It’s time for the Hispanics to rise up and call for an end to the scourge of abortion in our communities. Year after year, about 22 percent to 25 percent of all abortions are performed on Latino women. In 2009 alone, abortion represented 64 percent of all Latino deaths. We cannot let this dark stain on the consciousness of our nation go unnoticed.
Hispanics are clearly being targeted by abortion peddlers, despite the fact that our values are grounded on a profound respect for the dignity of the human person. Polls show that the majority of people in our community has remained steadily against abortion. According to Pew, in 2014, 51 percent of Hispanics thought abortion should be illegal in all or most cases; that number was even higher, 60 percent, for those who are foreign born.
The respect for the rights of the unborn doesn’t wane with younger generations. A 2015 survey conducted by the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute found that 54 percent of Latino millennials believe abortion should be illegal in most or all cases.
It’s important to consider that the culture of the countries we come from in Latin America is socially conservative and deeply rooted in faith. A 2014 Pew study showed that there is widespread opposition to abortion in Latin America: 95 percent of those surveyed in Paraguay said abortion should be illegal in all or most cases; 86 percent in the Dominican Republic, 73 percent in Colombia, 67 percent in Mexico, and 60 percent in Argentina.
Unsurprisingly, except for Cuba, Mexico City and Uruguay, in most of Latin America abortion is either totally banned or allowed under limited exceptions. Moreover, the American Convention of Human Rights, which has been signed by almost every Latin American country, is the only regional legal instrument to recognize the right to life, from “the moment of conception,” as a fundamental right.
Latinos should begin this revolt against the culture of death by singling out the Democratic Party and liberals for aggressively supporting an abortion agenda predominantly directed at communities of color. The majority of babies aborted each year — more than 52 percent — are African American and Latino.
The reality is that the political party that portrays itself to Hispanic voters as more in tune with our values and aspirations actually has become the party of abortion; continuously moving to the extreme on the issue.
We should also hold responsible some of the major Hispanic advocacy groups, which are dominated by liberal elites, for not being interested in defending the right to life of unborn Hispanics. Ironically, they passionately advocate for undocumented immigrants, something that I support, but when it comes to defending the most vulnerable in the Hispanic community, they remain eerily silent. They are outraged when Immigration and Customs Enforcement goes into Latino communities to detain undocumented immigrants with criminal records, but they don’t manifest the same sense of scandal when Planned Parenthood goes after our women to convince them to end their pregnancies.
And we should also call out the largely left-leaning Spanish-language media for paying little attention to the abortion issue. Hispanic television news broadcasts lead almost daily with reports about immigration; nonetheless, they never mention the staggeringly high rates of abortion in the Latino community.
Finally, outrage must lead to action. To defend the most vulnerable in our community, we must ask our members of Congress to support the efforts of President Trump and the leadership in both House and Senate to end federal funding of Planned Parenthood and to make the Hyde Amendment permanent so that taxpayer money cannot be used for abortion.
The violence of abortion in our community cannot stand. We should join the first Latin American pontiff, Pope Francis, in forcefully reminding our fellow citizens that, “Human life is sacred and inviolable.”
Alfonso Aguilar is president of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles and former chief of the U.S. Office of Citizenship in the administration of George W. Bush.