Effects on pregnancy outcomes of changes in the North Carolina state abortion fund
Extending work of Cook et al. (1999, 1996), this paper examines abortion funding cutoffs for poor women in North Carolina, a unique setting allowing for a strong quasi-experimental design. Using vital registration data and additional administrative data from North Carolina, we decompose program effects on the abortion/birth ratio into two components: coverage (i.e., the proportion of all abortions that are state funded) and substitutability (the proportion of state funded abortions that would have been births in the absence of the state program). We show that both components are crucial for understanding the effects of fund cutoffs and that both components vary by age and by race. We offer explanations for these differences. Overall, we conclude that: the North Carolina State Abortion Fund (SAF) had powerful and pervasive effects: i.e., the SAF cutoffs reduced abortions and increased births.
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