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Today's guest post is by Jessica González-Rojas, Executive Director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health and was originally published on December 6, 2012 at Fox News Latino.

How does the looming “fiscal cliff,” which threatens to raise taxes on just about everyone and reduce essential services, impact Latinas? Given that Latinas have barely been mentioned in the media firestorm about the looming budget crisis, it’s not surprising many of us aren’t thinking of this as one of our issues. But the stakes for Latinas and their families are disproportionately enormous.

Many Latinas already face a “fiscal cliff,” living month to month with no safety net. This includes families across the income spectrum, from poor to middle class families, who are just one mishap away from financial collapse, whether it be a job layoff or a sick child or the mundane roadblocks like a pricey car repair that means some months the ends just don’t meet. In fact, studies show that Latino families that self-define as middle class in reality have fewer financial resources than white families who consider themselves middle class. It is families like these, those at most risk of economic collapse, that will be most impacted by a “fiscal cliff” that raises taxes and eliminates essential services.

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Today's post is a guest blog post by Vanessa Gonzalez-Plumhoff, Director of Latino Leadership and Engagement at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. You can email her at Vanessa.Gonzalez@ppfa.org.

It is no surprise that working long hours to provide for our families leaves many of us without the time to make our health care a priority.  Between work, taking care of our families, and paying bills, it’s not only hard finding the time to head to a doctor’s office and sit for hours in a waiting room, but for many, it’s hard to imagine losing pay with the additional stress of the costs of daycare, transportation, and paying for a visit — especially without health insurance.  This is where Planned Parenthood can help. 

Planned Parenthood’s doors are open for all those times when a member of our family, or friend, offers a loving “¿como te sientes?”  Services include a range of preventive services, such as screenings for cancer, testing and treatment of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), birth control, and basic women’s health care, as well as medically accurate sex education to millions of people each year.  Many health centers also provide affordable services on a sliding scale.

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