Latinas in Texas: Abortion Should Be Legal

This article was originally posted on Cosmopolitan.

It’s a common stereotype that Latinos are conservative, and while they do tend to be more conservative than the general population, that’s slowly changing, especially when it comes to abortion and reproductive health, according to a new survey from the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health and the non-partisan research firm PerryUndem.

Researchers surveyed 603 Latino registered voters in Texas and found that the majority believe that abortion should be a woman’s choice to make. When asked whether they agreed or disagreed that women should have the right to make their own choices, 70 percent of those surveyed who identified as Republican and 82 percent who identified as Democrat said they agreed.

Latinas were more likely than their male counterparts to agree that abortion should remain legal in any circumstance, but 76 percent of Latinos overall ages 18 to 44 agreed that the right to an abortion should be a woman’s choice.

Moreover, a majority of Latinos surveyed also said they support birth control and abortion being covered by insurance, with 57 percent saying they agree that they should be part of privately- and government-funded health care packages.

However, there was one alarming piece of news: Half of Latinas also said they hadn’t heard about new state-level laws that restrict access to abortion (such as Texas’s H.B. 2), though respondents with college degrees (both men and women) reported being more familiar with them.

But women who live in places like Texas — especially the Rio Grande Valley — are most vulnerable to H.B. 2 and similar policies, with many of them crossing the border to Mexico to get abortion-inducing drugs or turning to other illegal methods.

After being given information about both intended and unintended consequences of specific policies, and being asked whether they thought this trend is a step in the right or wrong direction, the majority of respondents reported they thought these policies were a step in the wrong direction. This survey is consistent with other recent research that suggests Latinos nationwide are changing their views on abortion and birth control, and it highlights the importance of being informed and making your voice heard.

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