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Abortion Access and Risky Sex Among Teens: Parental Involvement Laws and Sexually Transmitted Diseases

20 Pages Posted: 4 Oct 2005 Last revised: 29 Jan 2010

Jonathan Klick

University of Pennsylvania Law School; Erasmus School of Law; PERC - Property and Environment Research Center

Thomas Stratmann

George Mason University - Buchanan Center Political Economy; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

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Abstract

Laws requiring minors to seek parental consent or to notify a parent prior to obtaining an abortion raise the cost of risky sex for teenagers. Assuming choices to engage in risky sex are made rationally, parental involvement laws should lead to less risky sex among teens, either because of a reduction of sexual activity altogether or because teens will be more fastidious in the use of birth control ex ante. Using gonorrhea rates among older women to control for unobserved heterogeneity across states, our results indicate that the enactment of parental involvement laws significantly reduces risky sexual activity among teenage girls. We estimate reductions in gonorrhea rates of 20 percent for Hispanics and 12 percent for whites. While we find a relatively small reduction in rates for black girls, it is not statistically significant. We speculate that the racial heterogeneity has to do with differences in family structure across races.

Keywords: Gonorrhea, Pregnancy, STD, Teenagers, Sex, Abortion, Illegitimacy, Birth Rates

JEL Classification: I12, I18, J12, J13, K00, K32, Z13

Suggested Citation

Klick, Jonathan and Stratmann, Thomas, Abortion Access and Risky Sex Among Teens: Parental Involvement Laws and Sexually Transmitted Diseases. Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Vol. 24, No. 1, p. 2, 2008; FSU College of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 175; 1st Annual Conference on Empirical Legal Studies Paper; FSU College of Law, Law and Economics Paper No. 05-26. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=819304

Jonathan Klick (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania Law School ( email )

3501 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States
2157463455 (Phone)

Erasmus School of Law ( email )

3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands

PERC - Property and Environment Research Center

2048 Analysis Drive
Suite A
Bozeman, MT 59718
United States

Thomas Stratmann

George Mason University - Buchanan Center Political Economy ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States
703-993-2330 (Phone)

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

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