Ay mijita, I would have wanted to be there with you. You should have told me. I would have held your hand.” 

Stephanie Loraine Piñeiro: One last thing I just want to add because you brought up your mom and I just think that’s so beautiful.

When I needed an abortion when I was 16, my mom was not supportive. And that was unfortunate because my mom was my biggest ally in so many other ways. And now, 15 years later, my mom is one of our most active volunteers at my abortion fund. 

Maria: Wow. 

Stephanie Loraine Piñeiro: Driving people to and from their appointments and making them feel affirmed and loved on because a lot of people are going through their abortion by themselves because of that social stigma.

And I want to make sure that I say that because people need to hear that. People can be transformed and love is what transforms us when we tell our abortion stories.

Maria: So, América, about the question of, again, things evolving, what has changed, I think a lot about terminology. When I was growing up, when we got to the term “reproductive rights,” it was a big deal to talk about reproductive rights. The term now that you use to describe your work is the framework of reproductive justice.

So why do you think it’s essential to understand “reproductive justice” in the context of this particular political moment? 

América Ramírez: If we look at reproductive rights, that’s the legal protections that protect the right to reproductive health care services, which is usually focused on abortion and contraception.

Reproductive justice is based on a human rights framework, saying that it doesn’t matter where you are, who you are, what you look like, where you’re from, how much you make, you deserve these rights because you are a person. So the tenets of reproductive justice, as it was coined in June of 1994, are one, to be able to decide when and if you will have a child and the conditions under which you’ll define and expand that family.That includes your fertility, adoption and your birthing options. 

The second is to decide to not have children and access to preventing or ending a pregnancy in a safe and dignified manner. The third tenant of reproductive justice is a human right to care for your family in safe environments and healthy and sustainable communities.

And we’ve also been able to add an intentional wording around a person having the human right to be able to express their gender identity, their expression and their sexual orientation freely. This is really, really important in that reproductive justice comes as a body of work from twelve Black women. It is rooted in Black liberation and ensuring that people have the ability and the accessibility to be able to make the best decisions for themselves.

Lourdes Rivera: And what América described is really the true right to life, and we have to stop giving the abortion opponents a free pass to claim the mantle of life when their focus on fetal rights is causing harm to the health and lives of people who are pregnant and ripping families apart. When, you know, maternal and infant mortality is on the rise in this country. It’s the highest among all industrialized nations and the highest among states, with abortion bans There is an increasing trend of suicide and overdose among pregnant people. 

So, we have to stop giving them a free pass. What América described as reproductive justice, that is right to life and right to health. And that is what we stand for.

Maria: One of the things that has come out of this particular moment in the United States is this interesting turn towards Latin America. And in Latin America, you have this movement. It’s called the Feminist Green Wave, and they’ve had major reproductive justice wins in countries like Mexico and Argentina, by placing continual pressure for decades.

Lourdes, can you talk about what advocates and allies can learn from the Latin American Green Wave, la Ola Verde, and how can it be applied here in the United States? 

Lourdes Rivera: So unlike in the U. S., where we now joined Poland, Nicaragua, and El Salvador in going backwards on abortion rights, countries like Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Chile have made strides, and it’s because of a combination of many different strategies, including a legal strategy, but also organizing on the street, public health, narrative change, all of this coming together to make progress.

And I just want to share the court’s reasoning in the Mexico Supreme Court decision from September 2023, because I think this really captures what the feminists on the ground are helping to make the policy makers and the change makers in the courts understand. So this is the court’s reasoning, quote, 

“The criminalization of abortion constitutes an act of violence and discrimination based on gender as it perpetuates the stereotype that women and pregnant individuals can only exercise their sexuality for procreation and reinforces the gender role that imposes motherhood as a compulsory destiny.”

Archival tape:El día de hoy es un paso más en la lucha histórica por su igualdad, por su dignidad y por el pleno ejercicio de sus derechos.”

Lourdes Rivera: So, the Mexico Supreme Court gets it, too bad ours doesn’t. 

América Ramírez: And I think I’d also like to add that there is a myth that Latinos who might also identify as religious Catholics or cultural Catholics, I think that ends up bleeding into one, which is also not true.

Latinos support abortion. We’ve been having abortion since the beginning of time. This is not something that is only exclusively happening in one area. Access and care is important to all of us. And so we are seeing these countries are part of this movement. It’s because, Latinos support it. 

Maria: All right. So let’s talk politics.

Young voters are making it really clear that they’re quite dissatisfied with president Joe Biden because of his support of Israel’s war on Gaza. And last month, although Biden did win the Michigan primary, there were almost 50,000 votes. for the uncommitted option on the Democratic ballot. And in Virginia, during a speech on reproductive rights, young protesters came out to voice their frustrations.

Archival tape: “How many kids have you killed in Gaza? How many women have you killed in Gaza? Palestine is a feminist issue! Palestine is a feminist issue…”

Maria: América, can you tell us what you’re hearing on the ground in Colorado in terms of young voters? 

América Ramírez: I think young people, honestly, are looking for representation to align with their values. And that’s just difficult to come by either way. We know that there’s a lot of support for abortion within the state. And we have part of our polling to be able to support that.

It’s difficult to say whether or not they’re going to go one way or another in terms of the presidential election. But we do know that it’s still important for us to talk to them about what’s at stake. It’s important for us to acknowledge that young people are taking all of this into consideration when it comes to their voting decisions.

And so it’s really important and vital now more than ever for them to vote along their values. But at the same time, they’re not living these single issue lives, and so it’s just really, really complicated. 

Maria: And Stephanie, how are you and the Florida Access Network engaging specifically with young voters in your state?

Stephanie Loraine Piñeiro: You know, we organize in a few different communities around Florida and we are involved with Amendment 4, putting abortion on the ballot in Florida, and young people are voting with their values. And right now they don’t feel like they are being represented, especially not on the executive level. So the concern is that folks are distracted.

They’re not interested in voting down blue, no matter what, which is, the typical tactic by the Democratic Party. They want to vote for folks who share their values, for folks who are speaking out against the genocide in Palestine, for folks who are wanting to protect abortion access and expand abortion access no matter what.

And unfortunately, they are not seeing those values represented. So what we are seeing is people are voting with their conscience and voting with their values. And we’re curious about what that’s going to look like in Florida, in the ballot box, especially with abortion being on the ballot. 

Maria: Stephanie, can you say a little bit more about what’s happening in Florida right now in terms of abortion being on the ballot?

Stephanie Loraine Piñeiro: So right now we are in a legal battle trying to make sure that abortion is able to get on the ballot. 

Archival tape: “This court has until April 1st to make the ruling and so if this does make the November ballot, it’ll take 60 percent of voters to pass it and put it in the Florida constitution.” 

Stephanie Loraine Piñeiro: With political changes and with changes to the makeup of the State Supreme Court, the super majority Republican legislature has been able to pass anti-abortion laws back to back, with the hope of getting a reinterpretation of this state constitutional protection for abortion rights.

So now with the opportunity to have voters vote directly for putting abortion on the ballot and the protection of abortion. It is an incredible opportunity for Floridians to show that they care about abortion rights and that abortion rights are important to them. And in other states like Ohio, that gives us a lot of hope that we are on the right side of history.

And it is not enough, right? Because what this ballot initiative actually does is it restores abortion rights in Florida to pre-Roe being overturned. It is a 24 week viability ban and still does not undo parental involvement laws like the one that impacted me. So while we think it is an important opportunity for Floridians to be able to vote for the direct right for abortion in Florida, we also know that it is not enough that it is codifying an abortion ban and this is why we encourage states around the country to really consider what does it mean to dismantle anti abortion laws altogether? 

Maria: America, bring us up to date in terms of what’s happening in Colorado with the dueling efforts on abortion there.

América Ramírez: Yeah, so we’re currently in the process of collecting petition signatures for our ballot measure that we are running. So it’s a constitutional amendment.

Archival tape: “This pro-abortion initiative would take protections here in Colorado one step further by adding abortion rights to the state’s constitution. But this anti abortion initiative would identify a human being from the moment of conception, making abortion illegal here in the state.” 

América Ramírez: So, right now, we’re going through the process of making sure that it gets on the ballot, but we know that when abortion is on the ballot, abortion wins. We’ve been seeing this since the Dobbs decision, and so we’re really trying to work towards that same thing, but ensuring that we’re working towards that access, that’s what’s really important for us. This isn’t the end all be all. This is just one part of the puzzle in order to provide some of that access. But that’s currently what we’re working towards this year. 

Maria: So when you say working, it really is a lot of hard work, frankly, decades upon decades of work by women and allies on the issue of reproductive justice.

And a lot of that time, it can be dark sometimes. So, to end, tell us what gives you hope, what brings you joy? We’re going to start with you, America. What is something that brings you joy or hope in 2024? 

América Ramírez: My job is really working within the realm of youth leadership. And so it brings me a lot of joy to work with other young Latinas who are passionate about the issue, equipping them with the same tools, the same mentorship that I was able to come up with and to be able to see really the stars in their eyes of really the hope that they have to be a part of that change or part of that impact. And so I have a lot of hope. 

Maria: Thank you. Lourdes, what brings you some joy or hope these days? 

Lourdes Rivera: I’m really taking the long view. And the overturning of Roe was devastating in many respects and I think we’re seeing the consequences of that. And at the same time, it is also an opportunity to create a different vision for reproductive rights and justice. And what gives me hope also is that we’re able to help people in their darkest hour and that we’re a resource for so many that would otherwise face the criminal legal system alone.

So if folks are facing criminalization because of their pregnancy and they need help, I really hope that they would reach out to us. 

Maria: Take us out, Stephanie. 

Stephanie Loraine Piñeiro: What’s giving me hope is modeling sustainable leadership for my team, because if we can’t continue to live and thrive, there is no movement. There is no work.

We are frontline workers. And what else brings me joy is enjoying the outdoors and enjoying Florida before it drowns. 

Maria: (LAUGHS) 

Stephanie Loraine Piñeiro: There’s so much beauty here. Like there’s springs, there’s beaches, there’s just so much… the sun, um, and trying to nourish myself with the sun and the water while I’m on this Earth and earthly being brings me a lot of joy and a lot of hope, to be able to continue to live and create a utopia for me and for my community. 

Maria: Thank you so much. Muchas gracias, Stephanie, América, Lourdes. Thank you for joining us on this roundtable as we delve into politics and Latino and Latina voters and the issues that matter to us. Muchas gracias. Thank you for joining me on Latino USA.

Lourdes Rivera: Thank you for having us. 

América Ramírez: Thank you. 

Stephanie Loraine Piñeiro: Thank you so much for the convo.

Maria: This episode was produced by Monica Morales-Garcia. It was edited by Victoria Estrada. It was mixed by Stephanie Lebow. The Latino USA team includes Reynaldo Leaños Jr., Andrea López-Cruzado, Glorimar Márquez, Marta Martínez. Mike Sargent, Nour Saudi, and Nancy Trujillo. Peniley Ramírez is our co-executive producer.

Our senior engineer is Julia Caruso. Our marketing manager is Luis Luna. Our theme music was composed by Xenia Rubiños. I’m your host and executive producer, Maria Hinojosa. Remember: join us on our next episode. In the meantime, look for us on your social media. I’ll see you on Instagram and remember, ¡no te vayas, nunca! Chao!

Stephanie Lebow: Funding for Latino USA’s coverage of a culture of health is made possible in part by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Latino USA is made possible in part by the Tow Foundation and W. K. Kellogg Foundation, a partner with communities where children come first.

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