Do women legislators matter? Female legislators and state abortion policy

Michael B. Berkman, Robert E. O'connor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

160 Scopus citations


This study evaluates the impact of women state legislators on state abortion policies. Two dimensions of state abortion policy were identified and it was found that women state legislators, once they reach a critical mass within the legislature, can affect state policies on regulations concerning parental notification of abortions, but not public funding. But women legislators, and especially women Democratic legislators, can affect state abortion policies in other ways that are less well understood. Through an analysis of post-Webster abortion bills it was found that women representatives secure committee assignments that allow them to block pro-life legislation. This is especially pronounced in states with few women legislators and states most likely (according to other studies) to support policies restricting choice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)102-124
Number of pages23
JournalAmerican Politics Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1993

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


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