The unintended effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and stay-at-home orders on abortions
Fernanda Márquez-Padilla, Profesora Investigadora Titular de la División de Economía del CIDE, Biani Saavedra escribieron el artículo The unintended effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and stay-at-home orders on abortions en el Journal of Population Economics.
We study the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic and of government mandated mitigation policies on the number of abortions performed by Mexico City’s public abortion program. We find that the COVID-19 pandemic and stay-at-home orders (SAHO) implemented in Mexico led to unintended consequences for women’s sexual and reproductive health. Using difference-in-differences and event study analyses, we show that SAHO and the pandemic led to a fall in abortions of around 25% and find no evidence that unsafe abortions increased. We find a decrease in the share of single and teenage women getting abortions, arguably due to fewer unwanted pregnancies from decreased sexual activity, and estimate that at most 9.8% of the total fall in abortions can be attributed to this. We complement our analysis using call data from a government helpline and show that the SAHO time period led to fewer abortion- and contraception-related calls but to an increase in pregnancy-related calls.
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