First pregnancy and reciprocal impact of abortion and fertility in Romania

Cornelia Muresan, University of Cluj and Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research

High level of abortion was and still is a problem in Romania. This is proved also by the particular history of abortion laws since 1957, which profoundly marked the Romanian age pyramid, and by the high incidence of legal abortion number compared with the number of live births. The paper proposes an investigation of the abortion phenomenon impact on the fertility decline in Romania, between the late 1980s and early 2000s. A second issue is to find the factors that are relevant on these two phenomenons. Theories useful for our topic are linked to differences in motivation for low fertility in the first demographic transition and in the second one. By studying the first abortion I am able to distinguish between those having it after at least a birth (first demographic transition type behaviour) and those having it before any birth (second demographic transition type behaviour). By studying the first pregnancy and its outcome I find those who are more likely to decide to give up the first child (second demographic transition type behaviour). Factors’ effects, usually known as having impact on fertility, are also tested and the reciprocal effect of first birth and first abortion is studied using data from the Reproductive Health Survey conducted in Romania in 2004. Differences in quantum and tempo of first birth and first abortion upon education and financial autonomy of women, marital status, religiosity, residency area and region of development are shown. Cohort affiliation and period according to abortion laws regulation are considered. Regression models permit us to evaluate the effect of all these factors, excepting the human capital proxies.

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Presented in Session 24: Reproductive health and abortion