Washington, DC — Hispanics born outside the United States find abortion less acceptable than non-Hispanic whites, a poll released last week finds.
Differences exist within Hispanic groups as well, as native-born Latinos tend to have views similar to those of non-Hispanics and be less pro-life than foreign-born Latinos, according to the poll conducted by the Pew Hispanic Center and the Kaiser Family Foundation.
The results show that while Hispanics share some common beliefs, distinct viewpoints have emerged as new immigrants arrive and older immigrants and first- and second-generation Americans become assimilated into U.S.culture.
Hispanics born or educated in the United States have more exposure to pop culture and less moral views and opinions of social issues that differ from their native countries where the Catholic faith and its adherence to pro-life values is of greater importance, said Pew Hispanic Center director Roberto Suro.
The research also shows that those who speak more English tend to have less conservative views. As a result, recent immigrants who speak mainly Spanish may simply be less able “to absorb American values and beliefs,” Suro said.
The poll of adults surveyed by telephone last spring included 2,929 who identified themselves as Hispanics, along with 1,008 whites and 171 blacks. The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.4 percentage points for Latinos overall, plus or minus 3.3 percentage points for whites and plus or minus 9.9 percentage points for blacks.
Though blacks and whites were polled in some topics, the survey primarily focused on Hispanic viewpoints on racial, economic and social issues.
Approximately 86 percent of foreign-born Hispanics opposed abortion, compared with 71 percent of native-born Hispanics, 72 percent of blacks and 57 percent of whites.
“You can call it `The Melting Pot', you can call it assimilation, call it whatever you want, but what is clear here is there is a process of change going on” in terms of Hispanic attitudes, Suro said.
Rai Rojas, Hispanic Outreach Coordinator for National Right to Life said the poll does “acknowledge the long thought perception that Hispanics are traditionally pro-life.”
Rojas agreed with the poll results indicating Hispanics adopt a more permissive view of abortion the longer the have assimilated into American culture.
“Much of that change can be laid at the feet of Hispanic leadership that kow tows to [pro-abortion] Democrats in order to win favor from that Party,” Rojas explains. “Nonetheless, the majority of all Hispanics is pro-life, but again, that doesn't always translate into [pro-life] voting patterns.”
According to Texas Right to Life, polling in Texas, a state with a large share of Hispanic residents, also found Hispanics supportive of pro-life legislative policies.
Hispanics opposed taxpayer funding abortions by a margin in a February 2001 poll by a 67 to 23 percent margin while white Texans opposed it 70 to 21 and blacks opposed it by a 62 to 31 clip.