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Abortion Access and Risky Sex Among Teens: Parental Involvement Laws and Sexually Transmitted Diseases

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  • Thomas Stratmann

Abstract

Laws requiring minors to seek parental consent or to notify a parent prior to obtaining an abortion raise the cost of risky sex for teenagers. Assuming choices to engage in risky sex are made rationally, parental involvement laws should lead to less risky sex among teens, either because of a reduction of sexual activity altogether or because teens will be more fastidious in the use of birth control ex ante . Using gonorrhea rates among older women to control for unobserved heterogeneity across states, our results indicate that the enactment of parental involvement laws significantly reduces risky sexual activity among teenage girls. We estimate reductions in gonorrhea rates of 20% for Hispanics and 12% for whites. Although we find a relatively small reduction in rates for black girls, it is not statistically significant. We speculate that the racial heterogeneity has to do with differences in family structure across races. The Author 2007. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Yale University. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oxfordjournals.org, Oxford University Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal The Journal of Law, Economics, & Organization.

Volume (Year): 24 (2008)
Issue (Month): 1 (May)
Pages: 2-21

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Handle: RePEc:oup:jleorg:v:24:y:2008:i:1:p:2-21

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Cited by:
  1. Madeline Zavodny & David Paton, 2006. "Teenage Pregnancy Risk: the impact of parental involvement for contraception," Occasional Papers 18, Industrial Economics Division.
  2. Silvie Colman & Thomas S. Dee & Theodore J. Joyce, 2013. "Do Parental Involvement Laws Deter Risky Teen Sex?," NBER Working Papers 18810, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Sen, Bisakha & Wingate, Martha Slay & Kirby, Russell, 2012. "The relationship between state abortion-restrictions and homicide deaths among children under 5 years of age: A longitudinal study," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 156-164.
  4. Sourafel Girma & David Paton, 2013. "Does Parental Consent for Birth Control Affect Underage Pregnancy Rates? The Case of Texas," Demography, Springer, vol. 50(6), pages 2105-2128, December.
  5. Jonathan Klick & Sven Neelsen & Thomas Stratmann, 2009. "The Effect of Abortion Liberalization on Sexual Behavior: International Evidence," Ifo Working Paper Series Ifo Working Paper Nr. 79, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
  6. Girma, Sourafel & Paton, David, 2011. "The impact of emergency birth control on teen pregnancy and STIs," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 373-380, March.

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