The Economic Consequences of Being Denied an Abortion

Sarah Miller, Laura Wherry, Diana Greene Foster
American Economic Journal: Economic Policy

This paper evaluates the economic consequences of being denied an abortion due to gestational limits. We link credit report data to the Turnaway Study, the first study to collect high-quality, longitudinal data on women receiving or being denied a wanted abortion in the United States. We compare financial outcomes over a ten-year period for women who had pregnancies just above and below a gestational age limit allowing for a wanted abortion. Outcome trajectories are similar for the two groups of women prior to the abortion encounter. Following the encounter, women who were denied an abortion experience a large increase in financial distress that is sustained for several years. There is also some evidence of a short-term reduction in credit access, but no change in measures of borrowing. Our results highlight important financial and economic consequences of restrictions on abortion access.

Wagner Faculty