Study: Abortion legalization increased demand for pets

paper published through the Social Science Research Network by economists at Melbourne, Australia’s Monash University, titled “Child vs. Pet: The Effect of Abortion Legalization on the Demand for Pets,” found that the demand for pets slightly increased with the legalization of abortion.

The resolution of this most pressing question came as America nears the 40th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade.

“We find that the demand for pets is affected by liberalization of birth control methods, suggesting a substitutable property of pets for children,” the researchers wrote. “The probability of women affected by abortion legalization owning any pet is 9.6 percentage points higher than for non-affected women.”

They add that women “affected” by abortion legalization spent on average eight minutes more on pets.

Youjin Hahn, one of the paper’s authors, explained to The Daily Caller that they were looking at a question that, “surprisingly,” no other researchers had yet investigated.

“We learned from earlier studies that abortion legalization has permanently decreased the fertility of women who experienced their peak childbearing years (aged 16-26) in the early 1970s,” Hahn said in an email to TheDC.

“Given human’s desire to seek companionship, we were curious whether the decrease in fertility has any impact on the demand for pets of the affected women and surprisingly no one has looked at this question.”

According to Hahn, one big takeaway from the research is that people may be substituting pet companionship for their lack of children.

“We want to point out that what we show is the longer term effect of abortion legalization,” Hahn added. “That is, on average, women who were allowed legal abortion in their early twenties have higher probability of owning pets and spent more time on pets later in life.”

The Melbourne economists compared women living in early-abortion legalizing states (like California, New York, Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii) at the peak of their childbearing years in the 1970s to women in states where abortion was not yet legal. They looked for patterns of pet ownership in 2010 and 2011 among the same populations groups, using data from the March Current Population Survey and the American Time Use Survey.

The researchers explained in their paper that due to a lack of data on pet ownership in the past, they were unable to examine the effects of Roe v. Wade on pet ownership when the Supreme Court decision first came down in the 1970s.

Hahn noted that his team plans to also examine how demand for pets differs among families, depending on the number of children they have.

This article was updated after publication to include commenst from Youjin Hahn.

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