The Change in Attitudes Towards Abortion in Former West and East Germany After Reunification: A Latent Class Analysis and Implications for Abortion Access.
ABSTRACT: Introduction The legal status of abortion has changed in the regions of former East Germany after reunification due to the adoption of restrictive West German abortion policies. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact on attitudes towards abortion and the associated health care implications in Western and Eastern Germany. Materials and Methods Nationally representative data on public support for legally restricting abortion access were taken from the German General Social Survey and included the surveys 1992, 1996, 2000, 2006 and 2012 (N?=?14?459). Two indicators of barriers to access to abortion care were calculated for each federal state, based on the number of abortion facilities and the proportion of women seeking abortion outside their state of residency. Data were analysed using latent class analysis. Results Results suggested that abortion attitudes could be classified into three distinct subgroups: 1) support for abortion access independent of women's reason; 2) support on the basis of maternal or foetal health reasons but not for socio-economic reasons (e.g. financial restrictions); and 3) no support. The size of subgroups in favour of partial or complete restriction on abortion access increased in both regions over the study period and this trend could not be explained by changes in socio-demographic characteristics. Respondents living in a federal state with more barriers to access to abortion care were more likely to hold restrictive abortion attitudes. Conclusion Negative attitudes towards abortion have increased in Western and Eastern Germany during the two decades following reunification and may harm women by limiting acceptability and accessibility of abortion care. Abortion policies, public discourse and provision of abortion care should be informed by international guidelines protecting women's health and rights.
Project description:Abortion is regulated in Mexico at the state level, and it is permitted under certain criteria in all 32 states, except in Mexico City where first-trimester abortion is decriminalized. Yet, more than a million abortions occur in Mexico each year. But most terminations occurring outside of Mexico City are clandestine and unsafe due to profound stigma against the procedure, lack of trained providers, lack of knowledge of where to find a safe abortion and poor knowledge of the laws. While this situation is moderated by the increasing use of misoprostol, a relatively safe method of abortion, the safety of the procedure cannot be assured in restrictive legal contexts. The purpose of this study is to explore women's experiences with induced abortion in three federal entities with different legal contexts, and whether abortion seeking behavior and experiences differ across these settings. The study was carried out in three states, representing three different degrees of restrictiveness of abortion legislation. Queretaro with the "most restrictive" law, Tabasco with a "moderately restrictive" law, and Mexico state with the "least restrictive" law. We hypothesize that women living in more restrictive states will resort to the use of more unsafe and risky methods and providers for their abortion than their counterparts in less restrictive states. Women who recently obtained abortions were selected through snowball sampling and qualitative data were collected from them using semi-structured indepth interviews. Data collection took place between mid-2014 and mid-2015, with a final sample size N = 60 (20 from each state). Various themes involved in the process of abortion seeking behavior were developed from the IDIs and examined here: women's knowledge of the abortion law in their state, reasons for having an abortion; the methods and providers used and women's positive and negative experiences with abortion methods and providers used. Our results indicate that abortion safety is not associated with the restrictiveness of abortion legislation. Findings show that there is a new pattern of abortion service provision in Mexico, with misoprostol, a relatively safe and easy to use method, playing an important role. Nevertheless, while access to misoprostol tends to increase the safety of abortion, the improvement is moderated by women and their informants (relatives, friends and partners) not having accurate information on how to safely self-induce an abortion with misoprostol. On the other hand, some women manage to have safe abortion in illegal setting by going to Mexico City or with the support of NGOs knowlegeable on abortion. Findings demonstrate the importance of decriminalization of abortion, but meanwhile, harm reduction strategies, including promotion of accurate information about self-use of misoprostol where abortion is legally restricted will result in safe abortion.
Project description:Limited research in high-income countries (HICs) examines adolescent abortion care-seeking pathways. This review aims to examine the pathways and experiences of adolescents when seeking abortion care, and service delivery processes in provision of such care. We undertook a systematic search of the literature to identify relevant studies in HICs (2000-2020). A directed content analysis of qualitative and quantitative studies was conducted. Findings were organised to one or more of three domains of an a priori conceptual framework: context, components of abortion care and access pathway. Thirty-five studies were included. Themes classified to the Context domain included adolescent-specific and restrictive abortion legislation, mostly focused on the United States. Components of abortion care themes included confidentiality, comprehensive care, and abortion procedure. Access pathway themes included delays to access, abortion procedure information, decision-making, clinic operation and environments, and financial and transportation barriers. This review highlights issues affecting access to abortion that are particularly salient for adolescents, including additional legal barriers and challenges receiving care due to their age. Opportunities to enhance abortion access include removing legal barriers, provision of comprehensive care, enhancing the quality of information, and harnessing innovative delivery approaches offered by medical abortion.
Project description:Abortion is uniquely connected to women's experiences yet women's attitudes towards legal abortion vary across the pro-choice/anti-abortion spectrum. Existing research has focused on sociodemographic characteristics to explain women's levels of abortion support. Here, we argue that abortion attitudes vary with women's perceptions of gender linked fate, or the extent to which some women see their fates as tied to other women. Drawing upon existing research showing that married white women report lower levels of gender linked fate than their non-married counterparts, we assess these relationships for abortion attitudes applying the 2012 American National Election Survey (n = 2,173). Using mediation analysis, we show that lower levels of gender linked fate among married white women (vs. non-married white women) explain their stronger opposition to abortion. As many state governments are increasingly legislating restricted access to legal abortion, understanding factors explaining opposition to legal abortion is urgently important.
Project description:The sizeable mortality gap between the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) and the pre-unified Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) narrowed rapidly after the two states were unified. Despite extensive research, the mechanisms underlying the convergence process are still not fully understood. Significant changes to coding practices and the system of data collection introduced in East Germany shortly after reunification have further complicated the ability of researchers to interpret mortality trends. Our aim is to assess the role of German reunification in the convergence process in light of the evolution of long-term mortality trends by causes of death. Compared to previous studies, we rely on much more detailed mortality data, which we first adjust for notable distortions. We propose an upward correction of cancer mortality, as well as corrections that account for obvious changes in the items selected within the ICD chapter of circulatory diseases. We identify three distinct processes that took place in East Germany around the time of reunification: (1) a sustained reduction in mortality that started before reunification; (2) a temporary increase in mortality in 1990-1991 that was related to the abrupt social transition, as reflected by socially sensitive causes such as accidents, alcohol-related diseases, and acute myocardial infarction; and (3) a reunification-driven process of convergence that was mostly caused by the accelerated decline in mortality from cerebrovascular and chronic heart diseases. Mortality improvements observed in the GDR starting in the 1980s might be interpreted as the first signs of a cardiovascular revolution. Shifts in individual behaviour likely started before reunification, whereas the real progress in medical care occurred later with the implementation of the Western system of health care. We therefore conclude that German reunification per se did not initiate the convergence process, but rather reinforced and accelerated trends that were already apparent.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:Since the US Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion, states have enacted laws restricting access to abortion services. Previous studies suggest that restricting access to abortion is a risk factor for adverse maternal and infant health. The objective of this investigation is to study the relationship between the type and the number of state-level restrictive abortion laws and infant mortality risk. METHODS:We used data on 11,972,629 infants and mothers from the US Cohort Linked Birth/Infant Death Data Files 2008-2010. State-level abortion laws included Medicaid funding restrictions, mandatory parental involvement, mandatory counseling, mandatory waiting period, and two-visit laws. Multilevel logistic regression was used to determine whether type or number of state-level restrictive abortion laws during year of birth were associated with odds of infant mortality. RESULTS:Compared to infants living in states with no restrictive laws, infants living in states with one or two restrictive laws (adjusted odds ratio (AOR) = 1.08; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.99-1.18) and those living in states with 3 to 5 restrictive laws (AOR = 1.10; 95% CI = 1.01-1.20) were more likely to die. Separate analyses examining the relationship between parental involvement laws and infant mortality risk, stratified by maternal age, indicated that significant associations were observed among mothers aged ?19 years (AOR = 1.09, 95% CI = 1.00-1.19), and 20 to 25 years (AOR = 1.10, 95% CI = 1.03-1.17). No significant association was observed among infants born to older mothers. CONCLUSION:Restricting access to abortion services may increase the risk for infant mortality.
Project description:Abortion has been decriminalized in Canada since 1988 and is considered an essential medical service. There is concern that decreasing numbers of abortion providers may impair access to abortion. This study examined the quantity of exposure and education that Canadian family medicine residents receive on abortion during training and their preparation to provide abortions. In addition, the study assessed residents' attitudes, intention and expressed competency to provide abortion in future practice and the association between medical training and changes in these factors.The authors developed a 21-item survey in consultation with experts in medical education. The survey was distributed online in 2016. A total of 1517 family medicine residents in their first, second and third year of training attending 8 English language schools across Canada were invited to participate. Associations between attitudes, education, exposure and intention were assessed using relative risks based on bivariate analysis of self-reported measures and odds ratios from ordered logistic regression.The response rate was 28.7% (436/1517). The majority of residents, 79%, reported never observing or assisting with an abortion during training. Similarly, 80% of residents reported receiving less than 1 hour of formal education on abortion. Residents strongly supported receiving abortion education. Self reported exposure to a single abortion during training was associated with an increase in residents' intention (RR?=?1.95, 95% CI 1.54-2.47) and self-rated competency to provide a medical abortion (RR?=?2.16, 95% CI 1.60-2.93). Twenty five percent of residents were unaware of ethical and legal requirements towards abortion provision and referral.Canadian family medicine residents receive little education or exposure to abortion during training most do not feel competent to provide abortion services. Residents expressed strong support for receiving abortion training. The Canadian College of Family Physicians curriculum does not currently include abortion as a training objective. The authors argue there is a need for family medicine training programs to increase education and exposure to abortion during residency, while respecting residents' rights to opt out of such training. Failure to do so may impair future access to abortion provision.
Project description:Following decades of mainstream bipartisan support, contraception has reemerged as a controversial political issue in the United States. At the same time, opposition to abortion has intensified. State legislatures across the country have enacted highly visible policies limiting access to family planning. Perhaps the most striking example occurred in 2011 in Texas, when legislators instituted unprecedented requirements on abortion providers and cut public funding for contraception by two thirds. Yet, despite popular interpretations of this phenomenon as a simple byproduct of increasing partisan divisions, little is understood about the factors underlying such policy shifts.We fit Bayesian ideal-point models to analyze correlation patterns in record-vote data in the Texas House of Representatives in the 2003 and 2011 Legislatures. Both sessions had large Republican majorities and saw the passage of restrictive abortion bills, but they differed markedly with respect to public funding for contraception.We demonstrate that variation in voting on family-planning issues cannot be fully attributed to partisanship in either session. However, the politics of abortion and contraception have converged over time, and - at least for Democrats - the correlation between constituency characteristics and voting behavior on family-planning legislation is markedly higher in 2011 than in 2003. These shifts have been partly driven by legislators from high-poverty, majority Latino districts near the US-Mexico border.Recent dramatic shifts in family-planning policy go beyond simple partisan divisions. As the politics of abortion and contraception have converged, policies that are increasingly hostile to reproductive health and that disproportionately affect low-income minority women have emerged.Recent shifts in family-planning policy restrict women's access to contraception and abortion, yet little research has examined why such shifts are occurring. This paper analyzes factors underlying voting behavior on restrictive policies in Texas. Identification of these factors helps us to better understand the current political climate surrounding our field.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>One in three women in the United Kingdom (UK) will have an abortion before age 45, making abortion provision an essential aspect of reproductive healthcare. Despite this, abortion remains ethically contested and stigmatised, with variable teaching in UK medical schools and concerns about falling numbers of doctors willing to participate in abortion care. University College London Medical School (UCLMS) has designed practical, inclusive, teaching that aims to give students an understanding of the importance of abortion care and prepare them to be competent practitioners in this area. This study aimed to determine students' opinions of this teaching and their wider attitudes towards abortion.<h4>Methods</h4>We invited all 357 final-year UCL medical students to complete an online survey consisting of closed-ended questions, exploring their opinions on their abortion teaching, their personal beliefs about abortion and their future willingness to be involved in abortion care. We analysed responses using non-parametric tests.<h4>Results</h4>One hundred and forty-six questionnaires (41% response rate) showed 83% of students identified as pro-choice (agree with the right to choose an abortion). Fifty-seven percent felt they received the right amount of abortion teaching, 39% would have liked more and 4% stated they received too much. There was no correlation between students' attitudes to abortion and the rating of teaching; both pro-choice and pro-life (opposed to the right to choose an abortion) students generally rated the teaching as important and valued the range of methods used. Students requested more simulated practice speaking to patients requesting an abortion. Students with pro-life beliefs expressed lower willingness to discuss, refer, certify and provide future abortions. Students interested in careers in specialties where they may encounter abortion were more likely to be pro-choice than pro-life.<h4>Conclusions</h4>The majority of participating UCL medical students were pro-choice and willing to be involved in future abortion care. Efforts to make teaching on abortion practical, engaging, sensitive and inclusive were appreciated. As well as preparing students to be competent and caring practitioners, the teaching appears to contribute towards them viewing abortion as an essential aspect of women's healthcare, and may contribute to destigmatising abortion.
Project description:The relationship between lay theories of gender and attitudes to abortion policy has received minimal empirical attention. An ongoing theoretical debate in the psychological essentialism literature queries whether biological attributions causally influence social attitudes or primarily function to justify existing attitudinal commitments. The current research used the context of a national referendum on abortion in Ireland to investigate whether endorsement of certain gender theories is contingent on their rhetorical construction as supporting particular attitudes to abortion. Two experimental studies were conducted online in the three weeks preceding the Irish abortion referendum. The studies tested whether participants would adapt their causal gender beliefs after reading that biological (Study 1; N = 348) or social (Study 2; N = 241) accounts of gender supported or conflicted with their intended vote in the referendum. Both studies showed the opposite effect: causal gender theories presented as conflicting with participants' voting intentions subsequently showed elevated support, relative to theories that purportedly aligned with participants' voting intentions. While results confirm that lay theories of gender are mutable, the direction of effects does not support the proposition that gender theories are selectively endorsed to support existing socio-political attitudes to abortion. Potential mechanisms for the results observed are discussed.
Project description:CONTEXT:Legal abortion restrictions, stigma and fear can inhibit people's voices in clinical and social settings posing barriers to decision-making and abortion care. The internet allows individuals to make informed decisions privately. We explored what state-level policy dimensions were associated with volume of Google searches on abortion and on the abortion pill in 2018. METHODS:We used Google Trends to quantify the relative search volume (RSV) for "abortion" and "abortion pill" (or "abortion pills" hereafter referred to as "abortion pill") as a proportion of total search volume for all queries in each US state. We also identified the top search queries most related to "abortion" and "abortion pill" and considered these as indicators of population concern. Key exposures were healthcare cost, access and health outcomes, and number of legal restrictions and protections at the state level. In descriptive analyses, we first grouped the states into tertiles according to their RSV on "abortion" and "abortion pill". To examine the association between each exposure (and other covariates) with the two outcomes, we used unadjusted and adjusted linear regression. RESULTS:The average RSV for "abortion" in the low, moderate and high tertile groups was 48 (SD = 3.25), 55.5 (SD = 2.11) and 64 (SD = 4.72) (p-value <0.01) respectively; for "abortion pill" the average RSVs were 39.6 (SD = 16.68), 61.9 (SD = 5.82) and 81.7 (SD = 6.67) (p-value < 0.01) respectively. Concerns about contraceptive availability and access, and unplanned pregnancies independently predicted the relative search volumes for abortion and abortion pill. According to our baseline models, states with low contraceptive access had far higher abortion searches. Volume of abortion pill searches was additionally positively associated with poor health outcomes, poor access to abortion facilities and non-rurality. CONCLUSION:Search traffic analysis can help discern abortion-policy influences on population concerns and require close monitoring. State-policies can predict search volume for abortion and abortion pill. In 2018, concerns about contraceptives and unplanned pregnancies, predicted abortion searches. Current decreases in public contraceptive funding and the Title X Gag rule designed to block millions of people from getting care at Planned Parenthood, the largest provider of birth control and abortion care, may increase concerns about unintended pregnancies that can lead to increases in online relative volume of abortion searches.