Journal Article

The abortion debate in Mexico: Newspaper coverage and discourse, 2001-2003

Abortion in Mexico is highly restricted, and the issue has been openly debated as policymakers consider reforming abortion legislation. The newly free press in Mexico plays a key role in informing the public about the abortion debate.

Using a sample of 100 articles from five Mexico City newspapers containing the word “abortion,” this study examines the context in which abortion is discussed in the media and the social actors that are associated with pro-choice, anti-abortion and mixed arguments from 2001 to 2003.

Non-governmental organizations and Catholic Church representatives were the principal social actors, with coverage also given to policymakers who support liberalization of abortion laws. Most articles present only one viewpoint when covering abortion, dominated by organizations and leaders who represent the extreme sides of the debate.

Abortion has earned a prominent place on the public agenda and in the news media. Future research should continue to monitor and document newspaper coverage of abortion as the legal context evolves in Mexico.