The Effect of Abortion Legalization on Fertility, Marriage and Long-Term Outcomes for Women


We evaluate the short- and long-term effects for women of access to legal, subsidized abortion. We find evidence that the legalization of abortion in Spain in 1985 led to an immediate decrease in births, more pronounced for younger women in provinces with a higher supply of abortion services. Affected women were more likely to graduate from high school, less likely to marry young, less likely to divorce in the long-term, and reported higher life satisfaction as adults. We do not find negative effects on completed fertility, nor do we find significant effects on labor market outcomes in the long run.