Changes in Birth Rates of Young Women Following Access to the Pill and Abortion in the Early 1970s

Theodore Joyce, Baruch College, City University of New York (CUNY) and National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
Yuxiu Zhang, City University of New York (CUNY)

Recent studies on the “power of the Pill” have not adequately accounted for the role of abortion in the years between 1970 and 1973. We use rediscovered data on abortions performed in New York State in 1971 and 1972 by age, race and state of residence to demonstrate the remarkable impact of legal abortion services in New York on the fertility rates of young women as far away as Montana prior to Roe v. Wade. Our results strongly suggest that laws enhancing access to legalized abortion more than policies increasing access to the Pill caused birth rates of young women to fall in the early 1970s.

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Presented in Session 69: Abortion