Abortion Legalization and Fertility Rates in Mexico

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

In 2007 abortion was legalized in Mexico City, making it the largest jurisdiction in Latin America to allow women to have abortions on demand during the first trimester of pregnancy. Its potential association with fertility behavior has yet to be assessed. We examine metropolitan area differences in overall and parity-specific fertility rates between 2000 and 2010 to isolate the contribution of abortion legalization to childbearing in Mexico. Our statistical specification applies DDD methods to assess the influence of legalization across age groups; we also compared the changes between 2000-2010 to those occurring between 1990-2000. Results suggests that the change in law was likely to contributed to lower fertility rates in Mexico City compared to other MAs, mostly for women aged 20-34 and connected to the first and second child transitions.Teenage childbearing does not appear to be altered. Diffusion effects were found for the greater Mexico City MA. Reproductive health implications in Latin America are discussed.

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Presented in Session 139: The Impacts of Policies and Programs on Fertility