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Latina Woman Arrested Trying to Access Reproductive Health Care in Texas

Jessica Mason Pieklo

A clinic outside of Houston reportedly called the Harris County Sheriff's office to arrest a woman suspected of presenting a fake ID to access reproductive health-care services.

A Latina mother was arrested at a Harris County, Texas reproductive health-care clinic for allegedly presenting a false ID to access the clinic’s services.

Blanca Borrego had been waiting for nearly two hours to see a doctor at the Northeast Women’s Healthcare clinic in Atascocita when staff called her into an exam room. Instead of seeing an OB-GYN, Borrego was met by Harris County Sheriff’s deputies, who arrested her for allegedly using a false ID, as reported in the Houston Press.

“Blanca Borrego’s arrest—which took place in the middle of a visit to her doctor—is a tragic reminder of the ways our flawed immigration laws make it difficult for immigrant women and families to live with dignity and health,” Jessica González-Rojas, executive director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH), said in response to the arrest. “When local law enforcement officials take it upon themselves to act as immigration enforcers, especially to such an aggressive extent, it creates an environment of fear and mistrust that can cost lives.”

Borrego has reportedly been charged with one felony count of tampering with a government record, which Borrego’s attorney, Clarissa Guajardo, told the Houston Press stems from the fake Social Security card deputies found in Borrego’s purse after she was arrested.

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“This arrest raises serious questions about patient privacy and human rights of immigrant women in Texas,” Ana Rodriguez DeFrates, Texas Latina Advocacy Network (TX LAN) state policy and advocacy director for NLIRH, said in a statement. “The sad fact is that many immigrant women in Texas, and across the country, already forgo needed healthcare, live with lumps in their breasts and daily pain, because clinics are inaccessible or put them at risk for deportation. This is an ongoing human rights crisis, and Blanca Borrego’s arrest shines a light on the struggles of immigrant women, who are routinely denied driver’s licenses, affordable healthcare, and other basic human and civil rights.”

Borrego had reportedly not previously visited the Northeast Women’s Healthcare Clinic, but had an ongoing doctor-patient relationship with the gynecologist she was scheduled to see.

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