Have parental involvement laws grown teeth? The increasing effects of state legislation limiting minors' access to abortion

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IZA Seminar

Place: Schaumburg-Lippe-Str. 9, 53113 Bonn

Date: 08.07.2014, 12:15 - 13:30


Presentation by 

Caitlin Knowles Myers (Middlebury College)


The current consensus is that laws governing minors' access to abortion have little effect on birth rates. I combine county-level natality data from 1980-2011 with policy indicators and confidential data on the presence of abortion providers to present new evidence on this question. Between 1989, when 10 states enforced parental involvement laws, and 2010, when 34 did, the average distance that a minor would have to travel to obtain an abortion without involving a parent or judge increased from 55 to 260 miles. Difference-in-difference estimates suggest that as a result of increasing avoidance costs, parental involvement laws passed in the most recent decade have led to higher teen birth rates. The estimated effects are largest in poor counties from which a teen would have to travel more than 200 miles to obtain an abortion without parental knowledge.

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