Abstract

This article empirically assesses whether age-restricted access to abortion and the birth control pill influence minors’ fertility in the United States. There is not a strong consensus in previous literature regarding the relationship between laws restricting minors’ access to abortion and minors’ birth-rates. This is the first study to recognize that state laws in place prior to the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision enabled minors to legally consent to surgical treatment—including abortion—in some states but not in others, and to construct abortion access variables reflecting this. In this article, age-specific policy variables measure either a minor’s legal ability to obtain an abortion or to obtain the birth control pill without parental involvement. I find fairly strong evidence that young women’s birthrates dropped as a result of abortion access as well as evidence that birth control pill access led to a drop in birthrates among whites.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-7790
Print ISSN
0070-3370
Pages
pp. 817-827
Launched on MUSE
2008-11-26
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Archived 2010
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