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October 2021

J Am Med Womens Assoc. 1998 ; 53(5 Suppl 2): 262-5.

Emergency contraceptive pills: an exploratory study of knowledge and perceptions among Mexican women from both sides of the border.

Thorburn S, Harvey SM, Beckman LJ.

Center for the Study of Women in Society, University of Oregon, Eugene, USA.

A focus group study was conducted to explore what Mexican women from both sides of the US-Mexican border do to prevent pregnancy after unprotected intercourse, including their use of emergency contraceptive pills (ECPs); to examine their knowledge and perceptions of ECPs; and to explore what might influence Mexican women's use of ECPs. Eight focus groups (four in Mexico and four in California) were conducted with 55 sexually active Mexican women age 18 to 34. The women discussed a variety of postcoital methods intended to prevent pregnancy including herbs and injections. Although a third of the women had heard of ECPs, their knowledge was very limited. After being informed about the characteristics of ECPs, participants had many positive comments, preferring them to unplanned pregnancies and abortions. A major topic was whether or not ECPs are abortifacients. Having information about ECPs, a woman's personal circumstances, interpersonal factors, and the role of culture and religion were factors they thought would influence a woman's use of ECPs. After the focus group discussions, 95% of the women said they would use ECPs. Mexican women's acceptance and use of ECPs will likely depend on a host of factors within the broader context of their lives.

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