Latino Abortion Stereotype Shattered
This puts a twist in the Republican belief that Latinos are conservatives at heart, but vote liberal because of tradition. The anti-abortion, or right to life, stance is a major pillar of the conservative ideological edifice. They claim that Latinos, because of their largely Catholic beliefs, are squarely on their side of this issue.
But a recent poll has tripped-up their rhetoric. The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH) commissioned the poll done by Lake Research Partners and the results were published this week. Some of the key findings, according to the NLIRH summary:
- Latinos support a woman’s right to make decisions - 74% of Latino registered voters agree that a woman has a right to make her own personal, private decisions about abortion without politicians interfering.
- Latinos don’t think we should judge other women’s decisions - 73% of Latino registered voters agree that we should not judge someone who feels they are not ready to be a parent. 57% strongly agrees with this statement.
- Latinos are supportive of close friends and family members choosing abortion - 67% of Latino voters say they would give support to a close friend or family member who had an abortion. 43% say they would provide a lot of support. Only 23% says they would not feel comfortable offering support.
- Latinos don’t think money should determine access to abortion - 61% agree that the amount of money a woman has or does not have should not determine whether she could have an abortion when she needs one.
- Latinos are willing to disagree with church leaders - 68% 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.”
The headlines say that Latinos are more compassionate about abortion in general than previously thought. I don’t think that’s the case. I think Latinos are no more compassionate than people previously thought — my take is that Latinos’ compassion is more inclusive than non-Latinos believe it to be. So much so that they’ll go against church precepts.
But this brings up a larger idea: Latinos are able to separate politics from faith. Latinos may still be anti-abortion, in general, but the NLIRH poll reveals that Latinos believe government shouldn’t impose morality at such a personal level.
Nearly seven in ten Latino voters agreed with the statement, “even though church leaders take a position against abortion, when it comes to the law, I believe it should remain legal.”
This is important as politicians attempt to define their space within the Latino political landscape. But truth be told, given the result of this poll, it all seems superficial – Latinos are not as politically unsophisticated as some observers may think, and definitions matter less than votes.
[Photo By bradleygee]