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Department of Economics pres.

Public Finance: The Economic Consequences of Being Denied an Abortion

Sarah Miller

economics economics

Restrictions on abortion are pervasive, yet relatively little is known about the effect of being denied an abortion on women who seek one while pregnant. This paper evaluates the economic consequences of being denied an abortion on the basis of gestational age of the pregnancy. Our analysis relies on new linkages to administrative data on ten years of credit reports for participants in the Turnaway Study, the first study to collect high-quality, longitudinal data on women receiving or being denied a wanted abortion. The study recruited women seeking an abortion at 30 health providers located in 21 states who fell in to one of two groups: the first group included women with pregnancies close to the facility's gestational age limit who received a wanted abortion (Near Limit Abortion Group), while the second group was women with pregnancies just over the facility's gestational age limit who were turned away without receiving an abortion (Turnaway Group). Our analysis compares differences in credit report outcomes for these two groups for 3 years prior and up to 5 years following the intended abortion using an event study design. We find that the trajectories for these outcomes are similar for the two groups of women during the pre-period. However, following their visit to the abortion provider, we find evidence of a large and persistent increase in financial distress for the women who were denied an abortion that is sustained for the 6 years following the intended abortion.

With Diana G. Foster (UCSF) and Laura R. Wherry (UCLA)

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