Mandatory Waiting Periods for Abortions and Female Mental Health
University of Pennsylvania Law School; Erasmus School of Law; PERC - Property and Environment Research Center
Health Matrix: Journal of Law-Medicine, Vol. 16, p. 183, 2006
FSU College of Law, Law and Economics Paper No. 05-27
Proponents of laws requiring a waiting period before a woman can receive an abortion argue that these cooling off periods protect against rash decisions on the part of women in the event of unplanned pregnancies. Opponents claim, at best, waiting periods have no effect on decision-making and, at worst, they subject women to additional mental anguish and stress. In this article, I examine these competing claims using adult female suicide rates at the state level as a proxy for mental health. Panel data analyses suggest that the adoption of mandatory waiting periods reduce suicide rates by about 10 percent, and this effect is statistically significant. The result is robust to various attempts to control for unobservable heterogeneity and simultaneity.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 26
Keywords: Abortion, Stress, Fertility, Suicide, Depression, Pregnancy
JEL Classification: I12, I18, I31, J12, J13, K00, K32Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: October 19, 2005 ; Last revised: January 29, 2010
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