Abortion has been widely debated – obviously. We all know the screams from each side. “It’s a life! You can’t kill it!”, “It’s not a life; it’s a woman’s choice!” and even “It’s a life but you can still kill it!” – but an interesting one is, regardless of all this, the legalization of abortion lowers crime.
This argument was most popularly made by Steven Levitt and John J. Donohue III in 2000. In this paper, the two argued the legalization of abortion that came with Roe v. Wade in 1973 was responsible for the drop in crime in the 1990s. The logic sounds weird at first but give it a listen and maybe it will follow. Less kids are born into bad conditions because they’re aborted -> less kids exist that would commit crimes -> less crimes exist. Now, it makes more sense.
I see this theory being pressed on radically different sides. The left likes to use it because it somehow justifies abortion. But if the pro-life argument is correct that a fetus is a life then, it doesn’t matter whatsoever if it lowers crime. Murdering babies doesn’t justify lowering the national crime rate. I also see it pushed by National Socialists in favor of eugenics. This one also ignores the pro-life argument and is devoid of all humanity whatsoever.
But, this theory is based on a false premise that all children aborted would’ve lived in bad conditions. So far we have one major study (as far as I know) regarding this. What this study finds is only 28% of women have abortions because they can’t afford a baby right now.
Furthermore, this literally doesn’t matter. Even if you have a large amount of women that can’t afford a baby right now, it does not mean every single baby that can’t be afforded will become a criminal. Many will go to adoption homes. Many might go to a good system of foster care. Others might be raised out of poverty. The poverty level of the mother is a short-term thing.
Regardless of the amount of children that get brought out of poverty, this whole relay Levitt and Donohue rely on to explain how abortion leads to crime relies on the idea poverty must create crime. Levitt doesn’t even agree with this. But he still pushes it. A meta analysis overviews different life factors and how they relate to delinquency later in life. Family socio-economic status is very poorly correlated.
I compiled data on national amount of abortions by year and how many of them would count and compared them to the change in crime for corresponding years in the 1990s. What we find is across the board, abortions would only be responsible for a very small amount of the change in crimes from one year to the next. The year where this is the highest is when the percentage reaches 11%. But, the year it reaches 11% shows us there was more abortions that year while there was a small change in crime. So this year further decorrelates the two variables.
Feel free to point out the obvious. The amount of abortions went up and the amount of crime went down. The amount of carbon emissions went up too, but that means nothing. Also, obviously Levitt and Donohue must’ve known not every abortion would be a crime committing citizen as every year, there are more abortions than there are difference in crimes associated with it. But they clearly would’ve had to drastically overestimate to produce the idea abortion had a large effect.
These are things Levitt knows. He’s done studies on unemployment, poverty, and crime before. He has come to the same conclusion as I and others on the right that poverty does not create crime. Family socioeconomic status does not create crime. What does create crime? A number of variables. But not being poor and not not (?) being aborted. Simple stuff Levitt understands but he succumbs to this liberal idea of it when it comes to abortion and crime.
Furthermore, we all know population has been massively increasing, especially since the 1990s. Despite abortion being legalized and the citizens depopulating themselves, immigrants still come in and plenty of children are born. Between 1990 and 1999, nearly 10 million legal immigrants came into the United States, generally known to be disproportionately young men. This on it’s own would make up for a large amount of the children who disappeared. Not to mention the 20 million other new people who were accounted for in the population that year.
Donohue and Levitt fail to account for the amount of abortions happening before 1973. All Roe v. Wade did was make the first three months of abortion legal at the federal level, essentially taking away the states right to choose when abortions may happen. Plenty of states had abortion legal beforehand and even in general, abortions happened for the mothers health.
Lott and Whitley take this into account in their own analysis of the data and state,
“We find evidence that legalizing abortion increased murder rates by around about 0.5 to 7 percent.”
Technically Lott and Whitley only looked at murder rates according to that quotation.
The point would still stand that the crime drop would have to have happened earlier, while not as significantly. Added on to that, because some states already had abortion legal, the crime drop would also have to have not been so significant.
To sum it all up, put simply abortion does not lower crime. Abortion, at most, has a tiny effect, and that effect is so negligible, it doesn’t even correlate to crime. Even in a regression analysis, I only found a .388 correlation between abortions and the difference in number of crimes. That’s even when we can easily see the two go up together. Consider this theory to be bunk.