Utilization of Oral Contraception: The Impact of Direct and Indirect Restrictions on Access to Abortion
Colorado College Working Paper No. 2011-06
29 Pages Posted: 19 Aug 2011
Date Written: August, 18 2011
Though linked, the relationship between legalized abortion and contraception use remains largely unexplored. This study seeks to fill this gap by examining young women’s contraceptive decisions and the additional costs, direct and indirect, imposed by restrictive abortion legislation and provider availability. Utilizing variation across U.S. state abortion restrictions on minors and different levels of provider availability we measure whether women under the age of 25 really are less careful in using contraception if abortions are less costly, in terms of both financial and opportunity cost. The effects of abortion restrictions for minors are largest and the most significant for women aged 18 and younger and the effect of these restrictions decrease in magnitude and significance gradually as women age. As expected, parental involvement increases the likelihood of young women using oral contraception. In the context of provider availability, we find results in the expected direction. As the percent of women in the state without a provider increases women are more likely to use the pill and when the provider to woman ratio increases costs of aborting are lower there is a negative effect on pill use. These results indicate that young women are forward thinking when making their contraceptive decisions, relative to the direct and indirect restrictions on abortion access. If individuals are forward thinking enough such that legislation and policy governing the consequences for today's actions can affect today's decisions, then there are important policy implications for increasing health outcomes.
Keywords: birth control, oral contraception, the pill, abortion legislation
JEL Classification: D1, D81, I18, J13
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation