Understanding abortion sentiment among Indigenous communities is a bit more complex, as there are hundreds of different tribes in the U.S. with different cultural practices and perspectives. But case studies (and the above data from PRRI) give us a sense that, in general, there is support for abortion rights and access among various different Indigenous groups. A small survey commissioned by the Southwest Women’s Law Center in 2020 found that 81 percent of Native Americans in New Mexico (the population and area studied) agreed with the statement that women and families deserve to make their own health-care decisions without government interference. Additionally, only 25 percent of those surveyed said they would support laws that would make it a criminal offense for doctors to perform abortions.
Terrelene Massey, 44, who is a member of the Navajo Nation and lives in New Mexico, says that, in her experience, Navajo culture deeply shapes how people in her community feel about abortion and other issues. “Traditionally, we are a matrilineal society and women organize, they administer, they manage the household,” she says. From her perspective, she says women in her community are empowered to make their own decisions to manage their families—which extends to their choices about abortion care.