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Revista Brasileira de Epidemiologia

Print version ISSN 1415-790X


FUSCO, Carmen L. B.; ANDREONI, Solange  and  SILVA, Rebeca de Souza e. Epidemiology of unsafe abortion in a poverty stricken environment Favela Inajar de Souza, São Paulo, Brazil. Rev. bras. epidemiol. [online]. 2008, vol.11, n.1, pp.78-88. ISSN 1415-790X.

This article compares the results of a survey carried out recently in a poverty stricken environment in São Paulo, Brazil - a country where abortion is illegal in most circumstances- to data from Cuba - where abortion is safe and legal, and data registries are reliable. A cross-sectional survey was conducted in a community in the north side of the city, called Favela Inajar de Souza, with the purpose of estimating the frequency of unsafe, clandestine abortions and identifying socio-demographic characteristics and morbidity related to abortion in a poor population. All women aged 15 to 54 years that lived in this community (Census) were interviewed for this survey. The Chi-Square Test and the Fisher exact test were used for categorical variables, and analysis of variance was used for numeric variables. Throughout the analysis, the statistical significance level of 5% (p<0.05) was adopted. A high number of unsafe abortions and a high rate of post-abortion complications were detected in the studied population - the community of Favela Inajar. With regard to induced abortions, the only common features between the two populations were age and civil status. As opposed to what happens in Cuba, the analysis of the data from Favela Inajar shows that there were statistically significant associations between unsafe abortion and: income, educational level, internal migration and ethnicity. These findings indicate that this population is particularly vulnerable to unsafe abortion in face of the several forms of structural violence present in Brazil, which produce social inequity. The performance of safe and legal abortion, as is the case in Cuba, would change this scenario. Legalization of abortion in Brazil would mostly benefit poor women.

Keywords : Unsafe Abortion; Epidemiology; Poverty; Maternal Mortality; Vulnerability; Social Inequity.

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