The Effect of Abortion Legalization on Fertility in Mexico

Edith Y. Gutierrez-Vazquez, University of Pennsylvania
Emilio A. Parrado, University of Pennsylvania

Abortion legalization within the federal district of Mexico in 2007 turned Mexico City into the largest jurisdiction in Latin America, outside Cuba and Puerto Rico, to permit women to have abortions on demand during the first trimester of pregnancy. The implications for fertility behavior have not been investigated. In this paper, we rely on metropolitan area differences in changes in fertility rates are used to identify the effect of abortion legalization on fertility between 2000 and 2010. The effects are estimated using difference-in-difference regression methods that include control for changes in other socioeconomic conditions also related to fertility. We specifically elaborate on the differential effect of the law across age specific groups. Result document that abortion legalization did affect fertility rates although the effect varies by age group and parity. Moreover, abortion legalization did not overcome the tendency for teenage childbearing to increase in Mexico. We discuss the policy implications of our findings.

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Presented in Poster Session 7: Family Planning, Sexual Behavior, and Reproductive Health