Spatial Variation in Medical Abortion: A Component of Abortion Access

Amanda Stevenson, University of Texas at Austin

Medical abortion has been increasing as a share of all abortion in the US and in Texas. In 2013, Texas passed omnibus abortion restriction legislation including a requirement that medical abortion provision follow an outdated regimen approved by the Food and Drug Administration. This limited medical abortions to pregnancies of no more than 49 days and required women to make four clinic visits to receive medical abortion services. Furthermore, many clinics ceased offering medical abortion after the provision went into effect. I document that utilization of medical abortion – as opposed to surgical abortion – varies widely across Texas counties. Further, I exploit a plausibly exogenous shock to evaluate the extent to which this variation may reflect variation in demand. This variation may be evidence of a differential impact of this new type of abortion restriction on women in places where medical abortion is popular.

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Presented in Session 90: Abortion in Transition