The Effect of Medicaid Abortion Funding Restrictions on Abortions, Pregnancies, and Births

Phillip B. Levine, Wellesley College
Amy B. Trainor, Hewitt Associates
David J. Zimmerman, Williams College

Published: Journal of Health Economics, Vol. 15 (1996): 555-578.

Abstract

This paper considers whether state Medicaid abortion funding restrictions affect the likelihood of getting pregnant, having an abortion, and bearing a child. Aggregate, state-level data and microdata from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY) are applied in the empirical work. Changes in laws resulting from Supreme Court decisions create a natural experiment which is utilized to examine fertility behavior. Multivariate models controlling for state and, in the NLSY, personal characteristics are also estimated using alternative fixed effect specifications. We find that Medicaid funding restrictions are associated with a reduction in both the number of abortions and pregnancies, resulting in either no change or a reduction in births.