Calling Arizona “ground zero” for reproductive rights, Latino Democrats insisted that the fight for abortion rights will help them rally Hispanic and other voters.
The Latinos joined forces with other Democrats as part of a weeklong effort by the party to mobilize voters for this year’s elections around abortion rights.
“Latinos are a constituency that understands that what is happening right now is about control,” said Raquel Terán, an Arizona state senator seeking re-election. Terán also serves as the state Democratic Party chair.
“This is going to help us deliver a message that we are the party that welcomes Latinos and is fighting for freedoms,” Terán said.
Latino mobilization was considered key to helping President Joe Biden win Arizona in 2020 — the first time a Democratic presidential candidate had won the state in 25 years. The state also voted in two Democratic senators for the first time in decades. Republicans still control the Legislature but lost seats in 2020.
Since the Supreme Court ruling, many Republican-governed states, including Arizona, have been working to implement abortion bans or restrictions.
But all of this is at play while Americans contend with higher prices for food, fuel, housing and just about everything else. Although Latinos have voted largely Democratic nationally, Republicans expanded their Latino vote share in 2020 in part by campaigning on jobs and the economy, and they are trying to build on that.
In an Axios-Ipsos Latino poll with Telemundo last month, about half of Latinos said abortion should be legal and about a quarter said it should be illegal under any circumstance. The poll was conducted before the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
But a recent Public Religion Research Institute survey found 72% of Latino Catholics were opposed to the Supreme Court decision.
Democratic candidates in Arizona said their support for reproductive rights will resonate with Hispanic voters because it ties in with cost of living.
“Reproductive rights, it absolutely impacts communities of color more,” state Sen. Martín Quezada said. “The reason why … is because of the economic impact it has on them, because of the ability to then get jobs and to determine your future.”
“We want our Latino community to be able get jobs and be able to determine their economic stability, and they can’t do that if they aren’t making their own health decisions,” said Quezada, a candidate for state treasurer.
The Democratic focus on reproductive rights is happening across several contests, Tucson Mayor Regina Romero said.
“From every single level of government, this particular election is important, from governor to treasurer to secretary of state … for us to remove MAGA Republicans,” Romero said, using the acronym for the “Make America Great Again” slogan used by former President Donald Trump.
Arizonas primaries are Aug. 2.
She noted that in Tucson, before Roe v. Wade was overturned, she and other local officials passed a resolution ordering police to not arrest people who seek abortions or respond to calls about medical facilities providing abortion services.
She warned that the ban on abortions — by disproportionately affecting people of color, undocumented people, and people in LGBTQ and rural communities — is going to “perpetuate poverty and lack of access to health care.”
Other Latino-focused groups plan to use the overturning of Roe v. Wade, along with other issues, to rally Latino voters.
Nuestro PAC, a political action group started by former Bernie Sanders adviser and Democratic political consultant Chuck Rocha, has released a Spanish-language digital ad on abortion rights.
The ad states that “Republicans have taken away our right to choose.”
“It’s important the choice message gets to people in the Spanish speaking community who are not getting information on the decision” overturning Roe v. Wade, Rocha said.
The Hispanic Federation, a national Latino advocacy group, said in a statement it has nearly 60 people mobilizing voters in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin for the midterm elections, and the overwhelming majority of people doing the work are women.