Date of Award

Spring 5-3-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Partha Deb

Second Advisor

Jessica Van Parys

Academic Program Adviser

Karna Basu


Abortion remains highly legally restricted in many developing countries, constraining women to unsafe providers. As of 2019, 23,000 women die each year due to unsafe abortions in low- and middle-income countries. These deaths are almost entirely preventable with universal access to safer abortion methods. In 2006, some regions in Peru, a country that legally restricts abortion except to preserve the mother’s life, adopted a harm-reduction approach to address this health issue within their legal framework. The model works by providing information on safely terminating a pregnancy using misoprostol, a drug generally prescribed by a gastroenterologist but available to women on the black market. Doctors provide information on proper dosage and perform health checks before and after abortions. Using a difference-in-differences model, I assess the impact of access to a safer abortion method without legalization on reproductive choices, pregnancy and child care practices, time devoted to work, bargaining power in the household, and risky behavior.



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