Person deciding hot to vote
Person pondering their vote Phil Scroggs

A referendum could motivate a greater number of Hispanic voters to head to the polls in November if it ends up on the ballot, according to Democratic strategists.They also underscored Latinos could play a key role in 2024 elections, as they make up 22 percent of the overall state population that is eligible to vote.

Democratic advisors and consultants reached that consensus during a forum on the Hispanic vote hosted by Florida media outlets such as the Miami Herald, El Nuevo Herald, CBS News, Univision 23, and WLRN at Florida International University on Thursday night.

José Parra, a Democratic strategist and former advisor to former Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, said, was one of the voices coinciding with this idea. "Young Hispanics are going to turn out because of issues like abortion," he said, according to the Miami Herald.

And added: "When you see issues like the Alabama Supreme Court declaring that embryos are children, the issue becomes nationalized." The state Judiciary issued a ruling on February 16 declaring that embryos created through in vitro fertilization (IVF) should be considered children.

The Alabama case has once again brought reproductive healthcare to the forefront of the national conversation. President Joe Biden mentioned it in his State of the Union speech, echoed by Democratic congresswomen, who wore white attire in solidarity with abortion rights.

There is a clear division on abortion between Democrats and Republicans. Following the 2022 U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the majority of Republican-controlled states have introduced new abortion restrictions, including bans at every stage of pregnancy in 14 states. Conversely, Democrat-dominated states have passed laws or issued executive orders aimed at safeguarding access to abortion.

Now, Florida is one of six states that protect abortion rights and will likely see a referendum on abortion on its ballot in November, in addition to the usual candidate lists. The Florida Supreme Court is currently considering whether to allow a ballot question seeking to protect abortion in the state constitution until 'viability' on the November ballot.

If approved, voters will decide whether to grant women in Florida the constitutional right to abortion, but this would require a challenging 60% vote.

However, the effect of having the question on the ballot could be another. Over the past eight years, support for Republicans and former President Donald Trump has grown in majority-Hispanic Miami-Dade County and across Florida. However, Democrats believe they have identified a potential opportunity in advocating for abortion access.

There are 3.51 million Hispanics eligible to vote in the state, according to the Florida International University's poll cited by the Miami Herald. They constitute 22% of the overall eligible voting population, and according to polls, they tend to support women's access to abortion.

Latino Stance on Abortion Rights

“The overturning of Roe v. Wade has really disproportionately harmed
Abortion to the Ballot in Florida: How It Could Tip the Scale in the Elections, According to Experts Dee Dwyer/Latina Institute

According to a 2022 survey by Pew Research Center, the majority of Latinos believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases, though there are differences based on party, religious identity, and dominant language.

"Candidates can't ignore that abortion is a winning issue and something that voters care about, and that Latinos overall are a growing bloc," Yamila Ruiz, the Senior Director of Communications and Public Affairs at the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice, told The Latin Times in a recent interview.

And added, "Sometimes we see there's a common misconception that Catholic Latinos are against abortion. But really we have seen polling that says actually, 70 to 73% of Catholic Latinos support abortion, and nine out of ten Latinos would support a loved one seeking abortion care, regardless of their own views."

Rep Linda Sánchez, chairwoman of BOLD PAC, the campaign arm of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, confirmed to The Latin Times in another interview the position Democrats are sustaining regarding this issue, and how Latino voters, and especially Latinas, will play a significant role in this election cycle.

"Latina voters are incredibly important because they tend to be the driving force within Latino families for getting members out to vote," she explained, and noted that about 50% of Latinas in the United States are of childbearing age. So this is an issue that really impacts a large percentage of Latinas.

She said: "I think Latinas are not going to be happy with those candidates who are trying to continually impose these extreme policies onto their families and onto themselves."

However, a recent study suggests that while abortion rights are emerging as a pivotal issue that will influence many voters' decisions in this year's elections, Latinos are the demographic giving the least importance to this.

A new poll by KFF indicates that only 11% of Latinos agreed with the premise that the candidate's stance on abortion would be crucial in deciding whom to vote for, compared with 55% of Whites and 24% of Blacks.

In another significant finding, the study revealed that voters who prioritize abortion as the most important issue tend to be disproportionately younger, Democratic-leaning, and supportive of legal abortion in all cases.

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