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Reproductive Health Care in Catholic-Owned Hospitals

Elaine L. Hill, David Slusky, Donna Ginther

NBER Working Paper No. 23768
Issued in September 2017, Revised in February 2019
NBER Program(s):Health Care Program, Industrial Organization Program

Mergers that affiliate a hospital with a Catholic owner, network, or system reduce the set of possible reproductive medical procedures since Catholic hospitals have strict prohibitions on contraception. Using changes in ownership of hospitals, we find that Catholic hospitals reduce the per bed rates of tubal ligations by 31%, whereas there is no significant change in related permitted procedures such as Caesarian sections. However, across a variety of measures, we find minimal overall welfare reductions. Still, fewer tubal ligations increase the risk of unintended pregnancies across the United States, imposing a potentially substantial cost for less reliable contraception on women and their partners.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w23768

Published: Elaine L. Hill & David J.G. Slusky & Donna K. Ginther, 2019. "Reproductive Health Care in Catholic-Owned Hospitals," Journal of Health Economics, . citation courtesy of

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