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Gac Sanit. 2018 Dec 21. pii: S0213-9111(18)30251-6. doi: 10.1016/j.gaceta.2018.11.004. [Epub ahead of print]

[Decriminalization of abortion in Chile: a mixed method approach based on perception of abortion in the community population].

[Article in Spanish]

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Núcleo Científico Tecnológico en Ciencias Sociales y Humanidades, Universidad de La Frontera, Temuco, Chile; Departamento de Psicología, Universidad de La Frontera, Temuco, Chile. Electronic address:
Núcleo Científico Tecnológico en Ciencias Sociales y Humanidades, Universidad de La Frontera, Temuco, Chile; Centro de Investigación sobre Desafíos Internacionales, Universidad de La Frontera, Temuco, Chile.
Departamento de Psicología, Universidad de Magallanes, Punta Arenas, Chile.



To identify the variables and the axiological argumentations that configure the perception of abortion as a crime, in a sample of a city in southern Chile during the debate of law 21.030.


The design is quantitative, observational correlation cross-sectional followed by a qualitative approach. The quantitative sample of 289 members of the community of Temuco (Chile) answered a questionnaire about social categories, and their perception of the seriousness of 15 behaviours defined in Chile as crimes. For the qualitative phase, we carried out 12 semi-standardized interviews in the same community, subject to content analysis, incorporating some elements of grounded theory from the constructivist perspective.


Regardless of sex, more than half of the study sample considers abortion to be between a serious and an extremely serious crime, despite its current decriminalization. Religious people, no matter what kind of religion, political conservatives and people of a lower educational level, perceive abortion as a serious crime. Frequency of participation in religious events has a mediating effect. The qualitative results establish t religious teaching as a very important argument to reject abortion, and that the perception of the severity of abortion as a crime is multidimensional.


Religion and a conservative political vision affect the traditional constructions of gender and motherhood, and therefore, there is a marked tendency to reject abortion. These results emphasize the need to pay special attention to the acceptance of Law 21.030 on the voluntary termination of pregnancy in regions. This is important for effective application of the Law.


Abortion; Aborto; Educational level; Escolaridad; Impression of severity; Percepción; Perception; Politics; Política; Religion; Religión; Sensación de gravedad

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