Strong Majority of Latino/as hold compassionate views on abortion

Strong Majority of Latino/as hold compassionate views on abortion

Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Press Release

A new survey conducted by Lake Research Partners found that strong majorities of Latino voters opposed politicians interfering in personal, private decisions about abortion, affirmed that they would offer support to a close friend or family member who had an abortion, and are willing to disagree with church leaders on abortion.

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 groundbreaking poll, conducted on behalf of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health and the Reproductive Health Technologies Project, sheds new light on Latino/a attitudes by going beyond legality to gauge feelings related to judgment and support around abortion and a woman’s decision to end a pregnancy.

“This is a watershed moment for the Latina/o community as it provides, for the first time, hard data which defies long held stereotypes about Latina/os and reproductive health," said Jessica González-Rojas, Executive Director of NLIRH. "This poll underscores the important role of Latino/a's in the national debate about access to reproductive health care."

Latino/a voters might reject judgmental attitudes toward abortion or a woman who has an abortion, with nearly three in four Latino/a registered voters agreeing that we should not judge someone who feels they are not ready to be a parent.

"Too often stigmatizing and judgmental language has dominated the public discourse about abortion, and this poll demonstrates that the most politically engaged Latino/a's are seeking a more empathetic approach," said Liza Fuentes, Fellow at City University of New York Institute for Demographic Research and RHTP Board member.

The research shows that there are widespread misconceptions about Latino/a attitudes and reproductive choice.

“This really opens up a new way to engage Latinos on reproductive health issues,” said Celinda Lake, president of Lake Research Partners. “We should abandon outdated stereotypes about Latinos and abortion, and embrace a more compassionate, less judgmental approach that puts abortion in the context of our close friends and family members.”

Key findings from the poll include:

  • A strong majority of Latino registered voters – 74 percent – agree that a woman has a right to make her own personal, private decisions about abortion without politicians interfering. More than half (57 percent) strongly agrees with the statement. Fewer than one in five Latino voters disagree (18 percent).
  • Nearly three in four Latino registered voters (73 percent) agree that we should not judge someone who feels they are not ready to be a parent. More than half (57 percent) strongly agrees with this statement.
  • Two-thirds of Latino voters (67 percent) say they would give support to a close friend or family member who had an abortion. More than four in ten (43 percent) say they would provide a lot of support. A minority (23 percent) says they would not feel comfortable offering support.
  • Most Latino voters seem willing to disagree with church leaders on the legality of abortion. Nearly seven in ten (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.”
  • Finally, a majority of Latino voters agree that money should not determine access to abortion. Sixty-one percent 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.

The poll memo can be found at latinainstitute.org/latinopoll as well as poll methodology.

New Lake Research poll finds majority of Latino/as willing to deviate from opinions by their church leaders on the legality of abortion
Beth Newcomer, beth@caminopr.com 212-255-2575