Does paid family leave affect abortion? : Evidence from New York

Allanson, Rory and Lenhart, Otto and Romiti, Agnese (2024) Does paid family leave affect abortion? : Evidence from New York. Discussion paper. University of Strathclyde.

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As state Paid Family Leave (PFL) programs continue to roll out across the United States, previous work has sought to investigate their impacts on economic, child, and maternal outcomes, including fertility. The impact they may have on abortion is however still unexplored. We employ the Synthetic-Difference-in-Differences estimator developed by Arkhangelsky et al. (2021) to estimate the effect of New York’s PFL program (NY-PFL) on abortion rates. Using abortion data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we find that the launch of NY-PFL in 2018 led to a 13.6% decrease in abortion rates per 1,000 women for the 20-39 age group, with smaller effects observed for older women. Event-study estimates reveal that this decrease intensified from an initial 7.1% decline in 2018-19 to 13.6% in 2021, while robustness checks underline the significance of our findings. Our exercise contributes further evidence towards the deliberation of state PFL programs.