179511 Why Mexican women seek abortion services in Texas: An exploratory study of motivations and barriers

Tuesday, October 28, 2008: 2:50 PM

Claudia Diaz, PhD , Instituto Nacional de Salud Publica, Cuernavaca, Mexico
Daniel Grossman, MD , Ibis Reproductive Health, San Francisco, CA
Silvia Solis, BA , Independent Consultant, Brownsville, TX
Andrea Ferrigno, BA , Whole Woman's Health of McAllen, McAllen, TX
Dolores Acevedo-Garcia, PhD , School of Public Health, Harvard University, Boston, MA
Sandra G. García, Sc D , Reproductive Health Program, Population Council, Mexico City, Mexico
Background: Except for Mexico City, where first trimester abortion was recently legalized, Mexico still has restrictive abortion legislation. Many Mexican women obtain clandestine abortions, some cross the border to obtain safe abortions in the U.S. Yet, little is known about these women's experiences. Objectives: Using qualitative and quantitative methods, we aimed to understand better the experiences of women who cross the border to Texas to access abortion services. Methods: We administered anonymous surveys to women of Mexican nationality in an abortion clinic in McAllen, Texas. A subgroup completed in-depth interviews that explored the reasons for seeking abortion services, and experiences regarding services. We performed descriptive analyses of survey data and used textual analysis for the qualitative data. Results: In total, 925 women completed the survey in Texas, and 3% (28) were Mexican residents from border cities. Average age of the Texas sample was 26 years (18-39). Most were single, had no children, and were in their first trimester of pregnancy. Most were well educated and reported higher than average incomes. Common reasons for seeking abortions in the US were: easier access than in Mexico; mistrust of local providers; and desire to access mifepristone medical abortion (unavailable in Mexico). Few women experienced abortion-related complications. Conclusion: Mexican women who cross the border to obtain safe abortions in the US are frequently wealthy and well educated and tend to reside near the border. Reasons for seeking abortion services in the U.S. reflect the reality of restricted abortion access in Mexico.

Learning Objectives:
1. Understand better the experiences of Mexican women who cross the border to obtain abortion services in Texas. 2. Undertand policy and program implications for abortion services on both sides of the border

Keywords: Abortion, Access Immigration

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I conducted this study
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.