180029 Between two nations: The dilemma of accessing reproductive health care for women in U.S.-Mexico border communities

Monday, October 27, 2008

Marnie Nixon, MA , Southern Area Health Education Center, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM
Thenral Mangadu, MD, MPH , Southern Area Health Education Center, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM
Nidia B. Flores, BS , Southern Area Health Education Center, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM
The U.S.-Mexico border towns of Columbus, NM and Palomas, Chihuahua are separated by a simple archway that serves as a port of entry between them. Columbus and Palomas share an intimate relationship in terms of economies, geography, culture and health care. The sharing of health care resources, particularly women's reproductive health care, is becoming an increasing point of contention as the national dialogue around immigration and health care collide in the United States. This is especially true for organizations that provide women's reproductive health care in rural New Mexico border towns where unemployment rates nearly quadruple the national average and a large percentage of the population lives at or below the poverty level. Within this cultural context there are many undocumented women not accessing health care services for fear of being deported and the disdainful attitudes of some health care providers. Due to this, the challenges facing local women in both Columbus and Palomas in navigating the health care system are mounting. Some undocumented women forgo prenatal care until late in pregnancy, if they receive it at all. Ramifications from late or no prenatal care are contributing to an increase in the number and severity of poor birth outcomes as well as depleting local safety-net resources. This presentation will discuss the effect of national policies, particularly immigration, on undocumented women's reproductive health and birth options in a bi-national setting.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the reproductive health options, including prenatal care and delivery, within the socio-cultural context of rural and frontier communities in the U.S. - Mexico border region. 2. Identify the ways that undocumented women navigate the health care system for reproductive health care within a bi-national context. 3. Articulate the true-to-life effects of immigration policy on bi-national reproductive health care in Columbus, NM and Palomas, Chihuahua.

Keywords: Birth Outcomes, Access to Health Care

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have no conflict of interest under the APHA Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.