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The unintended effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and stay-at-home orders on abortions

Fernanda Marquez-Padilla () and Biani Saavedra ()
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Biani Saavedra: CIDE

Journal of Population Economics, 2022, vol. 35, issue 1, No 8, 269-305

Abstract: Abstract We study the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic and of government mandated mitigation policies on the number of abortions performed by Mexico City’s public abortion program. We find that the COVID-19 pandemic and stay-at-home orders (SAHO) implemented in Mexico led to unintended consequences for women’s sexual and reproductive health. Using difference-in-differences and event study analyses, we show that SAHO and the pandemic led to a fall in abortions of around 25% and find no evidence that unsafe abortions increased. We find a decrease in the share of single and teenage women getting abortions, arguably due to fewer unwanted pregnancies from decreased sexual activity, and estimate that at most 9.8% of the total fall in abortions can be attributed to this. We complement our analysis using call data from a government helpline and show that the SAHO time period led to fewer abortion- and contraception-related calls but to an increase in pregnancy-related calls.

Keywords: Abortion; Reproductive health; COVID-19; Fertility (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I12 I18 J13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1007/s00148-021-00874-x

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