[Women's opinions on abortion legalization in a county in southern Brazil] Opiniao de mulheres sobre a legalizacao do aborto em municipio de porte medio no sul do Brasil.
A questionnaire-based study was carried out in the city of Rio Grande, Brazil, during January and February 1995, enlisting 1456 women of reproductive age (15-49 years) to obtain information about demographic, socioeconomic, and reproductive variables and seek their opinions about the issue of legalization of abortion. Approximately 15% were adolescents (15-19 years of age), 60% were aged 20-39, and the rest were 40 years old or older. Approximately 20% of them had already undergone at least 1 abortion. 25% of these interventions were done by using misoprostol. 30% of the women were in favor of legalizing abortion in any situation. The main reason cited was the lack of necessary finances to guarantee an acceptable quality of life for the child (53%); 17% agreed that legalization would reduce the incidence of clandestine abortions and consequently maternal morbidity and mortality. Among women who opposed the legalization, 26% said abortion should not be used for contraception; 20% considered it a crime. Only 20% of the low-income family women concurred with the legalization of abortion, whereas 41% of those did whose family income was 6 times the minimum monthly earnings. Only 13% among the illiterate group of women approved legalization versus 50% of the women who had 12 or more years of education (p < 0.001). A multivariate analysis indicated that the opinion in favor of legalization was 2.1 times higher among women aged 45 years or older in comparison to women aged 15-19 years. The odds ratio and relative risk of such opinion among women with 9 or more years of education was approximately 5 times higher than among women without any schooling. The odds ratio of favoring legalization of abortion among women who had deliberately interrupted their pregnancy was 3.3.