Population Research and Policy Review 16: 597–605, 1997.
1997 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands.
A pooled time-series analysis of abortion demand
MARSHALL H. MEDOFF
California State University, Long Beach, California, USA
Abstract. This study estimates the demand for abortion in the United States using state data
pooled over years 1992 and 1982. The empirical results showed that the price elasticity of
abortion demand ranged from
0.99 and an income elasticity between 0.27 and 0.35.
The demand for abortion was found (1) not to be statistically related to a woman’s educational
level; (2) to be higher the greater a state’s taste for abortion; (3) coincident with the business
cycle; and (4) not to be related to the level of a state’s welfare payment.
Key words: Abortion demand, Time-series analysis
On 29 June 1992, the US Supreme Court, by a vote of 5–4, reafﬁrmed a
woman’s constitutional right to obtain an abortion.
The SupremeCourt, how-
ever, reversed their previous trimester abortion framework. In the old frame-
work, a woman’s right to an abortion during the ﬁrst and second trimester
could not be restricted unless the state could prove that there was a com-
pelling interest in doing so. The Supreme Court’s new standard allows a state
to regulate abortion during the entire pregnancy, provided that any proposed
regulation does not impose an ‘undue burden’ on a woman’s right to obtain
Ever since the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe vs. Wade ruling legalizing abor-
tion, researchers have been interested in the abortion decision. Early abortion
research focused extensively on the demographic characteristics of women
who obtained an abortion (e.g., age, race, prior number of live births). More
recent research has concentrated on analyzing the socioeconomic determi-
nants of abortion demand.
Deyak & Smith (1976) examined abortion demand in New York prior to
the Supreme Court’s decision legalizing abortion. Their results showed that
the demand for abortions was negatively related to travel cost which was a
surrogate for abortion price, and college education. Leibowitz, Eisen & Chow
(1986) analyzed the decisions made by 386 unmarried pregnant California
teenagersduringthe period 1972–1974.Theyfoundthat abortion demand was