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State reproductive policies and adolescent pregnancy resolution: The case of parental involvement laws

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  • Joyce, Theodore
  • Kaestner, Robert

Abstract

State laws regulating abortion have increased markedly in the wake of recent Supreme Court decisions. We test whether one form of abortion regulation, parental involvement laws, affects how pregnancies are resolved. Specifically, we examine whether laws that require minors to notify or obtain consent from a parent before receiving an abortion affect the likelihood that a pregnancy will be terminated. We use individual data on births and abortions from three southern states, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. A distinguishing characteristic of our data is the large sample of abortions, the quality of reporting, and information on individual and county characteristics. We detect no significant effects of parental involvement laws on the probability of abortion for minors as a single treatment group, a finding contrary to several recent studies. We do find, however, that for non-black minors 16 years of age, South Carolina's parent consent statute is associated with a 10 percentage point fall in the probability of abortion, a relative decline of over 20 percent. We believe this to be an upper bound estimate given potential underreporting of induced terminations. We also find a comparatively weak relationship between distance from an abortion provider and the probability that a pregnancy is aborted. We conclude that minors include their parents in the decision to terminate a pregnancy. Other minors seek abortion in a neighboring state. Overall, the impact of parental involvement laws on the pregnancy resolution of minors is not large.
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  • Joyce, Theodore & Kaestner, Robert, 1996. "State reproductive policies and adolescent pregnancy resolution: The case of parental involvement laws," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(5), pages 579-607, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:15:y:1996:i:5:p:579-607
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    1. Rogers, J.L. & Boruch, R.F. & Stoms, G.B. & DeMoya, D., 1991. "Impact of the Minnesota parental notification law on abortion and birth," American Journal of Public Health, American Public Health Association, vol. 81(3), pages 294-298.
    2. Deborah Haas-Wilson, 1996. "The Impact of State Abortion Restrictions on Minors' Demand for Abortions," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(1), pages 140-158.
    3. Blum, R.W. & Resnick, M.D. & Stark, T.A., 1987. "The impact of a parental notification law on adolescent abortion decision-making," American Journal of Public Health, American Public Health Association, vol. 77(5), pages 619-620.
    4. Theodore Joyce, 1987. "The impact of induced abortion on black and white birth outcomes in the United States," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 24(2), pages 229-244, May.
    5. Matthews, S. & Ribar, D. & Wilhelm, M., 1995. "The Effects of Economic Conditions and Access to Reproductive Health Services on State Abortion and Birth Rates," Papers 7-95-4, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
    6. Elise Jones & Jacqueline Forrest, 1992. "Underreporting of abortion in surveys of U.S. women: 1976 to 1988," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 29(1), pages 113-126, February.
    7. Elizabeth Cooksey, 1990. "Factors in the Resolution of Adolescent Premarital Pregnancies," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 27(2), pages 207-218, May.
    8. Grossman, Michael & Joyce, Theodore J, 1990. "Unobservables, Pregnancy Resolutions, and Birth Weight Production Functions in New York City," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages 983-1007, October.
    9. Janet Currie & Lucia Nixon & Nancy Cole, 1993. "Restrictions on Medicaid Funding of Abortion: Effects on Pregnancy Resolutions and Birth Weight," NBER Working Papers 4432, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Arleen Leibowitz & Winston Chow & Marvin Eisen, 1986. "An economic model of teenage pregnancy decision-making," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 23(1), pages 67-77, February.
    11. Cartoof, V.G. & Klerman, L.V., 1986. "Parental consent for abortion: Impact of the Massachusetts law," American Journal of Public Health, American Public Health Association, vol. 76(4), pages 397-400.
    12. Gruber, Jonathan, 1994. "The Incidence of Mandated Maternity Benefits," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 622-641, June.
    13. Joyce, Theodore & Kaestner, Robert, 1996. "State reproductive policies and adolescent pregnancy resolution: The case of parental involvement laws," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(5), pages 579-607, October.
    14. Deborah Haas-Wilson, 1993. "The economic impact of state restrictions on abortion: Parental consent and notification laws and medicaid funding restrictions," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(3), pages 498-511.
    15. Theodore Joyce & Michael Grossman, 1990. "Pregnancy wantedness and the early initiation of prenatal care," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 27(1), pages 1-17, February.
    16. Robert L. Ohsfeldt & Stephan F. Gohmann, 1994. "Do Parental Involvement Laws Reduce Adolescent Abortion Rates?," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 12(2), pages 65-76, April.
    17. Thomas J. Kane & Douglas Staiger, 1996. "Teen Motherhood and Abortion Access," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(2), pages 467-506.
    18. Levine, Phillip B. & Trainor, Amy B. & Zimmerman, David J., 1996. "The effect of Medicaid abortion funding restrictions on abortions, pregnancies and births," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(5), pages 555-578, October.
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    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics

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