We estimate the impact of lockdown during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic on abortion-seeking behavior in Spain. We exploit the unexpected announcement and immediate implementation of a strict, nationwide lockdown which started in mid-March 2020 and lasted for 8 weeks. We explore two channels through which lockdown could have affected the need for and access to abortion services in Spain: limited social interactions and a potentially lower accessibility of health care services. We find evidence that due to a decrease in social interactions, the number of unwanted pregnancies conceived during lockdown fell by 45% among affected women. We do not find any effect on the supply side: neither travel restrictions nor overcrowded hospitals seem to have altered the accessibility of abortion services in Spain. In future work, we plan to explore also the third channel through which lockdown could have affected abortion-seeking behavior – the demand for abortion services.
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