53% of American Hispanics and Most People in Latino Nations Say Abortion Should be Illegal

International   |   Sarah Zagorski   |   Oct 15, 2015   |   1:38PM   |   Washington, DC

According to the latest Pew Research Survey, the majority of Latin Americans believe that abortion should be illegal in all or most instances. In fact, the study found that Uruguay is the only country in Latin America where the majority of the population supports abortion, with 54% reporting that it should legal in all or most cases. However, in countries such as Argentina, Chile, Venezuela and Puerto Rico, the overwhelming majority believes abortion should be illegal.

The survey found that 60% of Argentineans, 85% of Venezuelans and 95% of Paraguayans believe abortion should be illegal. Surprisingly, 51% of Puerto Ricans believe the same even though U.S. law allows abortion for any reason. The Latin American countries with 80% or more of the population reporting that abortion should be illegal include Columbia (81%), Brazil (81%), Costa Rica (83%), Ecuador (85%), Peru (85%), Bolivia (87%), Nicaragua (88%), Panama (90%), the Dominican Republic (91%), El Salvador (93%), Honduras (95%), and Guatemala (96%).

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Additionally, the survey found that 53% of U.S. Hispanics believe abortion should be illegal in all or most cases, while only 40% said it should be legal. In Latin American countries, Protestants are more likely to consider abortion morally unacceptable than Catholics; and interestingly, the majority of adults with no religious affiliation in Honduras, the Dominican Republic and El Salvador say abortion should be illegal in all or most instances.

In Paraguay, where 95% of the population is against abortion, an 11-year-old girl became the focus of a debate about abortion laws after her mother requested that she obtain a late-term abortion. As LifeNews previously reported, the mother’s request was denied because abortion is only permitted after 20-weeks when a woman’s life is in danger. The Health Minister of Paraguay, Dr. Antonio Barrios, said the procedure was out of the question since the family requested it in the girl’s 23rd week of pregnancy. He said, “If there needed to be an abortion, it had to be before the 20th week.”

Then, the girl’s mother was arrested for helping her partner, Gilberto Benitez Zarate, escape. A child protection officer from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said the following about sexual abuse in South America: “In Paraguay, every day two girls between the ages of 10 and 14 give birth. These cases are a consequence of sexual abuse, and in most situations, repeated sexual abuse from which the victims have not received timely, appropriate protection.”

The officer added, “Adolescent girls are not receiving adequate attention. This is our concern and we hope that in light of this case effective measures will be taken to protect them from intra-family violence.”

In August, the minor gave birth to a baby girl weighing 7.8 pounds at the Reina Sofia maternity hospital, which is a health care facility operated by the Red Cross. In Paraguay, the young girl is known by the legal pseudonym “Mainumby.” The baby was delivered via Caesarean section as planned to prevent complications. The director of Reina Sofia said, “It was like any other Caesarean, but with the age difference. She’s well and progressing like in any other surgery, but we’ll see afterwards how she gets on as a mother.”