‘American Diagnosis’: Indigenous Advocates Work for Better Reproductive Care

A digital illustration in pencil and watercolor. In the center of the image, there are two hands holding each other in a comforting position. There is a uterus overlayed on top of the hands; it is semi-transparent and painted in pink, orange, and gold colors. The background is a deep teal with a golden circle with radiating lines surrounding the hands and uterus.


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Episode 7: Fighting for Reproductive Sovereignty

Rachael Lorenzo works to address reproductive health disparities in Native communities. In 2018, they founded Indigenous Women Rising, a fund that provides financial help for Native people seeking an abortion.

Historically, the federal government has restricted Native people’s reproductive autonomy. Between 1973 and 1976, more than 3,500 Native people were sterilized without their consent.

Today, the chronic underfunding of the Indian Health Service and the remoteness of many reservations create barriers for Native people to access testing for sexually transmitted infections, prenatal care, and contraception.

Lorenzo is determined to fight for their community.

“My people deserve accessible health care, and I will make it happen no matter what, because this is our land,” they said.

Episode 7 explores efforts to protect and expand access to comprehensive reproductive and sexual health care in the face of historical and contemporary efforts of the government to control Native people’s fertility.

Voices from the episode:

Season 4 of “American Diagnosis” is a co-production of KHN and Just Human Productions.

Our Editorial Advisory Board includes Jourdan Bennett-BegayeAlastair Bitsóí, and Bryan Pollard.

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