Measuring Abortion Access in Advanced Economies and Its Unequal Effects

Danielle Pullan

Access to abortion or a lack thereof can have huge socioeconomic consequences for individuals who may not be prepared to become a parent or increase the size of their family. Society took up the debate about whether and when abortion is morally permissible throughout the twentieth century, and the laws on abortion have been settled for decades in most of Europe. This dissertation project contributes to a growing literature that understands that having a right to an abortion is not sufficient to guarantee true access to abortion. Barriers to abortion access are political, social, and economic in nature, including the cost of obtaining an abortion, time spent traveling to multiple doctor appointments, counseling requirements, restrictions on sharing information about abortions, and policies that regulate doctors’ options for providing abortion care. By examining these barriers, particularly those that affect whether an abortion seeker can easily find a doctor, this research hopes to explain why many countries have a significant gap between their stated first principles about abortion and the reality of accessing abortion. Project duration: October 2020 to June 2024.

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