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Majority of U.S. Latinos Agree With Every Woman’s Right To Choose Over Their Own Body

Latinos and abortion BELatina Latinx
Image courtesy of Center for Reproductive Rights.

For those of us who grew up singing “Ana tiene quince” and “Se quiere, Se mata,” abortion is an openly talked about issue. Many of us Latinos saw our mothers’ dreams fade as they accepted an early mothering role — even though they continue to insist that we are “the best thing that could have happened to them.”

And lucky us. Many women don’t live to tell the story of the results of their decisions. 

Latin America is one of the regions with the highest rate of domestic and gender-based violence, where many women feel forced to stay with abusive partners in an attempt to give their children a “family” home.

And those who decide to terminate their pregnancies early rarely have access to legal and/or safe procedures.

According to figures from the Guttmacher Institute, 95 percent of abortions performed in the region are often unsafe, even despite the great legislative advances made in countries such as Argentina.

It is not surprising, then, that the perspectives of our generations have changed radically from those of our parents. After all, we have decided in good time to break with generational curses.

The numbers speak for themselves

According to a new report from the Pew Research Center, 60 percent of Latinos in the United States believe induced abortion should remain legal, and only 11 percent of them think it should be illegal in all cases.

Among Latinos who approve of the legality of abortion, 42 percent believe that its legality should have some limitations, and 17 percent believe that abortion should be legal in all cases, with no exceptions.

Image courtesy of Pew Research Center.

Similar nuances occur among Latinos who oppose the legality of abortion: 29 percent believe there should be some exceptions, such as in cases of rape or incest.

The views of Latinos collected by Pew are very close to those of the general population, with 61 percent of respondents favoring the legality of abortion and 37 percent opposing it.

Although the positions on abortion appear extreme in the public debate, the Pew report shows that there are nuanced views on abortion termination across the board, even within religious groups.

So, where does legislation fit in?

Abortion in the United States is another issue that shows how failed representative democracy speaks to political gamesmanship rather than public opinion.

One need only realize how Justice Samuel Alito’s draft that was leaked last week demonstrates a perspective of a person who has no uterus and has never had to consider the impact of an unwanted pregnancy on their own body.

The Pew Center found little difference between men and women on whether abortion should be legal in all cases, with no exceptions, a notion supported by 21% of women and 17% of men.

Those who advocate for abortion’s legality argue that a decision overturning it will hurt most minority and low-income women who deal with a more significant economic burden and have fewer resources to pay for contraceptives.

Meanwhile, the issue continues to be debated in male-majority political courtrooms.

“By far the most common sentiment expressed was that the decision to have an abortion should be solely a personal decision, or a decision made jointly with a woman and her health care provider, with some saying simply that it ‘should be between a woman and her

Doctor,’ the Pew Researchers conclude. “Others made a more general point, such as one woman who said, ‘A woman’s body and health should not be subject to legislation.'”