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The effects of short-term variation in abortion funding on pregnancy outcomes

  • Cook, Philip J.
  • Parnell, Allan M.
  • Moore, Michael J.
  • Pagnini, Deanna

In 1978 North Carolina created a special fund to pay for abortions for indigent women. The appropriations for that fund have proven inadequate during five of the years in which it has been in operation, with the result in each case that no state funding was available for several months. This on-again, off-again funding pattern provides a natural experiment for" estimating the short-run effect of changes in the cost of abortions on the number of abortions (and births) to indigent women. We utilize a unique dataset obtained from the State, which includes individual records for all pregnancies terminated in the State since 1978. We estimate the effects of funding termination on the abortion rate per month, the birth rate per month (adjusted to take account of variations in gestation periods), and the probability that a pregnancy will end in abortion, for various demographic groups. The results suggest that the decisions of poor black women aged 18-29 are particularly sensitive to the availability of abortion funding. Overall, approximately 3 in every 10 pregnancies that would have resulted in an abortion, had state funds been available, are instead carried to term.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Health Economics.

Volume (Year): 18 (1999)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
Pages: 241-257

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:18:y:1999:i:2:p:241-257
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  1. Akerlof, George A & Yellen, Janet L & Katz, Michael L, 1996. "An Analysis of Out-of-Wedlock Childbearing in the United States," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(2), pages 277-317, May.
  2. Rebecca M. Blank & Christine C. George & Rebecca A. London, 1994. "State Abortion Rates: The Impact of Policies, Providers, Politics, Demographics, and Economic Environment," NBER Working Papers 4853, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Janet Currie & Lucia Nixon & Nancy Cole, 1996. "Restrictions on Medicaid Funding of Abortion: Effects on Birth Weight and Pregnancy Resolutions," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(1), pages 159-188.
  4. 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 4-95-15, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
  5. 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.
  6. Phillip B. Levine & Douglas Staiger & Thomas J. Kane & David J. Zimmerman, 1996. "Roe v. Wade and American Fertility," NBER Working Papers 5615, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Klerman, J.A. & Jackson, C.A., 1993. "Fixed Effects,Public Policy and Teenage Fertility," Papers 93-24, RAND - Labor and Population Program.
  8. Michael Grossman & Steven Jacobowitz, 1981. "Variations in Infant Mortality Rates among Counties in the United States: The Roles of Social Policies and Programs," NBER Working Papers 0615, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Kane, Thomas J & Staiger, Douglas, 1996. "Teen Motherhood and Abortion Access," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(2), pages 467-506, May.
  10. Levine, P.B. & Trainor, A.B. & Zimmerman, D.J., 1995. "The Effect of Medicaid Abortion Funding Restrictions on Abortions, Pregnancies, Birth," Papers 95-08, Wellesley College - Department of Economics.
  11. Theodore Joyce & Michael Grossman, 1990. "Pregnancy wantedness and the early initiation of prenatal care," Demography, Springer, vol. 27(1), pages 1-17, February.
  12. 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.
  13. Theodore Joyce & Robert Kaestner, 1996. "The effect of expansions in medicaid income eligibility on abortion," Demography, Springer, vol. 33(2), pages 181-192, May.
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