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Title: Economics of abortion demand by pregnant married women : the ultimate fertility choice 
Author: Mardfin, Douglas Ward
Date: 1979
Abstract: As an extension of previous studies on the economics of fertility, this dissertation estimates the demand for abortions by married women with unplanned pregnancies who conceived during the 1970-72 period after elective abortions on request b9carne legal in Hawaii. In so doing, it provides evi1ence that economic models are relevant in explaining the 1emoqraphic choices of people. Moreover, it avoids some of the problems of earlier studies of total family size since a choice is clearly made whether to have an additional child or to have an abortion when confronted with an unplanned pregnancy. Cross sectional data on women who had conceived during the 1970-72 period were generously provided by the Hawaii Pregnancy, Birth Control and abortion Study at the University of Hawaii. For each woman, the data were collected while she was in the hospital for a maternal delivery or an abortion. Hospital records plus qU3stionnairgs filled out by the woman provided a wide variety of demographic and sociological variables. Since data on the price of the hospital procedure which would be pai1 by the woman and the opportunity cost of the woman's time were not solicited, they are calculated for use in this study from the data which are available. The price of an abortion and a delivery paid by the woman is a function of the hospital she went to, the island where she lived, and whether the hospital and doctor bills were partially or wholly paid by health insurance or some public agency. The opportunity cost of a woman's time is estimated as a function of her ethnicity, education, and experience (where experience is computed as age minus years of education minus 6). Because the choice of an abortion is dichotomous, it is inappropriate to use an ordinary 1east square regression to estimate the demand for abortions. A probit maximum likelihood procedure is used to estimate the demand function. As hypothesized in the theory section, the price of an abortion is inversely relate1 and the price of a maternal delivery is directly related to the probability of. choosing an abortion. For women with three or more children, the opportunity cost of her time, which is intended to proxy the cost of an additional child, is also positively associated with the abortion choice. Abortion demand is inversely related to family income. Taken individually and as a group, these economic variables are statistically significant at the 5% level in the abortion demand equation. The effects of varying the independent variables (including the number of children the woman already has, family income, age, religion, ethnicity, employment status, use of contraception prior to conceiving, and opportunity cost of the woman's time) on the demand for abortions are presented. Finally, there is a brief discussion of the effect of government subsi1ization of maternal deliveries and/or abortions on the abortion demand of pregnant married women who had not planned to conceive. The practice of paying the full cost of whichever procedure the woman chooses is shown to have the net effect of reducing the demand for abortions. Moreover, the government would save little in direct expenditures by only subsidizing maternities but not abortions. These conclusions must be tempered by the observation that they apply only to the women in the data set from the 1970-72 period. Since that time, menstrual aspiration has come into widespread use and the demand for abortions may well have changed.
Description: Photocopy of typescript. Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Hawaii at Manoa, 1979. Bibliography: leaves 109-112. x, 112 leaves ill. 29 cm
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/9595
Rights: All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Keywords: Abortion -- Economic aspects -- Hawaii, Abortion services -- Economic aspects -- Hawaii, Pregnancy, Unwanted -- Hawaii, Medical care, Cost of -- Hawaii

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