The Impact of COVID-19 on Abortions in Spain


We study changes in abortions in Spain around the first COVID-19 lockdown. We find a large drop of 24% in the number of abortions during and shortly after the strict lockdown in spring 2020. We explore to which extent the fall was driven by fewer (unintended) pregnancies due to social isolation versus harder access to abortion services. We show that the drop was not more pronounced in areas located further away from abortion clinics, nor in locations with more COVID-19 hospitalizations. The fall in abortions was 45% larger among non-cohabiting women (relative to cohabiting women experiencing a 16% decline). We also document a 29% drop in the abortion ratio (abortions over all pregnancies) driven exclusively by non-cohabiting women. Overall, our results suggest that the main driver of the drop in abortions in Spain was a reduction in unintended pregnancies among single women during the lockdown, due to reduced social interactions.