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

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  • Janet Currie
  • Lucia Nixon
  • Nancy Cole

Abstract

Previous research suggests that restricting the availability of abortion reduces average birth weight by increasing the number of unhealthy fetuses that are carried to term. In this paper we use data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth to ask whether restrictions on Medicaid funding of abortion have this effect. We attempt to account for the potential endogeneity of abortion laws by comparing the effects of liberal statutes to those of court injunctions ordering states to fund abortion. Our results suggest that restrictions do increase the probability that African-American and low income women carry a pregnancy to term, but that they have no direct effect on birth weight. In contrast, community-level measures of the availability of abortion, contraception, and prenatal care do affect birth weight among African-Americans but not among whites.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4432
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Levine, P.B. & Staiger, D. & Kane, T.J. & Zimmerman, D.J., 1999. "Roe v Wade and American fertility," American Journal of Public Health, American Public Health Association, vol. 89(2), pages 199-203.
    3. Joshua D. Angrist & William N. Evans, 1996. "Schooling and Labor Market Consequences of the 1970 State Abortion Reforms," NBER Working Papers 5406, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Jonathan Gruber & Phillip Levine & Douglas Staiger, 1999. "Abortion Legalization and Child Living Circumstances: Who is the "Marginal Child"?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 114(1), pages 263-291.
    5. Phillip B. Levine & Douglas Staiger, 2002. "Abortion as Insurance," NBER Working Papers 8813, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Bisakha Sen, 2003. "A preliminary investigation of the effects of restrictions on Medicaid funding for abortions on female STD rates," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(6), pages 453-464, June.
    7. Currie, Janet & Grogger, Jeffrey, 2002. "Medicaid expansions and welfare contractions: offsetting effects on prenatal care and infant health?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 313-335, March.
    8. 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.
    9. Phillip B. Levine, 2002. "The Impact of Social Policy and Economic Activity Throughout the Fertility Decision Tree," NBER Working Papers 9021, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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