Social Indicators Research

, Volume 87, Issue 2, pp 329-346

The Response of Abortion Demand to Changes in Abortion Costs

  • Marshall H. MedoffAffiliated withDepartment of Economics, California State University, Long Beach Email author 

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This study uses pooled cross-section time-series data, over the years 1982, 1992 and 2000, to estimate the impact of various restrictive abortion laws on the demand for abortion. This study complements and extends prior research by explicitly including the price of obtaining an abortion in the estimation. The empirical results show that the real price of an abortion has a statistically and numerically significant negative impact on abortion demand. Over the period 1982–2000 approximately 20% of the decline in the incidence of abortion was due solely to the increase in the real price of obtaining an abortion. A state Medicaid funding restriction of abortion and a parental involvement law reduce the abortion demand, but a state waiting period and a mandatory counseling law have no statistically significant impact on the abortion demand. The empirical results also provide support for the hypothesis that increases in abortion costs not only reduce the number of abortions, but also reduce the number of pregnancies by altering women’s sexual/contraceptive practices.


Abortion demand Abortion costs Restrictive abortion laws