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  • Thumbnail for The role of restrictive abortion legislation in explaining variation in oral contraceptive use
    The role of restrictive abortion legislation in explaining variation in oral contraceptive use by Lybecker, Kristina M. , Felkey, Amanda J.

    Following the legalization of abortion in the United States, scholars have studied its impact on a wide variety of factors including women’s educational choices and labor force decisions, abortion rates, and most controversially, crime. Economists have also investigated the determinants of state abortion restrictions across the United States, exploring the importance of demographic characteristics, locational availability, and the strength of interest advocacy groups. Notably absent from the existing literature is an examination of the impact of legalized abortion and the restrictions of its use on the decision to use oral contraceptives. Earlier work has established that states with more lenient laws regarding access to contraceptive services by minors have greater pill use, but the impact of the legal framework surrounding abortion restrictions has not been examined. The focus of this paper is an analysis of the possibility that variation in state abortion availability, proxied by legislation restricting a woman’s reproductive rights, may generate variation in the use of birth control pills. It is reasonable to expect that without the option of terminating a pregnancy (or in states where the cost of doing so is higher), that oral contraceptives would be more widely utilized. Our findings reveal that restrictions on abortion funding have a significant and positive impact on a woman’s decision to use the pill. In addition, women who live in states with higher abortion rates, a likely representation of the ease of terminating an unwanted pregnancy and proxy for the entirety of abortion restrictions, are less likely to use the pill. These results indicate that women are forward thinking when making their contraceptive decisions, at least relative to abortion legislation. If individuals are forward thinking enough such that legislation and policy governing the consequences for today's actions can affect today's decisions, then there are important policy implications for increasing health outcomes.

  • Thumbnail for Utilization of oral contraception : the impact of direct and indirect restrictions on access to abortion
    Utilization of oral contraception : the impact of direct and indirect restrictions on access to abortion by Lybecker, Kristina M. , Felkey, Amanda J.

    Though linked, the relationship between legalized abortion and contraception use remains largely unexplored. This study seeks to fill this gap by examining young women’s contraceptive decisions and the additional costs, direct and indirect, imposed by restrictive abortion legislation and provider availability. Utilizing variation across U.S. state abortion restrictions on minors and different levels of provider availability we measure whether women under the age of 25 really are less careful in using contraception if abortions are less costly, in terms of both financial and opportunity cost. The effects of abortion restrictions for minors are largest and the most significant for women aged 18 and younger and the effect of these restrictions decrease in magnitude and significance gradually as women age. As expected, parental involvement increases the likelihood of young women using oral contraception. In the context of provider availability, we find results in the expected direction. As the percent of women in the state without a provider increases women are more likely to use the pill and when the provider to woman ratio increases costs of aborting are lower there is a negative effect on pill use. These results indicate that young women are forward thinking when making their contraceptive decisions, relative to the direct and indirect restrictions on abortion access. If individuals are forward thinking enough such that legislation and policy governing the consequences for today's actions can affect today's decisions, then there are important policy implications for increasing health outcomes.

  • Thumbnail for Variation in pill use : do abortion laws matter?
    Variation in pill use : do abortion laws matter? by Lybecker, Kristina M. , Felkey, Amanda J.

    Economists have studied the impact of legalized abortion on a variety of factors including women’s decision surrounding when to enter the work force and how many hours to work, schooling and most controversially crime. They have also examined the determinants of state abortion restrictions across the United States, considering the strength of interest advocacy groups and demographic characteristics. Notably absent from the existing literature is a study of the impact of legalized abortion on the use of contraceptives. Earlier work has established that states with more lenient laws regarding access to contraceptive services by minors have greater pill use, but the impact of the legal framework surrounding abortion restrictions has not been examined. This paper explores the possibility that variation in state abortion availability, as proxied by legislation pertaining to women’s reproductive rights (particularly either supporting or restricting access to abortions) across the United States may generate variation in the use of birth control pills. Without the option of terminating a pregnancy, one would expect that oral contraceptives would be more widely utilized. We find restrictions on abortion availability (through abortion legislation mandating parental consent or notification) induce women to seek a reliable form of birth control to avoid unwanted pregnancies, while pro-choice sentiments in the legislature may have the opposite effect. We also consider the effect of sex education on the rate of oral contraceptive use within states.