Health Providers' Opinions of and Experiences with Legal Abortion in Mexico City
Population Council researchers conducted in-depth interviews with health care providers to explore their experiences with and opinions of legal abortion.
Without doubt, the legalization of elective first-trimester abortion in Mexico City has had a major impact on the work of Ob/Gyns in the public health system. Shorting after the implementation of the law, Population Council researchers conducted in-depth interviews with 64 health care providers in 12 hospitals and the Ministry of Health (MOH) health center where the procedure is offered, to explore their experiences and opinions about the legal abortion program.
Participants included Ob/Gyns participating in the program, conscientious objectors, nurses, social workers, hospital (sub)director, decisionmakers, and reception personnel. More than half of the providers were in favor of the Mexico City law at the time of the interview. However, others had mixed feelings about the program, especially during the first months of implementation. Although they acknowledged the law would benefit women, they expressed concern about women seeking repeat abortions. For most participants, the approval of the new abortion law came unexpectedly, and they felt unprepared for the large influx of women seeking abortion services. Providers generally agreed with having the right to conscientious objection, but this also created problems as many hospitals had only one (or no) gynecologist willing to perform the procedure.
Operating in a high-pressure and often hostile work environment closely scrutinized by the media and NGOs created additional stress for the providers. On the positive side, this situation improved dramatically after several months of program operations and with the introduction of a medical abortion option (the misoprostol-only regimen).
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Location: Mexico (Mexico City)
Safe abortion and postabortion care
Duration: 12/2008 - 8/2009
Claudia Diaz (National Public Health Institute [INSP])
Tahilin Sanchez (consultant)