This project evaluates the impact of laws requiring parental involvement in minors' decisions to obtain an abortion. It tests for an association between parental involvement abortion laws and state policies and the rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea in women aged 15-19 and 20-24.
The ongoing and heated debates over federal and state policies that influence access to abortion turn in large part on strongly held normative beliefs. However, the positive evidence on how abortion policies influence risky sexual behavior—particularly among minors—also figures prominently in these discussions. Specifically, over the past three decades, most states have introduced controversial laws that mandate parental involvement in minors’ access to abortion services. Several previous studies have empirically evaluated the effects of parental involvement laws on sexual risk-taking among teens; however, these studies provide contradictory evidence. Drawing on multiple sources of data, this study seeks to reconcile the disparate findings in the existing literature and to provide new and comprehensive evidence on the association between parental involvement laws and rates of sexually transmitted infections among teens.