Abortion Policy

An Evaluation of the Consequences for Maternal and Infant Health

By Jerome S. Legge Jr.

Subjects: Ethics
Paperback : 9780873959599, 182 pages, June 1985
Hardcover : 9780873959582, 182 pages, June 1985

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Table of contents

List of Tables
List of Figures

I. Introduction
Statement of Purpose
Abortion as a Public Policy Issue
Abortion Policy Studies: Some Observations on the Literature
The Dependent Variables and their Measurement
Problems in the Sources of Data on Abortion
The Cases

II. The Effects of Abortion Procedure and Policy: State of the Art
The Medical Effects of Abortion
Specific Procedures
Other Risk Factors
Subsequent Reproductive Health Psychological Aspects of Abortion
The Role of Counseling Abortion Policy
Types of Policies
Legal and Illegal Abortion
The Hypotheses

III. Research Design and Methodology
Time-Series Research Designs

Design Issues The Statistical Methodology of this Study
Regression Analysis
Adjusting the Error Term
Testing the Intervention IV. Romania: A Tightening of Liberal Policy

Background of Abortion Policy in Eastern Europe
Implementation of Policy
Study Design
The Data

V. Analysis of a Moderate Change: The British Abortion Act of 1967
The 1967 Abortion Act
Implementation Problems
Research Design
Data Analysis

VI. Liberalizing A Restrictive Abortion Policy: The New York City Case

The Movement toward More Liberal Laws
Background of the New York State Law
Implementation of the Law
Preliminary Consequences
Study Design
Data Analysis
Alternative Explanations

VII. Abortion Policy in the United States: The Effects of Roe versus Wade

The 1973 Supreme Court Ruling
Problems of Implementation
Study Design
Data Analysis

The Effects of Roe versus Wade Considered Alone
The Joint Effects of the Supreme Court Decision and Government Spending on Health and Social Programs
Inequality of Access to Abortion: White Versus Nonwhite Maternal and Infant Health
The Comparative Effects of the Supreme Court Decision and Government Spending on Health and Social Programs on Whites and Nonwhites Discussion

VIII. Toward a Theory of Abortion Policy

Summary of Findings on Original Hypotheses
Examining Abortion as a Policy Intervention
A Model for Future Research on Abortion Policy in Relation to Infant and Maternal Health
Concluding Comments



In the first study of its kind, Jerome Legge provides a reasoned and dispassionate summary of the procedures and effects of abortion. The ethics of abortion have been widely discussed by philosophers, social scientists, and health professionals. Until now, however, little has been devoted to the results of various abortion policy changes.

Legge examines the effects of abortion policy changes on maternal and infant health in the United States, Great Britain, and Eastern Europe. He looks at both liberal and restrictive abortion policies, demonstrating the importance of historical and cultural context on the outcome of policy changes.

Abortion Policy makes available the latest research in the field. It addresses many of the questions evaded in the moral debate on abortion: Have legal abortions lowered the overall number of abortion deaths? Has maternal health improved for society as a whole? Has infant and fetal mortality been reduced? How and to what extent does abortion policy interact with other societal interventions such as health spending and contraception?

Jerome S., Jr., is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Georgia.