CDC Removes Discriminatory HPV Vaccination Requirement for Immigrant Women and Girls

New

York — National Asian Pacific

American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF), the National Latina Institute

for Reproductive Health (NLIRH), and California Latinas for

Reproductive Justice (CLRJ) commend the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

for taking the critical final step in removing a mandatory vaccination

requirement for immigrant women and girls to receive the HPV vaccine. Today,

the CDC published a rule that finalizes a set of criteria for evaluating

whether vaccinations recommended by the CDC’s Advisory Committee for

Immunization Practices should become automatic requirements for

immigrants.  Starting December 14, 2009, the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine

will no longer be a required vaccination for immigrant women and girls.

NAPAWF,

NLIRH and CLRJ opposed the mandatory vaccination requirement when it took

effect in July 2008, and worked together with national, state and local

partners in the reproductive justice, women’s health, immigrant rights, medical

and public health movements to remove the mandate. Organizations from around

the country sent letters to the CDC opposing the rule and submitted comments in

support of the proposed criteria. This was an important victory for the

reproductive justice movement and showcased the power of cross-movement

building strategies to secure reproductive justice and bodily autonomy for the

most vulnerable women and girls.

“Today

shows what can happen when the reproductive justice, women’s health, immigrant

rights, and public health movements work together,” said Miriam Yeung,

Executive Director of NAPAWF.  “NAPAWF is committed to leading policy

change that addresses the intersections between immigration status, class,

women’s rights, and access to health care. We thank our allies who served with

us on the national working group that orchestrated this collective victory.”

“More

than half of the immigrants who come to the U.S. seeking opportunity are

women,” said Silvia Henriquez, Executive Director of NLIRH. “We thank the CDC

for restoring their dignity and reproductive justice.”

Rocio

Córdoba, Executive Director of CLRJ, said, “We commend the CDC for recognizing

that all women and girls—regardless of their immigration status—must be treated

with dignity in the context of any medical procedure, including the HPV

vaccine.  As reproductive justice advocates, we strive to ensure that

women and communities have valuable information, coupled with the resources and

power to make well-informed and uncoerced decisions about their

bodies.”      

“Our

campaign partners at the state level were a crucial in this victory,” added

Gabriela Valle, CLRJ’s Senior Director of Community Education and

Mobilization.  “In a climate of increasing hostility towards immigrants

and where seemingly few allies take a stand for the rights of the most

vulnerable, nearly 100 California

organizations and individual supporters stood steadfast in opposing this

oppressive mandate on women and girls.  Because of the support of Black

Women for Wellness, the Coalition for Humane Immigration Rights of Los Angeles

and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, our message to the

CDC was heard loud and clear.”

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