NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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The Economic Consequences of Being Denied an Abortion

Sarah Miller, Laura R. Wherry, Diana Greene Foster

NBER Working Paper No. 26662
Issued in January 2020
NBER Program(s):Program on Children, Health Care Program, Health Economics Program

Restrictions on abortion are pervasive, yet relatively little is known about the financial and economic impact of being denied an abortion on pregnant women who seek one. This paper evaluates the economic consequences of being denied an abortion on the basis of the gestational age of the pregnancy. Our analysis relies on new linkages to ten years of administrative credit report data for participants in the Turnaway Study, the first study to collect high-quality, longitudinal data on women receiving or being denied a wanted abortion in the United States. Some women had pregnancies close to the facility's gestational age limit, but below it, and received a wanted abortion (Near Limit Group). A second group of women had pregnancies just over the facility's gestational age limit and were turned away without receiving an abortion (Turnaway Group). Using these linked data, we compare differences in credit report outcomes for the two groups of women over time using an event study design. 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.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w26662

 
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