This research seeks to answer the following question: how do state-mandated parental involvement laws affect abortion rates across the country, and what impact does this have on educational attainment rates for women? In this study, Ordinary Least Squares regression-analysis will be utilized to estimate the impact parental notification laws have on girls' educational attainment in counties across the continental United States.
Access to abortion has become increasingly dependent on state laws. Federal judiciary decisions are currently in place to protect a woman's right to have an abortion, namely the 1973 Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade. The Court has only set a minimum standard of access for abortions. Currently, thirty-seven states in the U.S. mandate parental involvement when a minor decides to have an abortion (Guttmacher Institute 2018). The strictness of these mandates vary by state. Twenty-six states require one (or both) parents to consent, and eleven states require that one (or both) parents to be notified (Guttmacher Institute 2018). As these mandates become increasingly strict, I hypothesize that there will be a negative effect on educational attainment rates for girls.
Previous studies have proven the significant adverse effects of early motherhood on educational attainment that begin immediately (Zabin, Hirsch, and Emerson 1989). If early motherhood negatively impacts education, then parental involvement laws, which decrease abortion rates, must negatively impact educational attainment rates. I expect that stricter parental involvement laws will decrease a minor's access to abortions, causing a negative impact on the educational attainment of women residing in counties within that state. This analysis will show what degree of parental involvement laws hinder educational attainment and can work towards ensuring a future of equal educational attainment in the United States.