First-trimester abortion was legalized in Mexico City in 2007, and services are now provided at public and private sites throughout the city. However, little is known about the obstacles women face when seeking abortion care.
We surveyed women who obtained abortion services (n = 398) at three public sector facilities in Mexico City to identify the obstacles women faced when obtaining abortions. We used logistic regression to test whether obstacles varied by sociodemographic characteristics.
Women with low education were more likely than high school–educated women to report difficulty getting appointments. Unmarried women and women with low education were more likely than married women or high school educated women to report difficulty getting time off work for appointments and arranging for transportation to the facility. Separated or divorced women were more likely than married women to report partner or other family member opposition to the abortion. Women who lived outside of Mexico City were more likely than Mexico City residents to report difficulty with transportation.
Education, marital status, and place of residence were associated with the obstacles women reported. Strategies to improve access to care should be targeted to the groups at highest risk of experiencing obstacles: Women with primary education or lower, single women, separated/divorced women, and those residing outside of Mexico City.
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Davida Becker, PhD, is a research scholar at the Center for the Study of Women at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her research focuses on the accessibility and quality of reproductive health services and disparities in reproductive health outcomes.
Claudia Diaz Olavarrieta, PhD, is a senior researcher at the Population and Health Center at the National Institute of Public Health of Mexico.
Clara Juarez, PhD, is a professor and researcher at the Center for Health Systems Research at the National Institute of Public Health of Mexico. Her work focuses on using qualitative methods and applied anthropology to research public health.
Sandra G. Garcia, ScM, ScD, is Mexico Country Director for the Population Council, an international organization committed to improving the health of the world's most vulnerable populations. Sandy implements and oversees the Council's public health research in Latin America.
Patricio Sanhueza Smith, MD, is the Reproductive Health Coordinator of the Mexico City Ministry of Health.
Cynthia Harper, PhD, is an associate professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco. Her work focuses on women's reproductive health in low-resource settings and among vulnerable populations in the United States.
Accepted: February 11, 2011
Received in revised form: February 11, 2011
Received: October 23, 2010
© 2011 Jacobs Institute of Women's Health. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.