Estimating the Incidence of Induced Abortion in Mexico
Council researchers studied the incidence of induced abortion in Mexico.
In Mexico, 533,000 abortions were estimated to have occurred in 1990, with an annual abortion rate of 23 per 1,000 women. This estimate, part of a study carried out in six Latin American countries by the Guttmacher Institute and local partners was the most recent available national estimate. Substantial demographic changes have occurred in the past two decades—declines in fertility and increases in contraceptive use—and it is important to know whether the incidence of abortion has changed. Existing evidence indicates that over-the-counter access to misoprostol, a drug that can induce abortion, also has increased in recent years. In addition, it is important to have current information on complications due to unsafe abortion because of its role in maternal mortality.
The Population Council, El Colegio de México, and the Guttmacher Institute have collaborated on reproductive health issues for decades and have extensive experience in conducting abortion-related research. These three institutions recently published a seminal study on national abortion incidence in Mexico for 2006, which makes use of the most recent data available. Researchers used two data sources from 2006: official statistics on women treated for abortion-related complications and a survey of health professionals in six states who were familiar with abortion services.
The results suggest that approximately 150,000 women were treated for induced abortion complications in public-sector hospitals in Mexico in 2006 (5.7 per 1,000 women of reproductive age). The estimated total number of induced abortions that year was 875,000, and the abortion rate was 33 per 1,000 women aged 15–44. Between 1990 and 2006, the abortion rate increased by 33 percent (from 25% in 1990), while the annual rate of hospitalization remained stable. Findings suggest that clandestine and unsafe abortion continues to have a negative impact on women's health in Mexico, despite the reduction in severity of complications since 1990. The increase in abortion incidence also suggests the need for improvements in contraceptive services and access in Mexico.
Together with the Guttmacher Institute and El Colegio de México, the Council developed a two-page fact sheet highlighting key findings from the incidence study in Spanish and English (offsite PDF). The three institutions have begun planning follow-up analyses to generate state- and age-specific abortion incidence data in Mexico, which will be invaluable for shaping policies and improving reproductive health in Mexico.
Estimates of induced abortion in Mexico: What's changed between 1990 and 2006? (abstract) (PDF)
Juarez,Fatima; Singh,Susheela; Garcia,Sandra G.; Diaz-Olavarrieta,Claudia
International Family Planning Perspectives 34(4): 158-168
Publication date: 2008
Safe abortion and postabortion care
Duration: 7/2006 - 12/2007
Fatima Juarez (El Colegio de Mexico)
Susheela Singh (Guttmacher Institute)
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation