Abortion Laws and Public Health: What are the Health Implications of Parental Involvement Laws on Birth Outcomes?
Landmark decisions from the Supreme Court, including Roe v. Wade (1973), established the legal rights for a woman to decide whether to have an abortion. Consequently, states responded by passing laws restricting access to it. Parental involvement (PI) laws require parental notification or consent before a young woman under 18 obtains an abortion. Today, thirty-nine states enforce a parental involvement law. While most social science research in this area focuses on the relationship between parental involvement laws and abortion rates, existing literature lacks a thorough study of the health outcomes associated with parental involvement laws. Using a 30 percent random sample from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Vital Statistics Report on all U.S. births in 2004, this study examines the effect of parental involvement laws on two outcomes: birth weight and average number of prenatal visits. The analysis employs ordinary least squares (OLS) regressions, as well as the Heckman model as a check on robustness. The study resulted in three key findings: (1) the average birth weight increased by .6 percent in states enforcing PI laws; (2) the average number of prenatal visits increased by 3.7 percent in states enforcing PI laws; and (3) women in states with PI laws are 2 percent more apt to give birth when pregnant. While modest, these findings suggest a statistically significant, positive association between PI laws and health outcomes; however, additional analysis is needed.
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Misclassification Bias and the Estimated Effect of Parental Involvement Laws on Adolescents' Reproductive Outcomes Colman, Sivie; Joyce, Ted; Kaestner, Robert (2008-10)OBJECTIVES: We evaluated the presence of misclassification bias in the estimated effect of parental involvement laws on minors' reproductive outcomes when subjection to such laws was measured by age at the time of pregnancy ...