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Evidence, rigor, and strategy: Building a program of research to inform abortion policy in Latin America

Blair Darney, PhD, MPH, Oregon Health & Science University, 2015

Project abstract

The purpose of this research and career development proposal is to comprehensively address research needs in abortion in Mexico. This proposal responds to key gaps. We have limited evidence about one of the landmark abortion policy and service reforms in recent history: the legalization of first trimester abortion in Mexico City. We also have failed to respond to anti-abortion “junk science,” which influences policy in the region. Finally, we lack a proactive, strategic research agenda to inform efforts to change abortion laws in other Mexican states, across Latin America, and worldwide. The aims of this proposal are to 1) evaluate public sector abortion services in Mexico City to ensure coverage of at-need populations (2007-2014); 2) critically respond to recent anti-abortion publications; and 3) work with stakeholders to develop a strategic abortion research agenda. I am uniquely poised to carry out these aims, in collaboration with my international multidisciplinary mentorship team. I propose to expand my skills to include health system organization and research in Mexico, and to gain mentoring experience to build local capacity for abortion research, which is essential to integrating abortion into clinical and academic practice worldwide. This proposal directly responds to top SFP research priorities (e.g. adolescents, primary care health systems, restrictive settings) and meets the goals of the SFP Jr. Investigator award. It will allow me to build my knowledge, skills, and research mentor network, conduct an important study, and launch a program of abortion research that will directly impact global clinical service delivery and policy.

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