The economics of abortion and its links with stigma: A secondary analysis from a scoping review on the economics of abortion.


Moore B(1), Poss C(1), Coast E(2), Lattof SR(2), van der Meulen Rodgers Y(3)(4).
Author information:
(1)Ipas, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States of America.
(2)Department of International Development, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, United Kingdom.
(3)Department of Labor Studies and Employment Relations, Rutgers University, Piscataway, New Jersey, United States of America.
(4)Department of Women's and Gender Studies, Rutgers University, Piscataway, New Jersey, United States of America.


BACKGROUND: Although abortions are a common aspect of people's reproductive lives, the economic implications of abortion and the stigmas that surround abortion are poorly understood. This article provides an analysis of secondary data from a scoping review on the economic impact of abortion to understand the intersections between stigma and economics outcomes at the microeconomic (i.e., abortion seekers and their households), mesoeconomic (i.e., communities and health systems), and macroeconomic (i.e., societies and nation states) levels. METHODS AND FINDINGS: We conducted a scoping review using the PRISMA extension for Scoping Reviews. Studies reporting on qualitative and/or quantitative data from any world region were considered. For inclusion, studies must have examined one of the following microeconomic, mesoeconomic, or macroeconomic outcomes: costs, benefits, impacts, and/or value of abortion-related care or abortion policies. Our searches yielded 19,653 items, of which 365 items were included in our final inventory. As a secondary outcome, every article in the final inventory was screened for abortion-related stigma, discrimination, and exclusion. One quarter (89/365) of the included studies contained information on stigma, though only 32 studies included stigma findings directly tied to economic outcomes. Studies most frequently reported stigma's links with costs (n = 24), followed by economic impact (n = 11) and economic benefit (n = 1). Abortion stigma can prevent women from obtaining correct information about abortion services and laws, which can lead to unnecessary increases in costs of care and sizeable delays in care. Women who are unable to confide in and rely on their social support network are less likely to have adequate financial resources to access abortion. CONCLUSIONS: Abortion stigma has a clear impact on women seeking abortion or post-abortion care at each level. Programmatic interventions and policies should consider how stigma affects delays to care, access to accurate information, and available social and financial support, all of which have economic and health implications.