ISSN: 1550-7521

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Research Article Open Access

The Abortion Debate in a Mexican Online Forum: Globalization, Religion, and Politics

Abstract

The globalization of information and communications has shaped and influenced the abortion debate in Mexico. In recent years, abortion has risen on the Mexican public agenda and policymakers have seriously considered and implemented legal reforms liberating abortion laws. In March 2006, at the height of a presidential campaign, El Universal online hosted an online forum asking readers what they would ask presidential candidates about abortion. Two investigators analyzed a sample of 245 comments. Of these, 40% were pro-choice, 30% anti-abortion, 12% mixed opinion, and 18% unknown opinion. Arguments by pro-choice readers were that legal abortion is a hallmark of modern secular society and can prevent maternal mortality and unwanted children, whereas anti-abortion comments equated abortion to murder. Readers on both sides of the abortion debate supported increased education about and access to contraceptive methods, and those that opposed abortion did not cite religious arguments in justifying their positions. This online forum provides a case study of how the international abortion debate manifests itself among influential newspaper readers in Mexico, the second largest Catholic country in the world.

Eileen A. Yam, MPH, Emily Vala-Haynes, MPH

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