Knowledge and opinions about abortion law among Mexican youth (PDF)
Becker,Davida; Garcia,Sandra G.; Larsen,Ulla
International Family Planning Perspectives 28(4): 205-213
Publication date: 2002
Mexican states' abortion laws vary, but in all states and the Federal District, induced abortions are legal in some circumstances. Public knowledge and opinions about abortion laws affect access to safe services.
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.
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.
Understanding young people's knowledge and opinions about abortion may help in designing programs to reduce the problem of unsafe abortion in Mexico.