· We’re supportive of friends and family: However we feel about abortion, a recent poll shows that we are willing to support our close friends and family members who may choose to have one. Family comes before ideology, and whether that means providing a shoulder to lean on or driving my best friend to a health center, we’re willing to be there for each other.
· We’re willing to disagree with church leaders about abortion: It’s true—we are not sheep. While Latinos attend church at about the same frequency as the rest of the population, and strongly identify as Catholic , seven in ten of us make a distinction between the position the church takes and the law, agreeing that abortion should remain legal.
· We’re fair-minded when it comes to abortion: We understand—and many of us live with—economic and health disparities. At least a third of Latinos are without health insurance; and one in four of us live in poverty. So it isn’t surprising that a majority of Latino voters believe that the amount of money a woman has, or doesn’t have, shouldn’t determine whether she can have a legal abortion when she needs one.
· Abortion is a reality in Latino lives: We talk about it with our loved ones, we access abortion care when we need it, and we strongly support a woman’s right to a legal abortion: Three quarters of Latino voters agree that a woman has a right to make this decision without political interference
We’ve just come out of one of the harshest years of attacks on reproductive health, with states enacting a record number of restrictions to abortion and family planning. As we head into an important election year, it’s time that we all open our eyes to the reality of Latino lives when it comes to reproductive health. Instead of a coarse, stigmatizing and divisive debate, Latinos are embracing compassion and empathy. We hope our elected leaders will join us.
Echaveste is co-founder and partner of the government-relations firm NVG, attorney, and former Deputy Chief of Staff for President Clinton.