The Impact of a Ban on Legalized Abortion on Adolescent Childbearing in New York City

Theodore J. Joyce, Naci H. Mocan

NBER Working Paper No. 3002 (Also Reprint No. r1402)
Issued in June 1989
NBER Program(s):Health Economics

This paper attempts to forecast the change in adolescent childbearing among New York City residents following a ban on legalized abortion. With monthly data on the number of births to white and black adolescents from January, 1963 to December, 1987 we used an interrupted time-series analysis to estimate the change in adolescent childbearing that followed the liberalization of the New York State abortion law in 1970. We found the level of births to black adolescents living in New York City fell 18.7 percent between 1970 and 1971, or approximately 142 fewer births per month (p<.001). The level of white births fell 14.1 percent or approximately 111 fewer births per month (p<.001). The absolute value of the percentage changes in births between 1970 and 1971 were applied to the forecasted number of monthly births in 1988 and 1989. If legal abortion had been inaccessible to New York City adolescents beginning January 1, 1988, there would have been 2143 black and 1067 white unintended births to teenagers in the first two years of a ban. The results suggest that a prohibition on legalized abortion would have a substantial increase in adolescent childbearing across the U.S. although the magnitude of the change will vary according to local conditions.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w3002

Published: "The Impact of Legalized Abortion on Adolescent Childbearing in New York City." From American Journal of Public Health, Vol. 80, No. 3, pp. 273-278 , (March 1990).

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