Parental involvement laws and fertility behavior

J Health Econ. 2003 Sep;22(5):861-78. doi: 10.1016/S0167-6296(03)00063-8.


This paper considers the impact of the introduction of laws requiring parental involvement in a minor's decision to abort a pregnancy. State-level data over the 1985-1996 period are used to examine abortion, birth, and pregnancy outcomes, while microdata from the 1988 and 1995 National Surveys of Family Growth (NSFG) are utilized to examine sexual activity and contraception. Quasi-experimental methods are employed that examine whether minors' fertility outcomes were affected in those locations that introduced these laws following their introduction and occurred for minors but not other women. I find that parental involvement laws resulted in fewer abortions for minors resulting from fewer pregnancies; there is no statistically significant impact on births. The reduction in pregnancy seems to be attributable to increased use of contraception rather than a reduction in sexual activity.

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Legal / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Abortion, Legal / statistics & numerical data*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Birth Rate
  • Contraception Behavior / statistics & numerical data
  • Decision Making
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Minors
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Parental Consent / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Parental Notification
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy in Adolescence / psychology
  • Pregnancy in Adolescence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sexual Behavior / statistics & numerical data
  • Social Control Policies / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Supreme Court Decisions
  • United States