August 2004

Physicians' knowledge and opinions about medication abortion in four Latin American and Caribbean region countries

Espinoza A, Abuabara K, Ellertson C. Physicians' knowledge and opinions about medication abortion in four Latin American and Caribbean region countries. Contraception.August 2004; 70(2):127-133.

To examine physicians' knowledge and attitudes in regard to medication abortion, we conducted focus-group discussions with general practice physicians and obstetrician-gynecologists in Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Puerto Rico. Physicians were familiar with the practice of several types of medication and surgical abortion methods. Medication abortion with misoprostol is most common among women of higher socioeconomic status and is prescribed by physicians, pharmacists or self-administered. Conflicting opinions regarding safety, efficacy, cost, potential for self-medication and acceptability emerged; some participants expressed hope that medical abortion would reduce the risks associated with unsafe abortion, while others contended that drug distribution and self-medication without proper counseling could be problematic. Participants noted a lack of reliable sources of information for both providers and women, and expressed interest in strategic dissemination of information.