April 27, 2005

Abortion: The Great Crime Reducer

Marc Comtois

Writing for the American Conservative, Steve Sailer has brought to light a whispered belief by some that abortion reduces the crime rate. It is explained by University of Chicago economist Steven D. Levitt in his new book, Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything and has, according to Sailer, been deemed intellectually sound by the likes of George Will and Robert Samuelson. The reason it is only whispered, as Sailer puts it, is because "Levitt’s hypothesis embarrasses pro-choicers, who don’t want public discussion of how quite a few people, from crusading eugenicist and Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger onward, have backed fertility control as a way to limit 'undesirables.' Since blacks undergo about three times as many abortions as whites per capita, white liberals realize that endorsing Levitt’s reasoning could be politically disastrous." I urge you to read the piece as Sailer explains the fallacy behind the theory and other social costs of abortion.

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A very interesting read.

Is it me or is there a trend among intellectuals to justify leftist policies of the 70s.

Linking abortion to any crime rate reduction is ridiculous on many lines the first of which being that there is no one to one correlation between an aborted fetus and the crime rate.

Think the implications if people gave credence to this study. People would come to think that if we made black mothers abort ALL their children by 2025 or so we'd see less crime than at any time in the modern era.

What's scary is that somebody funded this project and that people have given it merit.

Posted by: don at April 27, 2005 3:38 PM

Does abortion prevent some future criminals from being born? Certainly. Does it also prevent some future firefighters, doctors, economists and pianists from being born? Certainly.

Whatever the validity, or lack thereof, of Levitt's theory, no reasonable person would argue that the potential for reduced crime is a reason to promote abortion. Whatever one's view on abortion, it is a debate in which this theory has no place.

Posted by: Sam Horton at April 27, 2005 4:11 PM

Overpopulation leads to overtaxed community resources and overtaxed community resources lead to crime. That has nothing to do with "undesirables" or anything else, it's just a simple fact.

Posted by: Paul Gowder at May 5, 2005 3:34 PM

"Fact" though it may be, the reasonable remedy of birth control [other than abortion] should be sufficient to relieve such "taxing." The larger question is whether life, or potential life for those who don't oppose abortion, is a legitimate price to be paid for not overtaxing society in the manner you mention? Is a "civilization" best served by boiling things down to a such a pragmatic level or is there room to aspire to a higher expectation?

Posted by: Marc Comtois at May 5, 2005 6:49 PM