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Research has demonstrated that white conservative Protestants are more opposed to abortion than their Catholic counterparts. At the same time, conservative Protestantism has made significant inroads among U.S. Latinos. This study augments existing research on religion and racial-ethnic variations in abortion attitudes by comparing levels of support for legalized abortion among Catholic and conservative Protestant Latinos. Data are drawn from a nationally representative sample of U.S. Latinos. Significantly greater opposition to abortion is found among religiously devout conservative Protestant Latinos when compared with their Catholic counterparts. Latino Catholicism, which functions as a near-monopolistic, highly institutionalized faith tradition among Hispanics, produces weaker antiabortion attitudes than those exhibited in Latino conservative Protestantism. Among Latinos, conservative Protestantism operates as a niche voluntaristic faith. These factors produce a religious schema that yields robust antiabortion attitudes. This study has important implications for understanding the intersection of race-ethnicity, religion, and public policy preferences.


Originally published in Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 2012, 51(2), 343–358. Posted with permission.