Abortion among Hispanic women in the US has grown at an alarming rate. The Guttmacher Institute, an American organization committed to sexual and reproductive health, reports that 25% of all abortions in 2014 were carried out by Hispanic women. This statistic is disturbing considering the demographic proportion of Hispanics versus other ethnical groups.
Poor sexual and reproductive education among the Latin-American community has resulted in higher abortion rates. In addition, sex is considered a taboo subject in the family, culture and church, making it difficult to find preventive information about conception inside a Hispanic woman’s closest circles. Also, many women are undocumented and the fear of getting deported keeps them from seeking help.
So what can faith organizations do?
Christian churches and ministries that interact with the Hispanic community have an excellent opportunity to provide information about conception and reproductive health.
This is why everyone in these ministries, from those working with children and youth to those who work with adult couples, must be trained to talk about sexuality, family and relationships in light of the Word of God, and to approach concerns and consequences about this topic naturally and without religiosity.
Just as importantly, ministry leaders must do what they can to help create safe spaces where youth can ask questions about this topic, in order to prevent and anticipate their unspoken doubts. For example, meetings with only youth, women or men will make it easier to discuss their questions. Remember, avoiding this topic does not mean the absence of doubts.
Some recommendations when discussing sexuality:
Speak their language: Keep all information in the same language of your target audience. If they’re young, don’t hesitate to use digital communication, social media and even apps to attract attention to the subject. And when working with adults, don’t be afraid of breaking myths or taking a direct approach with marital issues.
Explain bluntly: It is important to discuss sexuality directly and transparently. If young people aren’t finding information at home, church or supporting ministries, then they will seek it elsewhere, and might find wrong information that puts them at risk.
Act normal when listening to their concerns: If a child, adolescent or adult asks about any sex-related topic, it’s because he or she has seen, heard or felt curious about it. Do not take these kind of doubts as sinful, but as an opportunity to talk about their emotions, physical boundaries and marriage.
Talk about your designer: The real challenge is to approach sex not as unholy or taboo. On the contrary, it has a specific time and since it was created by God, He is pleased about it.
In spite of figures showing an increasing abortion rate among Hispanic women, the best place where they should have their concerns solved and discuss their decisions is the Christian community. This demonstrates that approaching this population in a more dynamic, innovative and relevant manner is increasingly necessary and a challenge as well.