Fertility effects of abortion and birth control pill access for minors

Demography. 2008 Nov;45(4):817-27. doi: 10.1353/dem.0.0026.


This article empirically assesses whether age-restricted access to abortion and the birth control pill influence minors' fertility in the United States. There is not a strong consensus in previous literature regarding the relationship between laws restricting minors' access to abortion and minors' birth rates. This is the first study to recognize that state laws in place prior to the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision enabled minors to legally consent to surgical treatment-including abortion-in some states but not in others, and to construct abortion access variables reflecting this. In this article, age-specific policy variables measure either a minor's legal ability to obtain an abortion or to obtain the birth control pill without parental involvement. I find fairly strong evidence that young women's birth rates dropped as a result of abortion access as well as evidence that birth control pill access led to a drop in birth rates among whites.

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Induced / statistics & numerical data*
  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Health Services
  • Age Factors
  • Contraceptives, Oral / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Fertility*
  • Health Services Accessibility / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Minors / statistics & numerical data*
  • Pregnancy
  • United States


  • Contraceptives, Oral