Panel Paper: Abortion Clinic Closures and Women's Outcomes

Friday, November 8, 2019
I.M Pei Tower: Terrace Level, Terrace (Sheraton Denver Downtown)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Andrea M. Kelly, Texas A&M University

I estimate the effect of excess demand for family planning services using a natural experiment setting in Pennsylvania. In 2011, a law was passed requiring any facility that provided abortion services to meet ambulatory surgical facility standards, which included required hallway widths and elevator sizes, minimum operating room square footage, and stricter staff requirements. Clinics were given a year to implement these changes—however 9 out of the 22 existing clinics failed to do so and closed their doors in the 2012 calendar year. Most of these closures occurred in urban settings, meaning that the distance to the nearest abortion clinic changed minimally for most women in the state. Meanwhile, the potential congestion at these clinics increased. There were now fewer clinics available to serve the same number of women, so demand began to exceed the available supply. As a result of these clinic closures, abortion rates fell for women overall and for teenage women.