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Restrictions on Medicaid Funding of Abortion: Effects on Birth Weight and Pregnancy Resolutions

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  • Janet Currie
  • Lucia Nixon
  • Nancy Cole

Abstract

Previous research suggests that restricting the availability of abortion reduces average birth weight. In this paper we use data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth to reexamine this question. Most previous studies have estimated the probability that a pregnancy is carried to term, and then used these estimates to calculate "selection corrections" that are included in models of birth weight. We focus instead on reduced form models of birth weight that are not affected by underreporting of abortion, and that do not involve strong identifying restrictions. We also explore the potential endogeneity of abortion laws by comparing jurisdictions with abortion restrictions to jurisdictions where restrictive laws have been passed but are enjoined by the courts. Our results provide little support for the hypothesis that restrictions reduce average birth weight. We also find some evidence that abortion restrictions are endogenous, and that estimated effects on birth weight may reflect unobserved characteristics of states.
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Suggested Citation

  • Janet Currie & Lucia Nixon & Nancy Cole, "undated". "Restrictions on Medicaid Funding of Abortion: Effects on Birth Weight and Pregnancy Resolutions," Mathematica Policy Research Reports e2af26ac64da4ac69303adb3f, Mathematica Policy Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:mpr:mprres:e2af26ac64da4ac69303adb3fb275afd
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    File URL: http://www.econ.ucla.edu/people/papers/currie/more/abort.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
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    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
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