This study aims to describe trends in inequalities by women’s socioeconomic position and age in induced abortion in Barcelona (Spain) over 1992–1996 and 2000–2004. Induced abortions occurring in residents in Barcelona aged 20 and 44 years in the study period are included. Variables are age, educational level, and time periods. Induced abortion rates per 1,000 women and absolute differences for educational level, age, and time period are calculated. Poisson regression models are fitted to obtain the relative risk (RR) for trends. Induced abortion rates increased from 10.1 to 14.6 per 1,000 women aged 20–44 (RR = 1.44; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.41–1.47) between 1992–1996 and 2000–2004. The abortion rate was highest among women aged 20–24 and 25–34 and changed little among women aged 35–44. Among women aged 20–24 and 25–34, those with a primary education or less had higher rates of induced abortion in the second period. Induced abortion rates also grew in those women with secondary education. In the 35–44 age group, the induced abortion rate declined among women with a secondary education (RR = 0.66; 95% CI 0.60–0.73) and slightly among those with a greater level of education. Induced abortion is rising most among women in poor socioeconomic positions. This study reveals deep inequalities in induced abortion in Barcelona, Spain. The trends identified in this study suggest that policy efforts to reduce unintended pregnancies are failing in Spain. Our study fills an important gap in literature on recent trends in Southern Europe.
Reproductive health Urban health Educational level Induced abortion Pregnancy planning
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We thank Roser Bosser and Rosa Gispert from the Health Department and Birgit Ferran and Dave McFarlane for their help in editing the manuscript.
This study was partially funded by the Fondo de Investigaciones Sanitarias (project number PI052618) Ministry of Health and by the Network of Biomedical Investigation of Epidemiology and Public Health of Spain (CIBERESP).
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