Los Angeles, USA

Precarious Motherhood: The impact of intersectional precarities on maternal healthcare access and motherhood in Los Angeles, USA

This project aims to bring attention to the ways in which Central American asylum-seeking women in Los Angeles navigate maternal health and motherhood while simultaneously living with intersectional precarities. Through data collected during long-term ethnographic fieldwork, I discuss the intersection of various modes of precarity such as language, income, legal (in)visibility, (im)mobility and structural racism. I argue that these modes of precarity, which create barriers to care and wellbeing, also hinder asylum-seeking women’s capacity to access and utilize various maternal healthcare systems and to parent their children in the ways they desire to. Through the framework of intersectional precarity I discuss how the US asylum system, California law and Los Angeles local public health systems create and maintain levels of precarity in marginalized women’s lives that hinder their capacity to have reproductive justice.