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Am J Public Health. 2015 Apr;105(4):680-2. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2014.302401. Epub 2015 Feb 25.

Reproductive justice and the pace of change: socioeconomic trends in US infant death rates by legal status of abortion, 1960-1980.

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Nancy Krieger, Mathew V. Kiang, Jarvis T. Chen, and Pamela D. Waterman are with the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA. Nakul Singh and Brent A. Coull are with the Department of Biostatistics, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA. Sofia Gruskin and Jillian Gottlieb are with the Program on Global Health and Human Rights, Institute for Global Health, University of Southern California, Los Angeles. Jason Beckfield is with the Department of Sociology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA.


US infant death rates for 1960 to 1980 declined most quickly in (1) 1970 to 1973 in states that legalized abortion in 1970, especially for infants in the lowest 3 income quintiles (annual percentage change = -11.6; 95% confidence interval = -18.7, -3.8), and (2) the mid-to-late 1960s, also in low-income quintiles, for both Black and White infants, albeit unrelated to abortion laws. These results imply that research is warranted on whether currently rising restrictions on abortions may be affecting infant mortality.

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