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Salud Colect. 2016 Jan-Mar;12(1):23-39. doi: 10.18294/sc.2016.857.

[Tensions between the (il)legal and the (il)legitimate in professional health practices regarding women who seek abortion].

[Article in Spanish]

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Doctora en Ciencias Sociales. Coordinadora del Programa Género, Salud Reproductiva y Sexualidades, Instituto Psicología de la Salud, Facultad de Psicología, Universidad de la República, Montevideo, Uruguay.


The implementation of a pre- and post-abortion health care strategy, adopted in 2004 in Uruguay within a restrictive legal context prior to the decriminalization of abortion in 2012, opened a window of opportunity to link women facing unwanted pregnancies and abortion to health services in order to prevent unsafe abortion practices. This article looks into the tensions generated by the change of focus from maternal-child health to health and sexual and reproductive rights, and how those tensions operate. Using semi-structured interviews and focus groups, the practices and perception and assessment frameworks of professionals in their care of women facing unwanted pregnancy and abortion in the National Integrated Health System in Montevideo are analyzed. The results offer insights into some of the barriers and difficulties that can currently be observed in the implementation of the new law.

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