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American Public Health Association
133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition
December 10-14, 2005
Philadelphia, PA
APHA 2005
3250.0: Monday, December 12, 2005 - Board 1

Abstract #101479

Abortion-related stigma among physicians in Mexico City

Martha Silva, MPH, International Health and Development, Tulane University, 1440 Canal St. Suite 2200, New Orleans, LA 70112, 504-988-1298, martha_silva@hotmail.com, Deborah L. Billings, PhD, Research and Evaluation, Ipas Mexico, Pachuca 92, Colonia Condesa, Mexico City, 06140, Mexico, and Olivia Ortiz, Ipas Mexico City, Pachuca 92, Mexico City, Mexico.

Although the legal framework to access abortion services in the case of a pregnancy resulting from rape has been established in Mexico City, there are many unexplored barriers for physicians who wish to provide this service. This study focuses on physicians as service providers and examines the ways in which abortion-related stigma has an impact on their decision to provide or not provide abortion services. Furthermore, we explore the rewards and benefits, as well as disincentives to performing abortions in Mexico City. Research questions are explored using qualitative methodologies: a total of 45 physicians were interviewed in the Mexico City metropolitan area; general practitioners, family practitioners and Ob/Gyn. Results show that in the medical community keeping appearances, particularly in the face of other physicians is extremely importance in order to safeguard one's reputation. Even those physicians who are willing to practice legally indicated abortions are not willing to do so publicly. Almost all participants referred to physicians who practice illegal abortions as gold-seekers, doing the “dirty job for easy money”; whereas the perception of physicians who practice legal abortions in the public sector was not as negative. Furthermore, legislative changes in Mexico City have failed to delineate the participation of private health services in abortion provision, leaving this sector in an ill-defined grey area of legality. If physicians are to participate in providing legal abortion services without fearing the stigma, legal procedures must be better defined and work with health care providers must be undertaken to confront and diminish stigma.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Abortion, Providers

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

I wish to disclose that I have NO financial interests or other relationship with the manufactures of commercial products, suppliers of commercial services or commercial supporters.


The 133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition (December 10-14, 2005) of APHA