December 2002

Knowledge and attitudes about the differences between emergency contraception and medical abortion among middle-class women and men of reproductive age in Mexico City

Gould H, Ellertson C, Corona G. Knowledge and attitudes about the differences between emergency contraception and medical abortion among middle-class women and men of reproductive age in Mexico City. Contraception. December 2002; 66(6):417-26.

Two reproductive technologies--emergency contraception and medical abortion--have the potential to reduce unintended pregnancy significantly in Latin America. Lack of knowledge and negative attitudes about the methods may limit their impact, however. Results from focus group discussions with middle-class men and women of reproductive age residing in Mexico City indicate that knowledge about emergency contraception and medical abortion is low. After being informed about both methods, participants supported emergency contraception but tied their support for medical abortion to its legal status. Participants remained concerned about the methods' efficacy, mechanism of action, and potential to encourage sexual risk-taking. While almost all desired greater dissemination of information about and access to both methods in Mexico, participants cited religious and cultural concerns, as well as barriers in communication with providers and within families, as significant challenges. Participants hoped, however, that both emergency contraception and medical abortion might play important roles in preventing unwanted pregnancy and abortion-related morbidity and mortality in Mexico in the future.