Lisa A Goldman1, Sandra G García2, Juan Díaz3 and Eileen A Yam2
1University of California, Berkeley, Department of Epidemiology, 140 Warren Hall #7360, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA
2Population Council, Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean, Panzacola #62-102, Col. Villa Coyoacán, Mexico City 04000, Mexico
3Population Council, Brazil Office, Caixa Postal 6509, Cidade Universitária, Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil, Cep. 13084-970, Brazil
Abortion laws are extremely restrictive in Brazil. The knowledge, opinions of abortion laws, and abortion practices of obstetrician-gynecologists can have a significant impact on women's access to safe abortion.
We conducted a mail-in survey with a 10% random sample of obstetrician-gynecologists affiliated with the Brazilian Federation of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. We documented participants' experiences performing abortion under a range of legal and illegal circumstances, and asked about which abortion techniques they had experience with. We used chi-square tests and crude logistic regression models to determine which sociodemographic, knowledge-related, or practice-related variables were associated with physician opinion.
Of the 1,500 questionnaires that we mailed out, we received responses from 572 (38%). Less than half (48%) of the respondents reported accurate knowledge about abortion law and 77% thought that the law should be more liberal. One-third of respondents reported having previous experience performing an abortion, and very few of these physicians reported having experience with manual vacuum aspiration (MVA) or with misoprostol with either mifepristone or methotrexate. Physicians that favored liberalization of the law were more likely to have correct knowledge about abortion law, and to be in favor of public funding for abortion services.
Brazilian obstetrician-gynecologists need more information on abortion laws and on safe, effective abortion procedures.
◊ An open access article from Reproductive Health 2005, 2:10, viewed from Biology-Online.org.