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Survey finds Hispanics to be very pro-life and unwilling to vote for pro-abortion candidates

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You’ll never go right, counting on abortion polls from Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI). Pro-life sentiment is habitually underestimated.

That important caveat understood, there were some fascinating insights from a story written for the Catholic News Service.

Mark Pattison dealt with a PRRI study that compared the results of a survey on abortion released August 13, 2019, with results from 2014.

Here’s Pattison’s lead: “While a survey of more than 54,000 Americans showed little change in their attitudes between 2014 and 2018 on the legality of abortion, researchers detected movement in many demographic groups, Catholics included.” {Spoiler alert: Hispanics.}

Specifically, “54% of Americans believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases, while 40% believe it should be illegal in most or all cases,” as compared with “55% of Americans [who] said abortion should be legal in all or most cases, and 41% said it should be illegal in most or all cases” in 2014. In a word, virtually no change, according to PRRI.

We’ll skip talking about what NRL News Today readers already know. If, as does Gallup, you ask more fine-grained questions, you immediately learn (as we reported in June) that a total of 60% want abortion legal “only in a few circumstances” (39%) or “illegal in all circumstances” (21%)—a big, big jump of 7 points from 2018!

But the PPRI survey contains a powerful reminder (as Rai Rojas, NRLC’s director of Latino Outreach constantly reminds us), that the Latino community is culturally very, very pro-life.

And as important and encouraging as the immediate results are, it’s the trend line that grabs your eye.

The thrust of the story is to contrast the abortion position of white and other nonwhite Catholics, which (the story maintains) is essentially no different than that held by other Americans, with the position held by Hispanics.

According to Natalie Jackson, director of research for the Public Religion Research Institute,

“when you look at Hispanic Catholics, you’re looking at a different picture,” she told CNS. “We pull out the Hispanic and Latino population, because they’re a distinct group. They’re divided heavily by religion and by place of birth. A healthy minority of Hispanics are evangelical, and the PRRI study looked at the attitudes of Hispanics born in the United States, Puerto Rico and Latin America separately. …

Other nonwhite Catholics support abortion’s legality by a 55% to 37% margin, approximating the views of their white co-religionists. But a majority of Hispanics, 52%, believe abortion should be illegal in most or all instances, while 41% hold the opposite view. *

In addition, Hispanics are becoming more pro-life, according to Pattison’s account of the survey:

“White evangelical Protestants and Hispanic Catholics also report becoming more opposed than supportive” of abortion over time, the study said.

Sixteen percent of Hispanic Catholics said they’ve become less supportive of abortion over time, while 11% said they’d become more supportive.

Not mentioned in the story but found in the survey is that Hispanics who are “religiously affiliated” are more pro-life, with Hispanic Protestants more pro-life still, and Evangelical Protestant Hispanics the most pro-life of all.

Buried at the end of the story are the political implications:

Survey respondents were also asked whether they would vote only for candidates who share their views on abortion. Among those for whom it made a difference, the percentages favored Catholic demographic groups who believe more or all abortions should be illegal.

For white Catholics, the split was 27%-15%. For Hispanic Catholics, the difference was 30%-17%. For other nonwhite Catholics, the margin was 15%-14%. [My underlining.]

A very interesting survey, which even PRRI’s blatant pro-abortion tilt could not hide.

*Just a reminder, because the questions are so clumsily worded, the depth and magnitude of the pro-life perspective is lost.


Chelsea Garcia is a political writer with a special interest in international relations and social issues. Events surrounding the war in Ukraine and the war in Israel are a major focus for political journalists. But as a former local reporter, she is also interested in national politics.

Chelsea Garcia studied media, communication and political science in Texas, USA, and learned the journalistic trade during an internship at a daily newspaper. In addition to her political writing, she is pursuing a master's degree in multimedia and writing at Texas.

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