State Abortion Rates: The Impact of Policies, Providers, Politics, Demographics, and Economic Environment

70 Pages Posted: 29 Nov 2006 Last revised: 7 Apr 2021

See all articles by Rebecca M. Blank

Rebecca M. Blank

U.S. Department of Commerce

Christine C. George

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Rebecca A. London

Stanford University

Date Written: September 1994

Abstract

This paper uses data on abortion rates from 1974-88, to estimate two-stage least squares models with fixed state and year effects. The results indicate that implementing restrictions on Medicaid funding for abortion results in lower aggregate abortion rates in-state and higher abortion rates among nearby states, suggesting one of the main effects of these policies is to induce cross-state migration for abortion services. The effect of these restrictions on actual abortions among state residents is much smaller; a maximal estimate suggests that 22 percent of the abortions among low-income women that are publicly funded do not take place after funding is eliminated. We also have substantial evidence that a larger number of abortion providers in a state increases the abortion rate within the state, primarily through inducing cross-state migration, with nonhospital providers being particularly important. Political affiliation variables have mixed effects and are difficult to interpret. Controlling for state fixed effects, the effect of changes in demographic and economic variables over time is typically small, although a rise in unemployment has consistently positive effects on abortion rates.

Suggested Citation

Blank, Rebecca M. and George, Christine C. and London, Rebecca A., State Abortion Rates: The Impact of Policies, Providers, Politics, Demographics, and Economic Environment (September 1994). NBER Working Paper No. w4853, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=947795

Rebecca M. Blank (Contact Author)

U.S. Department of Commerce ( email )

1401 Constitution Ave, N.W.
Rm 5838, HCHB
Washington, DC 20230
United States
202-482-3727 (Phone)

Christine C. George

affiliation not provided to SSRN

No Address Available

Rebecca A. London

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

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