Elective abortion has become an issue of ethical and political debate in many countries including Mexico. As gynecologists are directly involved in the practice of abortion, it is important to know the psychological meaning that the term ‘elective abortion’ has for them. This study explores the psychological meaning and attitudes toward elective abortion of one hundred and twenty-three Mexican gynecologists. We used the semantic networks technique, which analyzed the words the participants associated with the term ‘elective abortion’.
The defining words most frequently used by participants implied a negative sanction. There were important differences by gender and religiosity: male gynecologists, as well as those with strong religious beliefs (mainly Catholics), revealed a more negative psychological meaning and more negative attitudes than females or physicians with weak religious beliefs. A contribution of the present study is that it highlights the importance of psychology to enhancing understanding of the issue of elective abortion.