Gabriella Larios

  • Hosted by New York Civil Liberties Union
  • Sponsored by Anonymous
  • Service location New York, New York
  • Law school New York University School of Law
  • Issue area LGBTQ+ Rights, Reproductive Rights
  • Fellowship class year 2020
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Gabriella engaged in advocacy, public education, outreach, and litigation to challenge the use of religion to discriminate against individuals seeking reproductive health care and LGBTQIA+ New Yorkers.

Increasingly, religion has been weaponized to discriminate against people seeking reproductive health care and LGBTQIA+ individuals. A growing number of religious and secular hospital mergers has resulted in more and more health care being subject to religious directives that prohibit certain types of care, ranging from miscarriage management to treatment of ectopic pregnancies, gender-affirming care, and end-of-life care. Gabriella’s project sought to develop solutions to intercede in hospital mergers to preserve access to care; educate people to make informed decisions about their health care; challenge the use of religion to discriminate against patients seeking reproductive care, as well as LGBTQIA+ people; and, ultimately, lay the groundwork to eliminate health care deserts in New York State.

As a queer woman of color who grew up religious, Gabriella knows and understands firsthand how religion can be weaponized to harm others and how law and policy can deeply shape one’s sense of self. Gabriella’s experience working on a range of civil liberties issues, including reproductive justice and LGBTQIA+ rights, as an intern, research assistant, volunteer, and advocate made her the right person for this project.

Fellowship Highlights

During the two-year Fellowship, Gabriella:
  • Co-authored and filed five amicus briefs challenging the use of religion to discriminate in New York State courts, the Western District of New York, and the Second Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Supported on-the-ground efforts to preserve comprehensive access to care in a proposed merger between a secular community hospital and religious health care system in Schenectady, NY, and collaborated with a community coalition to help educate the public and elevate the impact of religious directives on reproductive health care and LGBTQIA+-inclusive care
  • Engaged in legislative advocacy supporting hospital transparency legislation, which aims to provide New Yorkers with the tools to determine whether their local hospital provides the care they need prior to admission and to identify communities where particular services are completely unavailable
  • Filed a New York State Division of Human Rights complaint on behalf of a Latinx mother who was non-consensually drug tested while giving birth at a private hospital
  • Worked on the Princess Janae Place v. New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance and Makyyla Holland v. Broome County litigation teams to challenge the discriminatory treatment of transgender and nonbinary people by government actors
  • Worked on the Princess Janae Place v. NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance litigation team, a case suing the state benefits agency for discriminating based on gender identity against nonbinary New York residents seeking public assistance
  • Engaged in research and strategic thinking on how to challenge discrimination in hospital settings, specifically relating to sex and pregnancy discrimination
  • Conducted research to support legislative efforts to ensure religion is not used to discriminate

Next Steps

Gabriella will continue working at the New York Civil Liberties Union, becoming a staff attorney. She will primarily focus on the use of religion to discriminate, reproductive rights and justice, and LGBTQIA+ rights.


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No person should be denied health care because of a provider’s religious beliefs. I am grateful for the opportunity to combine my lived experiences and passion for reproductive, social, and economic justice to protect people seeking reproductive health care and LGBTQ New Yorkers from discrimination.

Gabriella Larios /
2020 Equal Justice Works Fellow

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