Catholics for Choice seeks to reach more Latinos with new platforms in Spanish


(RNS) – The nonprofit Catholics for Choice, which supports the right to abortion, seeks to reach more Latino Catholics in the United States by launching social media platforms in the Spanish language.

The group announced the launch in early June, but its new Twitter and Instagram, which amplifies the organization’s campaigns and events, have been active since around early April.

Catholics for Choice opposes the church’s official stance against abortion, which the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops describes as “gravely contrary to moral law.”

It’s an issue America’s bishops grapple with at their annual spring rally, debating whether President Joe Biden, a Catholic who has supported abortion rights legislation, and other pro-Catholic politicians. -choices should be denied Communion. On the day of Biden’s inauguration, the Archbishop of Los Angeles, Jose Gomez, issued a statement in which he was concerned that the president would pursue policies “that would advance moral evils and threaten life and death. human dignity ”.

Meanwhile, more than half of American Catholics (56%) said abortion should be legal in all or most cases, according to a 2019 Pew survey.

Jamie Manson, president of Catholics for Choice, which emphasizes reproductive freedom as a value of Catholic social justice, said one of the goals of the organization is to engage Latinos and immigrants, who , she said, are disproportionately affected by anti-abortion laws.

They are also often religious.

As the percentage of Latin American Catholics has declined, a 2014 study by Boston College and the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate found that Latinos made up about 40% of the Catholic population.

Jamie Manson. Photo by Brea, courtesy of Catholics for Choice

“The anti-choice movement is religious and it’s overwhelmingly Catholic and Evangelical… where you have a lot of Latinxes,” Manson said, adding that it is important to reach out to these populations “because the church has so much power” .

The idea of ​​Spanish content surfaced during the 2020 election season, Manson said, particularly in Colorado when Proposition 115 – a measure that would have banned abortion after 22 weeks – was on the ballot. vote.

The proposal failed, but Manson said activists on the ground alerted her that Spanish-speaking immigrants were being targeted in “manipulative ways by the Christian right.”

“That kind of felt like a call to action,” she said.

Lilian Medina Romero, the organization’s Latin American coordinator, said Latino immigrants to the United States often rely on Catholic support networks, health care providers and hospitals which she says hold back information on reproductive health care.

This Spanish-language outreach, said Romero, “will allow us to provide newly arrived immigrants with information that will help them make the best health care decisions for themselves and their families.”

As the majority of people of all racial and ethnic groups say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, white (57%) and Latino (58%) adults are less likely to say this than blacks. (67%) and Asians (68%) adults, according to a 2021 Pew Research Center survey.

Attitudes towards abortion are also starting to change across Latin America.

In Mexico, where Roman Catholicism is the dominant faith, a growing feminist movement has called for greater access to abortion.

While elective abortion is only allowed in Mexico City and the state of Oaxaca, support for abortion among Mexicans has increased from 29% in March to 48% in November 2020, according to a published survey by El Financiero Bloomberg News Agency.

Abortion rights activists hold hangers, symbolizing illegal abortions, and signs read in Spanish "Bye" after lawmakers approved a bill legalizing abortion outside of Congress in Buenos Aires, Argentina on December 30, 2020 (AP Photo / Victor Caivano)

Abortion rights activists hold hangers, symbolizing illegal abortions, and signs reading “Goodbye” in Spanish after lawmakers approved bill legalizing abortion in Congress in Buenos Aires, Argentina , December 30, 2020 (AP Photo / Victor Caivano)

According to The Associated Press.

The vote was seen as a victory for the country’s feminist movement that could pave the way for similar actions in the socially conservative and strongly Roman Catholic region.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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