Advocates in New Mexico on Monday (August 24) released the largest reproductive health policy survey conducted among Native American residents of the state. A summary of the poll reveals that, although Indigenous people are often overlooked when it comes to reproductive research, the community has a major interest in making the health decisions that are best for their families. 

The survey, commissioned by Southwest Women’s Law Center and implemented by Latino Decisions, focused solely on the “experiences of Native Americans in New Mexico regarding reproductive health policy,” according to the summary. The information gained from the poll is especially crucial because Indigenous women and other women of color are disproportionately harmed by abortion restrictions, as an emailed statement from the researchers pointed out.

Some of the key poll takeaways from the summary include:

  • Only 65 percent of Native Americans in New Mexico believe that Native Americans in their community have access to reproductive healthcare.
     
  • Only 29 percent of Native Americans in New Mexico report that to the best of their knowledge, that there is a doctor’s office, hospital or other health clinic that provides abortions in the community where they normally go to get healthcare.
     
  • Native Americans in New Mexico do not support laws that would make it more difficult for women to get access to an abortion.
     
  • Nearly all Native American residents of New Mexico believe that women and families deserve to make their own healthcare decisions without government interference. Similarly, 72 percent of respondents believe that they can hold their own moral views about abortion and still trust a woman and her family to make this decision for themselves.
     
  • Far too many Native American women are victims of sexual violence, and this experience motivates a desire for greater access to reproductive healthcare in New Mexico.

“As we fight to address our community’s unique health care needs during a pandemic that has taken a devastating toll on Native Americans, we must also commit to fight for their right to comprehensive reproductive health care, including abortion,” Terrelene Massey, Navajo executive director of Southwest Women’s Law Center, said in an emailed statement. “It’s time to center the voices of the vast majority of Native Americans who trust people to make private decisions about their reproductive health care without government interference.”

“For decades, Native Americans have taken care of each other when they’ve been left behind by those in power,” Adriann Barboa, New Mexico Policy Director for Forward Together said in an emailed statement. “Now, they’re reclaiming their power to make it clear that access to reproductive health care is nonnegotiable for their communities and politicians have no place in private health care decisions. It’s time that our policies reflect the views of our communities.” 

Click here to read a summary of the survey.