At Choice 2.0, we’ve written several times about the benefits of no-cost birth control in a country where the reality is that 98% of all women will use one or more methods of birth control in her lifetime. For Latinas in America, the potential impact is even greater.
Reading Ms. Lopez’s piece got me thinking about a common mistake we (surely it’s not just me?) sometimes make in the reproductive health community. There have been times where I find myself assuming that a Latina who identifies as Roman Catholic (as a majority do) automatically means that she is anti-choice, anti-birth control, and anti-gay in lockstep with the teachings of the Catholic Church.
Yet like much of life, the reality is much more complex. As Ms. Lopez points out, “A huge majority of young Latinas — 89 percent — believe birth control costs should be available with no co-pay. This overwhelming level of support stems from the real experiences of young women struggling to balance financial and family priorities. In fact, more than half the Latinas in this group have experienced difficulty using birth control consistently due to cost barriers.”
As a whole, 71% of Americans (including women and men) believe that birth control should be provided at no cost. Among American Catholics, this number rises to 77% of respondents expressing support.
As I said, I know that I have been guilty of wrongly assuming that women support or oppose one thing due to their self-identified religious beliefs (or lack thereof). Chalk it up to human nature and a desire to take very complex issues and boil them down to something overly simplified but easy to understand. In real life, regardless of faith, ethnicity, or any other factor, people across the board can agree that simple reforms that improve the health of women and their families and that prevent unintended pregnancies are good for society as a whole.
The fact is that life, including aspects like religion or faith, comes in shades of gray. It’s ultimately up to the individual woman, not a politician, to determine the best choices for her life in consultation with her doctor and family and in accordance with her faith… whatever that may or may not be.