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COVID-19 Restrictions Reduced Abortion Clinic Visits, Even in Blue States

Martin Andersen (), Sylvia Bryan and David Slusky

No 28058, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc

Abstract: Due to COVID-19, 33 states banned elective medical procedures, and 13 of these states included surgical abortions. We collected street addresses of abortion clinics and linked them to SafeGraph’s data on visitor counts. We found at least a 6% decrease in clinic visits in February-May 2020 versus 2019. States that banned elective procedures or imposed other measures (e.g., stay-at-home orders) saw a substantial additional decrease (18.5% and 24.1%, respectively). There was also a significant additional 12.7% decrease from explicit surgical abortions bans, driven entirely by clinics that provided surgical abortions. Additionally, elective procedure bans reduce abortion clinic visits even in states supportive of abortion, suggesting our results are salient even in a post-Roe U.S. We estimate that the decrease in foot traffic over these four months reduced abortions by 7% in 2020 relative to 2019, or approximately 32,000 fewer abortions.

JEL-codes: H75 I18 J13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020-11
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:28058