Today we remember Rosie to #ReclaimRoe.

On October 3, 1977 Rosuara “Rosie” Jiménez became the first known victim to be killed by the Hyde Amendment. “We remember her because she has become a symbol—a human face—of all women and girls everywhere who are denied their human right to safe, legal, funded, and accessible abortion care.” (Bloom)  

Rosie was a single Latina mother and the daughter of migrant farmworkers living in Texas. She was months away from receiving her teaching credential when she became pregnant for the second time. She wanted to do whatever she could to ensure her five-year-old daughter had the best life possible. Knowing she could not afford to raise another child and give them both the life they deserved, Rosie realized she needed to have an abortion. Due to the Hyde Amendment, her insurance would not cover the price of a legal abortion, leading her to seek out an unsafe provider. This ultimately cost Rosie her life.  

Since 1976, the Hyde Amendment and subsequent policies have banned Medicaid and any other form of federally funded health insurance from covering abortions, with narrow exceptions added later for rape, incest, or life endangerment. Nearly 60 million individuals currently rely on Medicaid funding, the majority of whom are poor women of color. During the floor debate, the amendment’s creator, Republican Congressman Henry Hyde, boasted, “I would certainly like to prevent, if I could legally, anybody having an abortion, a rich woman, a middle class women, or a poor woman. Unfortunately, the only vehicle available is the… Medicaid bill.” (Fried) The fact that this bill targets some of the most marginalized individuals in our society, such as Rosie, is not a coincidence, in the same way it’s not a coincidence that her story is largely unknown. Given the fact that the Hyde Amendment is not a permanent law but rather a budgetary rider, Congress has the opportunity to reject it every year – but they do not. (Mason Pieklo) Each time they do this they further perpetuate and continue a centuries-long oppression through the reproductive control and exploitation of women of color and poor women that is firmly rooted in dehumanizing white supremacist and colonialist mentalities. For those who depended on Medicaid, the Hyde Amendment essentially overturned Roe v. Wade.  

The Hyde Amendment went into effect just two months before Rosie attempted to obtain a legal abortion. Medicaid would not reimburse the service and her doctor turned her away. At the time of her death Rosie had a $700 scholarship check in her purse. However, according to the National Network of Abortion Funds, “she [wanted] to complete her education instead of using her scholarship money to pay for an abortion out of pocket [so] she crossed the border into Mexico and obtained a cheaper, illegal, and unsafe abortion there. Within hours Rosie was bleeding, cramping, and running a fever. She spent the last seven days of her life in the hospital, slowly dying of septic shock.”   

Today, almost forty years after her tragic and avoidable death, the Hyde Amendment is still in place. People are still routinely denied their fundamental human right to an abortion, and so people are still dying.  

We honor Rosie’s life by sharing her story and resisting the violence of erasure. When we come together today as reproductive health, rights, and justice advocates by declaring our commitment to ending reproductive oppression we honor Rosie. Today and everyday we strive for a world where individuals are not denied their legal rights, but can exercise them freely, safely, and successfully. We honor Rose by continuing to fight tirelessly for reproductive justice for all.

– Rachael Strickler, CLPP Conference Co-Coordinator

References:

Bianca I. Laureano, “The Hyde Amendment Killed Rosie Jimenez… Because of Roe and Rosie, I Exist,” RH Reality Check (January 22, 2010), http://rhrealitycheck.org/article/2010/01/22/the-hyde-amendment-killed-rosie-jimenez-because-roe-and-rosie-i-exist/.

Jessica Mason Pieklo, “The Hyde Amendment and Beyond: The Conservative Attack on Reproductive Health Care That Just Won’t Quit,” RH Reality Check (September 30, 2015), http://rhrealitycheck.org/article/2015/09/30/hyde-amendment-beyond-conservative-attack-reproductive-health-care-just-wont-quit/.

Marcy Bloom, “Remembering Rosie: We Will Not Forget You,” RH Reality Check (October 3, 2007), http://rhrealitycheck.org/article/2007/10/03/remembering-rosie-we-will-not-forget-you/.

Marlene Gerber Fried, “The Hyde Amendment: 30 Years of Violating Women’s Rights,” Center for American Progress (October 6, 2006), https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/women/news/2006/10/06/2243/the-hyde-amendment-30-years-of-violating-womens-rights/.

National Network of Abortion Funds (NNAF), “Remembering Rosie Jiménez, honoring her life through our work,” http://fundabortionnow.org/RosieJimenez.

Add new comment

(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.
(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.