The Economic Consequences of Being Denied an Abortion
- (pp. 394-437)
AbstractThis paper evaluates the financial and economic consequences of being denied an abortion. We link credit report data to the Turnaway Study, which collected high-quality, longitudinal data on women receiving or being denied a wanted abortion in the United States. We compare financial outcomes over a ten-year period for women who had pregnancies just above and below a gestational age limit allowing for a wanted abortion. Outcomes evolved similarly for the two groups prior to the abortion encounter. Following the encounter, women who were denied an abortion experience a large increase in financial distress that remains for several years.
CitationMiller, Sarah, Laura R. Wherry, and Diana Greene Foster. 2023. "The Economic Consequences of Being Denied an Abortion." American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 15 (1): 394-437. DOI: 10.1257/pol.20210159
- G51 Household Finance: Household Saving, Borrowing, Debt, and Wealth
- I18 Health: Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
- J13 Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
- J16 Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
Title is misleading
Leaving aside the deep but normative issue of whether the proper welfare function is average human utility among the existing population or total human utility (which would have to include the utility of the unborn child), the research does not even capture the welfare of the possible mother. By definition the ten year period must end well short of old-age. Approximately half of US states have "filial responsibility" laws and a much larger number of children provide both financial and emotional support to their parents. Thus the calculations in the paper cannot possible capture all financial implications for the women in question unless they are fully rational and even then the quantitative estimates will be biased. A more accurate title would have been "Some Short-Run Consequences..."