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Undue Burdens: The Effect of Abortion Restrictions on Foster Care Entry Rates

By Sara Sutherland

Since the 1973 ruling of Roe v Wade, the Supreme Court has permitted a new abortion law enforced at the state level that requires parental consent or notification for unmarried minors seeking abortion. This paper uses a panel of pooled state-level foster care entry rates over the years 1990 through 2005 and considers the impact of parental involvement restrictions on the foster care entry rates. Adding state and year fixed effects to control for changing unobservable variables, the results suggest a statistically significant positive correlation between enforced parental consent laws and foster care entry rates during these years. The results provide evidence that the presence of enforced parental consent laws can explain some of the increase in foster care entries. In opposition to previous results testing alternative outcomes, these results point to the ineffectiveness of notice laws (as opposed to consent laws) when considering foster care entry as the tested outcome.

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Advisor: Marjorie McElroy

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