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Caterina Muratori (Reading/Collegio Carlo Alberto) – “The impact of abortion access on women’s agency” – PhD Seminar
In this paper, I document the centrality of reproductive rights, and in particular of the abortion right, in women’s empowerment process. Limiting access to abortion implies higher rate of unintended pregnancies and subsequent lower bargaining power for women, particularly among poor and vulnerable groups. I start from the evidences that estimate a sharp reduction in the abortion rate and an increase in the fertility rate after the implementation of many state laws regulating abortion in U.S., the so-called Targeted Restrictions on Abortion Providers (TRAP). I evaluate the second order effect of these restrictive policies on violence against women within family and in the workplace, using variation caused by House Bill 2 of 2013 that suddenly closed nearly a half of Texas’ abortion clinics and doubled, on average, the distance from a Texas resident to her nearest clinic. I use a difference-in-difference design with year and city fixed effects to estimate the impact of a variation in abortion access on the number of reported cases of gender violence, using within city variation in access across time. A 30 minutes increase in distance from a city’s centroid to the nearest abortion clinic is associated with a 5.5% percent increase in the number of reported cases of gender violence the same period and a 5.7% percent increase the following year. The major part of the effect of restriction on abortion access on gender violence is driven by the impact on intimate partner violence (IPV).