The Impact of Parental Involvement Laws on Minor Abortion

60 Pages Posted: 15 Apr 2019

See all articles by Theodore Joyce

Theodore Joyce

CUNY Baruch College - Zicklin School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Robert Kaestner

University of Chicago; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Jason Ward

University of Illinois at Chicago - Department of Economics

Date Written: April 2019

Abstract

In this article, we conduct a comprehensive analysis of the effect of parental involvement (PI) laws on the incidence of abortions to minors across a span of nearly three decades. We contribute to the extant literature on this topic in several ways. First, we explore differences in estimates of the effect of PI laws across time that may result from changes in contraception, the composition of pregnant minors, access to confidential abortions in nearby states, or through judicial bypass, and the degree to which these laws are enforced. We find that, on average, PI laws enacted before the mid-1990s are associated with a 15% to 20% reduction in minor abortions. PI laws enacted after this time are not, on average, associated with declines in abortions to minors. Second, we assess the role of out-of-state travel by minors, estimating models that allow the effect of PI laws to differ by the distance to the nearest state without a PI law. We find that out-of-state travel is not a substantive moderating factor of the effect of PI laws. Third, we use a synthetic control approach to explore state-level heterogeneity in the effect of PI laws and find large differences in the impact of PI laws on minor abortions by state. These differences are unrelated to the type of law (consent versus notification) or whether contiguous states have enacted PI laws. Finally, we show that estimates of the effect of PI laws using data from either the Centers for Disease Control or the Alan Guttmacher Institute do not differ qualitatively once differences in coverage by state and year across these data are harmonized.

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Suggested Citation

Joyce, Theodore J. and Kaestner, Robert and Ward, Jason, The Impact of Parental Involvement Laws on Minor Abortion (April 2019). NBER Working Paper No. w25758. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3372062

Theodore J. Joyce (Contact Author)

CUNY Baruch College - Zicklin School of Business ( email )

17 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10010
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

365 Fifth Avenue, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10016-4309
United States

Robert Kaestner

University of Chicago ( email )

1155 East 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

365 Fifth Avenue, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10016-4309
United States

Jason Ward

University of Illinois at Chicago - Department of Economics ( email )

725 University Hall (UH)
Chicago, IL 60607-7121
United States

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