Different and Not Equal: How Poverty, Race, and State-Level Abortion Laws Shape Abortion Timing Among US Women
Master of Arts
The number of regulations surrounding abortion has increased drastically in recent years. How these laws relate to abortion timing is important to assess since the cost, safety, and accessibility of abortion varies by how many weeks pregnant a woman is when the procedure occurs. Research examining how state laws relate to abortion timing generally use rates or data from vital statistics, and while informative, such methods are not able to examine how these laws may be disproportionately associated with the abortion timing among select groups of women, including poor or non-white women. To fill this research gap, I analyze data from the nationally representative 2008 Abortion Patient Survey, with appended information on state laws regarding abortion in 2008. I find that the relationship between abortion timing and state-level abortion laws, such as requiring a waiting period and that doctors perform abortions, is different for black and Hispanic women compared to white women, and that poverty status moderates the association between state laws and abortion timing for black and Hispanic women, while for white women these relationships are the same regardless of poverty status. Overall, this research illustrates the relevance of state-level abortion laws for shaping abortion timing among women, and the importance of considering how these relationships differ across racial and socioeconomic groups.