Health Consequences of State-Level Abortion Restriction Laws, 1973–2013

Sarah McKetta , Columbia University
Katherine Keyes, Columbia University

Over the past 40 years, many states passed restrictive abortion laws. These laws target both abortion demand and supply; these may also impact women’s access to prenatal and primary care. It is unknown how abortion legislation impacts health beside abortion access. Using data on state-level legislation from 1973 to 2013, we examine the impact of restricted abortion laws on mortality (adult, infant, and child all-cause mortality, and adult maternal mortality), controlling for state income, population, public opinion and beliefs, and partisan control of government. Using Poisson regression to estimate the within-state change in mortality risk, we examine the effects of the number of laws as well as the types of laws (supply-side and demand-side) and stratify by race. We anticipate that states with restrictive abortion policies will have increased risk of all-cause and cause-specific mortality compared to those without, and that these effects are most pronounced in minority women.

See paper

 Presented in Session 10. Health and Fertility Consequences of Abortion Restrictions