The Truth About Latinas and Abortion

23 Jun

What does the Latino community actually think about abortion? Do we think that Latina wombs really are the most dangerous place for our children? Of course not. And thanks to a recent report from California Latinas for Reproductive Justice, we have the data to prove it.

Let’s step back for a second. Who are the majority of women having abortions? According to the Guttmacher Institute, the typical abortion patient is in her 20s, low-income, has a relatively equal chance of being white, African-American, or Latina, has at least one child, and identifies as some kind of Christian. Not exactly what anti-choice stereotypes would have you believe.

The California Latinas for Reproductive Justice report doesn’t focus only on abortion, but the facts about Latina/o attitudes towards abortion are particularly illuminating in light of the racist LA billboards. Specifically:

  • The majority of correspondents “strongly agreed” that women need medically accurate information about pregnancy termination, but the information should not be coercive, shaming nor should try to change her mind.
  • Over 8 in 10 participants “strongly agreed” that every woman should have a right to decide for herself the number and spacing of her children.
  • Roughly 52% of respondents stated that they personally knew someone who’d had an abortion.
  • Respondents considered pregnancy termination and emergency contraception as less widely available services that they needed in their communities.
  • Respondents identified health and family as the most important values when thinking about terminating a pregnancy
  • Respondents identified a person’s financial situation and not wanting a child as factors having the most influence on a woman’s decision to terminate a pregnancy. The survey found that religion plays a less prominent role in these decisions.

These facts are just the tip of the ice burg, and already they expose just how full of shit the racist billboards are. The Latino community believes that abortion is health care and as such, should be available and affordable in their communities. Latinas overwhelmingly believe that women have the right to have an abortion, whether the reason be for their health, familiy, or financial situation. The racist billboards imply that Latinas are somehow traitors to their own people if they have abortions. This data reveals just the opposite–in fact, not only do a majority of Latinos support abortion, but chances are they know someone who’s had the procedure!

Read the report. It brilliantly details the intersections of health, race, class, and the reality of reproductive health care access in Latino/a communities. You can also read the executive summary or this article from the Center for American Progress.

One Response to “The Truth About Latinas and Abortion”

  1. freewomyn June 24, 2011 at 2:07 pm #

    Thanks for this, Steph. Those stats are really helpful.

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