Wednesday, May 04, 2005



Crime in America has fallen dramatically since the early 90's. In fact, crime is down 50% since 1990. Most (but not all) of us are old enough to remember when crime was the #1 concern on everyone's mind. Then crime started to fall dramatically about the time Bill Clinton was elected. Conservatives hailed stricter laws, longer prison sentences, and a much larger number of citizens imprisoned as the reason for the the drop in crime. Turns out, they were mostly wrong! Liberals said "It's the economy, stupid!" We were mostly wrong too! Moderates said it was our successful education campaign that drastically reduced the amount of crack cocaine consumed. You guessed it, they were mostly wrong too!

Steven Levitt is an economics professor at the University of Chicago. One of his areas of study is the economics of crime. Levitt studied the crime statistics and realized that while all the reasons stated above had some marginal affect on the crime rate, none could explain the drastic drop in crime. So he did some digging. What he found is a bit discomforting. The real reason for the drop in crime... legalized abortion. Abortion was legalized in the US in the late 70's. The time these potential unwanted children would have begun hitting their teens coincides with the beginning of the drop in crime.

When you stop and think about it, it makes sense. Social scientists have long known that unwanted children have a high likelihood of becoming criminals. Legalized abortions allowed thousands of single teenage women to terminate unwanted pregnancies. Instead of 14, 15, and 16 yr. olds becoming single mothers of an unwanted, unplanned child, most of these young women now were having welcome children as married 20 somethings. The societal impact has obviously been huge.

I must admit, I am a bit uncomfortable with these findings. Even though I am "pro-choice", I have always thought of the impact of abortion being primarily on the individual. I have always thought of it as sometimes being the lesser of two evils. I am not sure how comfortable I am with discovering that legal abortion has actually been a boon to society. But there it is, and the facts speak for themselves.......

Find out more HERE and HERE

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