Knowledge and Opinions about Abortion Law among Mexican Youth

By Becker, Davida; Garcia, Sandra G. et al. | International Family Planning Perspectives, December 2002 | Go to article overview

Knowledge and Opinions about Abortion Law among Mexican Youth


Becker, Davida, Garcia, Sandra G., Larsen, Ulla, International Family Planning Perspectives


CONTEXT: Mexican states' abortion laws vary, but in all states and the Federal District, induced abortions are legal in same circumstances. Public knowledge and opinions about abortion laws affect access to safe services.

METHODS: Survey data from a nationally representative sample of 907 men and women aged 15-24 in 2000 were analyzed to explore knowledge and opinion about abortion laws. Logistic regression was used to identify factors associated with participants' knowing that abortions are sometimes legal in their state and with participants' attitudes toward abortion.

RESULTS: Fifty-four percent of participants did not know the legal status of abortion in their state. Of these, 82% believed that abortion is never legal, and the rest did not know or thought that it is always legal. The odds of having correct information were reduced for respondents with low levels of education, those living in certain regions outside Mexico City and rural residents (odds ratios, 0.3-0.7); they were elevated among those with liberal attitudes toward emergency contraceptive pills (2.2). Some 70-83% of participants supported legal abortions when pregnancies result from rape or endanger a woman's life or health. Only 11-22% supported legal abortions for single women or minors, those with economic constraints and women who experience contraceptive failure. Low education and conservative attitudes toward emergency contraceptive pills were associated with conservative attitudes toward abortion. Knowing that abortion is sometimes legal did not affect opinion about it.

CONCLUSIONS: Understanding young people's knowledge and opinions about abortion may help in designing programs to reduce the problem of unsafe abortion in Mexico.

International Family Planning Perspectives, 2002, 28(4):205-213

RESUMEN

Contexto: Aunque la legislacion mexicana sobre el aborto varia entre los diferentes Estados, el procedimiento es legal en circunstancias especiales en todos ellos y en el Distrito Federal. El conocimiento sobre el aborto y las opiniones acerca del mismo del publico afectan tan el acceso a los servicios seguros.

Metodos: Se analizaron datos recopilados en una muestra nacional de 907 mujeres y hombres, de 15-24 anos en 2000, para estudiar el nivel de conocimiento y opiniones acerca de las leyes sobre el aborto. Se utilizaron analisis de regresion logistica para identificar los factores relacionados con el conocimiento de los participantes sobre las condiciones de un aborto legal en su Estado y con las actitudes sobre el aborto.

Resultados: El 54% de los participantes no sabian que el aborto era legal en su Estado en algunas situaciones. De este grupo con informacion errada, el 82% creia que el aborto siempre era ilegal, y los demas no tenian informacion al respecto o pensaba que siempre era legal. Las probabilidades de tener la informacion correcta eran reducidas entre los participantes con menores niveles de educacion, aquellos que vivian en ciertas regiones fuera de la Ciudad de Mexico, y los residentes rurales (razones de momios, 0,3-0,7); las probabilidades eran elevadas entre las personas que tenian una actitud liberal hacia las pastillas de anticoncepcion de emergencia (2,2). Un 70-83% de los participantes indico que apoyaban el aborto legal cuando el embarazo era fruto de una violacion o ponia en peligro la vida o la salud de la mujer. Solo el 11-22% apoyaba el aborto legal para las mujeres solteras o menores de edad, o en caso de mujeres con problemas economicos o cuyo metodo anticonceptivo habia fallado. El nivel educativo bajo y la actitud conservadora hacia las pastillas de anticoncepcion de emergencia estuvieron relacionados con las actitudes conservadoras. Saber que en ciertos casos el aborto es legal no afecto la opinion de los participantes sobre este procedimiento.

Conclusiones: Conocer las opiniones y nivel de conocimiento de los jovenes sobre el aborto puede asistir en el diseno de los programas para reducir el problema del aborto realizado en condiciones inseguras en Mexico. …

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