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The economic impact of state restrictions on abortion: parental consent and notification laws and Medicaid funding restrictions



The economic impact of state restrictions on abortion: parental consent and notification laws and Medicaid funding restrictions



Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 12(3): 498-511



State-legislative support for liberalized abortion policies, the availability of abortion providers, and actual abortion rates vary widely across states. This article uses national data to examine the impact of the following three major, enforceable state abortion restrictions as of 1988 on the access to and use of abortion services: state restrictions on Medicaid financing of abortions for low-income women (36 states), state requirements for parental consent or parental notification for minors to obtain abortions (11 states), and state restrictions on insurance coverage of abortion for public employees (8 states). The impact of state abortion restrictions is becoming an increasingly important policy issue as the number and types of restrictions which can be enforced in the US increase rapidly. The Supreme Court in Webster v. Reproductive Health Services (1989) upheld a Missouri law banning abortions in public hospitals and the involvement of public employees in the performance of abortions; states via this ruling may also enforce mandatory testing for viability after a specified point in the pregnancy. The Supreme Court then in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey (1992) effectively ruled that states can enforce a 24-hour waiting period and a state-prescribed talk on abortion for women seeking abortion. Analysis of the data found that there are significantly fewer hospitals, clinics, and private physicians' offices providing abortions in states with parental consent or notification laws. Moreover the rate of minors' abortions per 1000 teen pregnancies is 16% lower, and the rate of minors' abortions per 1000 women aged 15-19 is 25% lower in states with such laws compared to states without the laws. Data from abortion clinics and referral services in Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Rhode Island suggest that 20-55% of minors are going to court instead of informing their parents. 35% of minors who contacted a clinic in Massachusetts and 49% in Rhode Island went out of state for abortions. As for Medicaid restrictions, there are significantly fewer hospitals, clinics, and private physicians' offices providing abortions in states which restrict funding of abortions as compared to states which do not. State restrictions on insurance coverage of abortion for public employees do not appear to be associated with statistically significant differences in abortion rates or abortion availability.

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Accession: 047614692

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