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Recent Evidence on the Broad Benefits of Reproductive Health Policy

Publication Abstract

Bailey, Martha J., Melanie Guldi, and Brad Hershbein. 2013. "Recent Evidence on the Broad Benefits of Reproductive Health Policy." Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 32(4): 888-896.

Abortion policy has been a hot-button issue since the U.S. Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade in 1973. In the last decade, the controversy surrounding abortion has widened to include contraception. Many anti-abortion groups have broadened their challenge of Roe v. Wade to the earlier 1965 Griswold v. Connecticut decision, which declared states' regulation of private matters (like the use of contraception) unconstitutional. Proposals to reduce public funding or remove regulations that ensure women's access to contraception have become increasingly explicit in policy discussions. In 2011 and 2012, a caucus of conservative House Republicans proposed defunding Title X of the Public Health Service Act, which supports family planning providers that serve close to 5 million women. Highlighting the recent controversy, the 2010 Affordable Care Act's requirement that contraception be covered free of charge by employer-provided health insurance has spurred over 40 lawsuits nationwide. What are the broader implications of increasing the regulation of abortion or contraception or decreasing funding for these services? What would happen if Roe v. Wade were repealed or Title X funding was cut? We review empirical evidence from the economics literature to shed light on these questions.

DOI:10.1002/pam.21710 (Full Text)

PMCID: PMC4075263. (Pub Med Central)

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