Abstract

This paper examines the impact of induced abortion on birth outcomes by treating abortion as an endogenous input into the production of infant health. To gauge the direct and indirect effects of abortion, three measures of infant health are considered simultaneously: the neonatal mortality rate, the percentage of low-weight births, and the percentage of preterm births. All three are race specific and all pertain to large counties in the United States in 1977. The results suggest that by preventing unwanted births, abortion enhances the survivability of newborns of a given birth weight and improves the distribution of births among high-risk groups.

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