Wednesday, 14 March, 2001

Did Roe v. Wade Abort Crime?

I'll probably get a batch of hate mail from this one, but this posting on Plastic and the resulting discussion just put me over the edge.  The posting on Plastic is about an article at The American Prospect Online titled Did Roe v. Wade Abort Crime?  The article itself discusses a study by John Donohue (a law professor) and Steven Levitt (an economist) titled "Legalized Abortion and Crime," which is scheduled for publication in the May 2001 issue of Harvard University's  Quarterly Journal of Economics.  The gist of the study:  there is a high correlation between abortion rates and crime rates 15 to 18 years later.  The idea being that "poor, unmarried, young, low-education women tend to have more abortions. And their kids tend to have higher rates of crime."  More abortions means fewer such kids, resulting in less crime.

It's hardly surprising once it's pointed out.  And I'm not about to dispute their numbers, which have been subjected to over a year of peer review.  I will point out, however, that correlation doesn't necessarily mean causation.  That is, just because most rapists are men doesn't necessarily mean that most men are rapists (radical feminist slogans notwithstanding).

I can't imagine that anybody would seriously advocate abortion as a means of crime control.  Truthfully, I'm appalled  that it's advocated as a method of birth control, or tolerated at all except in extreme cases.  Religious or moral issues aside, how can we allow a woman and her doctor to kill an unborn child with impunity when, if the same child was killed by an assailant in an attack on the mother, the assailant is charged with murder?  Abortion advocates (and forget the "Pro Choice" label—their negative reaction to the Choose Life initiative shows them for what they really are) claim to be supporting "a woman's right to choose."  But women already have the right to choose.  They can choose to abstain from sex, or choose to use one of the many readily available and very effective means of contraception.  Rape excepted, unplanned pregnancy these days is simply irresponsible and stupid.