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In fact, one study that focused on low-income, Spanish-speaking Latinas found that many women were misinformed about hormonal birth control, which is considered one of the most effective methods by health care workers. Many Latinas in this study did not know of the benefits of using hormonal birth control, and many actually feared harmful side effects. Some believed that hormonal birth control could make them permanently sterile, others feared the possibility of birth defects, and some believed that hormonal birth control could damage their own health. These fears could be caused by a lack of quality sex education, or could possibly stem from a history of medical racism that includes sterilization campaigns targeting Latinas, which has led to mistrust of the medical community by many Latinos.

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Reports indicate that condom use by Latino adolescents is sporadic at best, even if it is the only method of birth control being employed. Common reasons cited by Latinas for not using a condom include trusting one’s partner, not being able to convince one’s partner to use a condom, or just general dislike of condoms. Another idea is that many Latino adolescents view sex as less “bad” when it is spontaneous, so partners are not prepared and do not have condoms on hand when sex occurs. In addition, Latinos report higher rates of contraception failure than do other races, suggesting that they may be using them incorrectly due to lack of proper sexual education or misinformation.

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However, since poor groups of society often have more children per family than better off groups, the disproportionate application of birth control policies may act to stabilise the ratio. But for such policies to be seen as fair it may be necessary to devise elements that restrict the birth rate of other groups in society.


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There are particular ethical objections to birth control programmes that use incentives of money, food or other benefits to reward people who take part:

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Machismo and marianismo, while considered outdated ideas by many, still seem to have a strong influence on Latino ideas about sexuality. Marianismo is traditional feminine values, including the importance of virginity before marriage and an overall passivity in matters of sex. Women who discuss sex openly are often labeled as promiscuous, so Latinas can be hesitant to discuss sexual issues including birth control.

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Today, Latinas have the highest teen birthrate of any minority population, with an estimated 51% of Latinas getting pregnant at least once before age 20. To add to this issue, 20% of Latinos live below the poverty line, and they are drastically underrepresented in medicine. However, other racial groups that also have high rates of poverty and low rates of medical coverage similar to Latinos but have much lower rates of teen pregnancy. This suggests that there is a cultural factor that is affecting the issue .