The Influence of Abortion Access on Fertility Rates: A Multi-Country Analysis of Adolescents

Michelle J. Hindin, Johns Hopkins University
Ozge Tuncalp, Johns Hopkins University
Jessica D. Gipson, University of California, Los Angeles

Many of the international targets to improve reproductive health, and ultimately reproductive health outcomes, set benchmarks or targets for countries to reach by a fixed time period. For example, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), has a broad target of “achieving universal access to reproductive health care” (MD5b), has an indicator of “adolescent birth rate”, which needs to be tracked over time. While adolescent births are an important indicator, and potentially related to adverse health consequences for mothers and children, the AFR is a proxy for the ideal indicator—unwanted pregnancy. The ideal indicator would be adolescent pregnancy rates--however these data are unavailable. This paper explores the potential relationship between adolescent fertility rates and abortion "availability" in 182 countries. Preliminary results confirm a statistical significant inverse association between AFR and abortion laws—for each additional reason where abortion is permissible, the country has 7.3 fewer adolescent births per 1000 adolescents.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Session 198: Abortion