A preliminary investigation of the effects of restrictions on Medicaid funding for abortions on female STD rates

Academic Article


  • There is evidence in the economics literature that restrictions on Medicaid funding for abortion reduces the demand for abortion. The unresolved question is whether such restrictions also increase safe sex (that is, pregnancy avoidance) behavior among women. This study explores that issue using state-level gonorrhea rates among women for 1975-1995. The rationale is that sexual behavior that leads to greater risk of accidental pregnancies is likely to be highly correlated with sexual behavior leading to greater risk of STD infection. Since gonorrhea has an incubation period of about a week, and is transmitted almost exclusively through sexual intercourse, a change in sexual behavior should soon be followed by a change in gonorrhea rates. The study used a partial adjustment model with lagged-dependent variables estimated using Arellano-Bond's GMM method. Results fail to find any statistically significant evidence that Medicaid funding restrictions are effective in reducing gonorrhea rates. This finding is robust to a variety of alternate specifications and tests. This suggests that restrictions on Medicaid funding for abortion fail to promote safe sex behavior among women. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • Health Economics  Journal
  • Pubmed Id

  • 15148373
  • Author List

  • Sen B
  • Start Page

  • 453
  • End Page

  • 464
  • Volume

  • 12
  • Issue

  • 6