A little more about Abortion…

18 Jan

We are quickly approaching the next major election, the presidential one, and the topic of abortion will undoubtedly begin to buzz everywhere. Hey, its a hot topic! How come? Well, the right to abortion is a struggle mostly because women’s bodies and the children they potentially birth are understood as property or potential voters, workers, even blessings and everyone has an opinion. In fact, Colorlines reporter Jorge Rivas outlined a recent poll conducted by National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health and the Reproductive Health Technologies Project, which found:

  • 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 survey that was conducted by the Lake Research Partners can be found at latinainstitute.org, along with the poll methodology.

I’m glad to see some of the poll that represents the varied and complicated relationship the Latin@ community has to abortion.  My mother has constantly expressed her disapproval of abortion but her opinion, while it fits the stereotype of the conservative Latina, doesn’t represent my opinion nor that of many other Latin@s, including my grandmother.  The issue has a long history that remains important and complicated.

The right to abortion is part and parcel with the tenets of American Democracy: freedom. That’s right. Every person in this country is guaranteed, by the constitution, their right to be free as long as they follow the rules,of course.  As a result, it makes no sense that at some point in the history of this liberal country we, women, were denied the right to choose whether we wanted to have children or not. Especially since we are the people responsible, in many ways because of our training as women, to take care of children. Many of us know the amount of work and responsibility required to take care of children. This is not an issue of time or responsibility only. It is also about sexual health and sexuality. Considering the alarming number of rapes, sexual assaults, and STIs; having access to abortion services is more than an issue of personal choice.

[ side note: this “we” equals “women” claim is difficult to make since women and their “right” (ability) to choose abortion is significantly different depending on class, race, and sexuality. Women are not one homogeneous collective. The  experiences/social standings  make the “choice” easier for some more than others. Money is possibly the obvious obstacle but cultural, spiritual, and personal beliefs also determine how any one person feels/chooses  abortion. For the sake of painting a broad strokes picture I use it here.]

The right to have an abortion should be a choice for everyone to consider when pregnant no matter the circumstances. Before Roe vs. Wade abortions where not only illegal, but also dangerous because medical professionals where barred from providing this service to women.

In the present moment the “A” word remains a hot topic during elections.*sigh* I wonder what is the fascination with controlling women’s reproduction?  It doesn’t seem like this should be a relevant topic if there wasn’t constant attacks to overturn the Roe vs. Wade decision. I wonder how the economic situation, globally, will affect access to abortion and health services in general and if this will be a part of the discussion?

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One Response to “A little more about Abortion…”

  1. Adem January 18, 2012 at 5:51 PM #

    I just want to offer two thoughts on this real quick. I admit that this is such a complex topic that I prefer not to take a side in the matter, so I guess you can take what I’m about to say with a grain of salt. Anyway, it occurred to me as I read this that the male sex seems rather presumptuous to even produce legislature governing female bodies. For all our hallowed traditions of “democracy” (and I don’t like when people use that word), we seem to have muddled our way into being fascist about this topic. I don’t see why it shouldn’t be legal and just practiced by those who want it anyway, but if someone feels compelled to make laws here, shouldn’t we just hold a nationwide referendum on the topic and restrict voting qualification to anyone with a uterus?
    And, partially in answer to your question about controlling women’s bodies, and partially in answer to mine: “conservatives” love to drag out this kind of bullshit issue to galvanize their constituency. Within the past few decades, I think, you can see an ever more stringent social values program being pushed, and it’s almost always by economic “conservatives” for some reason. Oh. Maybe it’s just because they are so often pushing for economic policy that doesn’t even help their own constituency…

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