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How Far Is Too Far? New Evidence on Abortion Clinic Closures, Access, and Abortions

Author

Listed:
  • Scott Cunningham
  • Jason M. Lindo
  • Caitlin Myers
  • Andrea Schlosser

Abstract

We estimate the effects of abortion-clinic closures on clinic access and abortions using variation generated by Texas HB2, a “TRAP” law that shuttered nearly half of Texas' abortion clinics in late 2013. Our results suggest a substantial and non-linear effect of distance to clinics. Increases from less than 50 miles to 50-100, 100-150, and 150-200 miles reduce abortion rates by 15, 25, and 40 percent, respectively, while additional increases in distance appear to have no additional effect. We also introduce a proxy for congestion that captures the potential for there to be effects of closures which have little impact on distance but which reduce per-capita capacity. We demonstrate that this is also an important mechanism through which closures affect abortion; moreover, ignoring this mechanism causes the effects of distance to be somewhat overstated. Several features of the data imply that magnitude of the effects on abortion are too big to be explained by interstate travel. That said, the results of a simulation exercise demonstrates that the effects are too small to plausibly be detected in analyses of birth rates.

Suggested Citation

  • Scott Cunningham & Jason M. Lindo & Caitlin Myers & Andrea Schlosser, 2017. "How Far Is Too Far? New Evidence on Abortion Clinic Closures, Access, and Abortions," NBER Working Papers 23366, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23366 Note: CH HC HE LE PE
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Elizabeth Oltmans Ananat & Jonathan Gruber & Phillip Levine, 2007. "Abortion Legalization and Life-Cycle Fertility," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(2).
    2. repec:eee:jhecon:v:55:y:2017:i:c:p:168-185 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Joanna Lahey, 2014. "The Effect of Anti-Abortion Legislation on Nineteenth Century Fertility," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 51(3), pages 939-948, June.
    4. Robert Picard, 2010. "GEONEAR: Stata module to find nearest neighbors using geodetic distances," Statistical Software Components S457146, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 22 Feb 2012.
    5. Joyce, Ted & Tan, Ruoding & Zhang, Yuxiu, 2013. "Abortion before & after Roe," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 804-815.
    6. Yao Lu & David J. G. Slusky, 2016. "The Impact of Women's Health Clinic Closures on Preventive Care," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 8(3), pages 100-124, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Diego Amador, 2017. "The Consequences of Abortion and Contraception Policies on Young Women’s Reproductive Choices, Schooling and Labor Supply," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 015635, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
    2. Stefanie Fischer & Heather Royer & Corey White, 2017. "The Impacts of Reduced Access to Abortion and Family Planning Services on Abortion, Births, and Contraceptive Purchases," NBER Working Papers 23634, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Stefanie Fischer & Heather Royer & Corey White, 2017. "The Impacts of Reduced Access to Abortion and Family Planning Services: Evidence from Texas," Working Papers 1705, California Polytechnic State University, Department of Economics.
    4. Stefanie Fischer & Heather Royer & Corey White, 2017. "The Impacts of Reduced Access to Abortion and Family Planning Services on Abortion, Births, and Contraceptive Purchases," Working Papers 1706, California Polytechnic State University, Department of Economics.
    5. Martha J. Bailey & Jason M. Lindo, 2017. "Access and Use of Contraception and Its Effects on Women’s Outcomes in the U.S," NBER Working Papers 23465, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • K23 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Regulated Industries and Administrative Law

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