THE premier news source for U.S. Latinos, Univision, had a fascinating story on its blog about how overwhelmingly even religious Latinos are pro-choice. Read on:
The results of this bilingual survey, conducted by Democratic polling firm Lake Research Partners in association with the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health and the Reproductive Health Technologies Project, show that 74% of Latino registered voters either agree or strongly agree that a woman has a right to make her own personal, private decisions about abortion without politicians interfering. Fewer than one in five (18%) disagree with that statement.
Despite the unrelenting political rhetoric demonizing the issue of abortion rights, Hispanic voters rely on their own personal experiences to make up their minds.
Other key findings:
• Nearly seven in ten Latino voters (68 percent) agree with the statement “even though church leaders take a position against abortion, when it comes to the law, I believe it should remain legal.”
• A majority of Latino voters (61 percent) agree that money should not determine whether a woman can obtain an abortion when she needs one.
• Two-thirds of Latino voters (67 percent) say they would support a close friend or family member who had an abortion.
• Nearly three in four Latino registered voters (73 percent) agree that we should not judge someone who feels s/he is not ready to be a parent.
This does not surprise me. It is important to note that in many Latin American countries, abortion is illegal even if the woman’s life is in danger. (See Colombia and El Salvador.) Also, many of the governments are corrupt — with the Catholic Church’s involvement — and there is a lot of machismo in the culture. For a woman to be able to work somewhere free of sexual harassment and be able to decide for herself when to become a mother is a radical idea and a freedom many Latinas enjoy when they come to the United States.
When I think about this oppression south of our borders, I can’t help but think that many U.S. women take these rights for granted. At least women in my generation who did not grow up somewhere, in which abortion was illegal and access to any form of birth control next to impossible.
Of course, in a poll, Latinos are going to say that they rather have families make reproductive decisions and not the government or the church!