At a Crossroads: The Impact of Young Women’s Abortion Access on Educational Outcomes
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
We employ individual level data from the National Survey of Family Growth collected between 1982 and 2006, focusing on women who were aged 15-20 during 1969-1979, a period of high variation in access. We estimate the impact of four levels of access: no legal access, restricted access (in cases of rape/incest, or to preserve the life/health of the woman), unrestricted access requiring parental consent, or unrestricted access. The level of access varies by state, year, and age of the woman, allowing for the inclusion of state and year fixed effects. Our sample includes women whose first pregnancy occurred during this period and was unintended. Conditional on unintended pregnancy, abortion is used as an instrument for unintended birth to identify the impacts of abortion access on education that operate through the fertility pathway. We also rely on Current Population Survey data to estimate a reduced form model, estimating population-level effects that may include non-fertility pathways by which abortion access may affect education (for example, through expectations).