The purpose of the article is to analyze the effect of the U.S. Supreme Court's abortion decisions upon the policies of hospitals in Harris County (Houston), Texas. The study attempts to determine the variables associated with the hospitals' policies prior to and following the Roe and Doe decisions and which variables best explain the change (or lack of change) from the first period to the other.
The principal data source is a series of in-depth personal interviews with 68 key decision-makers in 36 general hospitals in Harris county. Critical data about the hospitals' economic status were obtained from the American Hospital Association 's HospitaIs: Guide Issue, 1972.
The major findings of the study are as follows: (1) the Roe and Doe decisions did affect hospital policy in that within a year after the High Court's rulings, hospitals evidenced a dramatic shift toward more permissive abortion policies; (2) economic variables, while not having much explanatory power for pre-Roe and Doe abortion policies, were important predictors of hospital policy and of the propensity for hospitals to liberalize their abortion standards after the Supreme Court decisions; and (3) the values, attitudes, and attributes of the individual decision-makers had much to do with explaining their respective hospitals' abortion policies before and after the Supreme Court decisions and accounted for changes in abortion policy from the first to the second period.