Public Opinion about Abortion-Related Stigma among Mexican Catholics and Implications for Unsafe Abortion

Sandra Garcia, Population Council
Katherine Wilson, Population Council
Stephanie McMurtrie, Population Council
Claudia Diaz-Olavarrieta, Instituto Nacional de Salud Publica

Abortion stigma can be a factor in whether a woman elects to use a safe abortion procedure, or an unsafe clandestine abortion. We conducted a nationally representative household probability survey among self-identified Catholics in Mexico. To measure abortion stigma, we presented respondents with a hypothetical situation about a young woman who decided to have an abortion, then asked for their opinion of this woman and the impact of an abortion on her. Based on a stigma index, we found that a majority (55%) of respondents exhibited stigmatizing attitudes about abortion, however 82% believed that abortion should be legal in at least some circumstances. Disagreement with the Mexico City law and belief that abortion should be prohibited in all cases were significant predictors of stigmatizing abortion. Stigma can lead women to seek unsafe abortions in an attempt to avoid judgment by society, which puts women's lives at risk.

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Presented in Session 111: Abortion II