African Americans overwhelmingly support keeping abortion legal, ensuring access to affordable contraceptives and teaching comprehensive sex education. Strong majorities also believe that publicly funded contraception should be available to those who need it and that abortion should be available from health care providers in their communities. The attitudes are broadly shared across age, gender, education, income, ideology and religion.
These are some of the findings of a new poll of African Americans on reproductive health issues by Belden Russonello Strategists (BRS) sponsored by a Reproductive Justice Communications Strategies group that includes Black Women for Wellness, Black Women’s Health Imperative, New Voices Pittsburgh, SisterLove, Inc., SPARK Reproductive Justice and individual Reproductive Justice activists, in partnership with Communications Consortium Media Center.
African Americans view contraception, screenings and treatment for cervical and breast cancers, care for pregnant women, and screenings and treatment for sexually transmitted disease, including HIV as part of a woman’s basic health care.
- Screenings and treatment for cervical and breast cancers (94%);
- Care for pregnant women (94%);
- Screenings and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases and HIV-AIDS (91%); and
- Contraception, such as birth control pills, diaphragms, IUDs, and Depo-Provera shots (86%).
African Americans say abortion should remain legal.
- 80% agree when asked, “regardless of how I personally fee about abortion, I believe it should remain legal and women should be able to get safe abortions.
- 71% say that ‘at least some health care professionals in my community should provide legal abortions.”
African Americans say we should trust women to make the right decisions about themselves.
- 89% agree “every person’s case is different and very private and personal, so we should leave decisions about abortions up to the individual woman.” 76% agreed strongly with this statement.
African Americans (94%) support making publicly funded contraception available for low-income people who want it, including 79% who agree strongly.
- This view is shared by 95% of liberals and moderates, 91% of self-identified conservatives, and 92% of those who attend religious services weekly or more.
African Americans overwhelmingly support comprehensive sex education.
- Over 90% believe that sex education should contain information about preventing HIV/AIDS, preventing unintended pregnancy by using birth control, abstinence from sex, and preventing domestic and sexual abuse.
- 73% agree that “teen sexual development is a normal part of growing up and the best approach is to ensure that young people have all the information and education about sex and contraception that they need.”
African Americans are willing to take their own teens to get birth control.
- Eighty-nine percent say if they had teenage children, they would “take them to get birth control if they needed it, including sixty-five percent who say they definitely would, and another 23% who say they probably would.
- Sixty-five percent of conservatives and 59% of those who attend religious services weekly or more also said they definitely would take their own teenager to get birth control.
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