Advancing Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights
Family Planning Perspectives
Volume 27, Number 5, September/October 1995

Knowledge and Perceptions of Medical Abortion Among Potential Users

By S. Marie Harvey, Linda J. Beckman, Mary Ann Castle and Francine Coeytaux

Nearly two-thirds of 73 women aged 18-34 who participated in focus groups on medical abortion conducted in three cities had heard about this new abortion method, but only a few could describe it accurately. Once the method was described to them, they cited its potential advantages over vacuum aspiration as being fewer major complications, the absence of surgery, a greater "naturalness," and its use earlier in pregnancy. Women listed as disadvantages the multiple visits needed for medical abortion, the unknown aspects of the new technology, especially regarding the expulsion of the conceptus, and concern that mifepristone would make an abortion too easy and lead some women to take the decision lightly. More than one-third of discussants said they would choose mifepristone if the method were available.

(Family Planning Perspectives, 27:203-207, 1995)

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