201403 Experiences of women accessing legal abortion in Mexico City

Monday, November 9, 2009

Marieke G. Van Dijk, MD, MA , Reproductive Health Program, Regional Associate, Mexico City, Mexico
Patricio Sanhueza Smith, MD , Coordination of reproductive health program, Ministry of Health of Mexico City, Mexico City, Mexico
Antonio Flores Villalón, MD , Reproductive Health Program Mexico City Ministry of Health, Ministry of Health, Mexico City, Mexico
Lorena Chavez, MPH , Consultant, Population Council Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico
Sandra Garcia, ScD, ScM , Mexico Office, Population Council, Mexico City, Mexico

In April 2007, abortion in the first 12 weeks of gestation was legalized in Mexico City. Over 19.000 women from Mexico City and other states have been treated since. The procedure is offered in one public health clinic, and 12 public hospitals of the Ministry of Health (MOH). Furthermore, there are several private clinics that offer abortion services. We are finalizing a qualitative study to the experiences of women who had legal abortions in Mexico City.


We are conducting 25 in-depth interviews with women who had an abortion on their experiences in a public clinic and 2 private clinics. We started the field work in September 2008 and will finish the interviews end of February 2009. The data will be transcribed, coded and analyzed using the software Atlas-ti.


Our preliminary findings are based on 15 interviews in the public health center. Participants expressed a high satisfaction on the abortion services offered. The women knew about the services through internet, a governmental telephone line or friends. None had doubts about their decision to do an abortion, and the counseling provided was perceived as adequate. They felt treated with respect and taken into account, even if the choice for the abortion procedure (surgical or medical abortion), was made by the physician. Most accepted contraceptive methods post-abortion.


Women's experiences with the legal abortion services in the public health center were very positive. They recommended opening more, similar health centers providing legal abortion services.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the main aspects of the new abortion law in Mexico City; 2. Describe the experiences of women having had legal abortions in a public health center in Mexico City; 3. List the main recommendations regarding access and quality of the services provided.

Keywords: Abortion, Access and Services

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have a master's degree in medicine and medical anthropology, and I am working as a regional research associate with the Population Council. I have been the coordinator of the present study, and have relevant experience concerning abortion research, and research on other reproductive and sexual health issues.
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.