The Role of Crisis Pregnancy Centers in Fertility Decisions

Abstract

In this paper, I study the location choice of Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs) and how they shape fertility decisions. CPCs provide counseling services from a “pro-life” (anti-abortion) perspective. I integrate a 30-year panel of CPCs and abortion providers with demographic group-level fertility outcomes in North and South Carolina. I find that, prior to 1990, CPCs located near abortion providers and in counties with higher teen abortion rates. Subsequently, CPCs prioritized locating in counties without CPC presence. Results from a 2SLS estimation show that CPCs increase the local birth rate by 10 percent and lower the abortion rate by 8.6 percent among teenage girls and women between 10 and 24 years of age. The abortion rate effect fades with age and reaches zero for women older than 30. The birth rate effect monotonically increases with age. Driving distance estimates are less precise but mirror these results. These findings suggest that CPCs are effectively carrying out their mission to alter abortion preferences and promote childbirth. The observed changes in teenage and young adult fertility point to a potentially broader impact of CPCs on other policy-relevant outcomes, such as educational attainment.

Béla Figge
Béla Figge
Doctoral Candidate in Economics

My research interests include health, environmental, and education economics