Does abortion reduce violent crime? Does abortion reduce child abuse?

If abortion reduces crime, why does the evidence show that it doesn't?
If abortion reduces crime, why does the evidence show that it doesn’t?

Grr, my annoying co-workers are at it again this morning. This time, it’s the man who annoyed me about overpopulation fears, which I responded to earlier this week. He says to me this morning that Alabama is going to have a big problem with violent crime because they’ve stopped abortions. These sorts of views are common among TV-watchers, but not among those study-readers.

Life Site News reports on a Yale Law & Economics Research Paper.

First, let’s see the abstract:

Abortion may prevent the birth of “unwanted” children, who would have relatively small investments in human capital and a higher probability of crime. On the other hand, some research suggests that legalizing abortion increases out-of-wedlock births and single parent families, which implies the opposite impact on investments in human capital and thus crime. The question is: what is the net impact? We find evidence that legalizing abortion increased murder rates by around about 0.5 to 7 percent. Previous estimates are shown to suffer from not directly linking the cohorts who are committing crime with whether they had been born before or after abortion was legal.

And now, let’s see the Life Site News article:

Law professors John R. Lott, Jr. of Yale Law School and John E. Whitley of the University of Adelaide found that legalizing abortion increased murder rates by up to seven percent. They concluded that legalizing abortion is a contributing factor to the great increase in out‑of‑wedlock births and single parent families, which in turn contribute to increased crime rates. Since 1970, the percentage of single‑parent households in the United States has nearly tripled, from 11 percent to 32 percent, and the percentage of out‑of‑wedlock births has nearly quadrupled, from 11 percent to 43 percent of all children.7 Children born out-of-wedlock and raised by only one parent have a significantly higher incidence of crime.

There are many other fundamental problems with the conclusion that legalized abortion leads to a decrease in crime.

Statistician David Murray confirmed that young males between the ages of 17 and 25 commit the majority of crimes. However, if abortion had reduced crime, the crime rates in the United States would have dropped first among young people. They did not. Instead, the number of crimes committed by older people dropped first. Nearly 60% of the decline in murder since 1990 involved killers aged 25 and older — who were born before Roe v. Wade.8

Murray also found that other nations with high abortion rates showed a large increase in crime about eighteen years after they legalized abortion. For example, in Great Britain, which legalized abortion in 1968, violent crime has been rising steeply since about 1985 ― exactly when it should have been declining, according to the Donohue‑Levitt thesis. Additionally, Russia, with the highest abortion rate on earth, has experienced a tidal wave of every kind of violent crime following the breakup of the Soviet Union.9

FBI statistics showed that the murder rate in 1993 for 14‑ to 17‑year‑olds in the USA (born in the years 1975‑1979, which had very high abortion rates) was 3.6 times higher than that of kids who were the same age in 1984 (who were born in the pre‑legalization years of 1966‑1970). Additionally, since Black women were having abortions at a much higher rate than White women, we should have expected the murder rate among Black youth to have declined beginning in about 1991. Instead, it increased more than five hundred percent from 1984 to 1993.10

Finally, the huge increase in violent crime that peaked in 1991 and then began to decline is more closely related to the crack epidemic, not abortion. The Donohue‑Levitt study confirms that the crime rate rose and fell exactly where crack cocaine was most easily available ― in the large cities and among young Black males.11 This is also confirmed by the rise in crime during the time period 1984 to 1991, after a decline from 1980 to 1984. If abortion were the primary cause of a decline in violent crime, the crime rate would have been relatively stable during the time period 1980 to 1991.

By the way, a good book to buy on this is John Lott’s “Freedomnomics: Why the Free Market Works and Other Half-Baked Theories Don’t“. One third of the book covers this topic.

And if you’re wondering what caused the decline in violent crime rates in the 1990s, the answer to that is that it was multiple factors. Better policing, mandatory sentencing laws, legalized concealed carry laws, and other factors were responsible.

Abortion and child abuse

Sometimes, pro-abortion people put forward a similar argument about abortion preventing child abuse. This argument seems intuitive, but from an evidence point of view, it’s false.

Here’s a report from Life News about a study out of Bowling Green State University.

Excerpt:

For decades, evidence has existed showing abortion contributes to a rise in child abuse. Now a new study by a post-abortion research institute and Bowling Green State University professors finds that women who have abortions are more likely to abuse their children.

Published in the medical journal Acta Paediatrica, the study found that women who have had abortions are 2.4 times more likely to physically abuse their children. Pro-life advocates say it proves the need for providing women with post-abortion counseling to help deal with the emotional trauma of the abortion.

[…]The authors suggested that “emotional difficulties and unresolved grief responses” from pregnancy loss, whether voluntary or involuntary, could have a negative impact on women’s mental health and lead to unhealthy parenting responses.

According to the Illinois-based Elliot Institute, which released information about the study’s findings, prior surveys “have linked pregnancy loss to an increase in grief reactions, anxiety, depression, sleep disturbances, and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, all of which can have a negative impact on parent/child relationships.”

The post-abortion research group also points to a 2002 study published in the Journal of Child Psychiatry and Psychology that found abortion has been linked to an increase in substance abuse and thoughts of suicide, which could also contribute to child abuse.

The new study also found that women who had more than one miscarriage or stillbirth were more likely to engage in child abuse than women who had just one. However, women who had abortions were more likely to abuse their children whether they had one or more than one abortion.

“Regardless of the specific mechanisms at play, maternal history of one induced abortion does appear to be a marker for increased risk of physical abuse,” the authors concluded.

Whenever I read about how studies contradict people’s intuitions about what will and will not work, it makes me sad that so many people who live life on intuitions and feelings are still allowed to vote. If only we had a society where reason and evidence were seen as indispensable for building up your view of the world.

By the way, if you’re looking for a good article for debating other aspects of the Alabama pro-life law, my friend William, who loves to debate everything, and he always wins, just posted this article about 9 myths about the Alabama pro-life law.

General advice on countering your co-workers

I found that if I passed on TV and movies, I could buy pretty much any book I wanted that has research-based responses to these common questions from secular leftists. All it takes is a commitment to dedicate your book-buying budget to the task of responding to challenges, instead of producing feelings.

I notice a lot of Christian women in my office reading fiction books, while the Christian men are always talking about TV and movies. Fiction and entertainment are useless for putting forward Bible-based views and supporting evidence in controversial discussions. Instead of wasting your money on fiction and entertainment, listen closely to what people in your office are saying, and then purchase and train with resources that help you to serve God in these discussions. Bible verses and prayers alone will not equip you to serve in difficult situations.

27 thoughts on “Does abortion reduce violent crime? Does abortion reduce child abuse?”

  1. And remind the Leftists that with their goal of killing children who *might* grow up to be violent criminals, they must be super pro-capital punishment. After all, they want to kill people before they commit crimes.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. If you can murder them in the womb, you can beat and murder them outside of the womb.

    BTW, have you ever noticed that population controllers never lead by example?!? It’s always “the other guy” who has to be sacrificed for the “greater good.”

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    1. I don’t know why pro-abortion people are viewed as anything more than psychopaths. If you (recklessly) perform an action that creates a new innocent human being, then to kill that being for your own selfish happiness is the worst thing a person can do. We do not kill people so we can continue to have fun. When we are strong we take responsibility. We protect others. We do not hurt weak people.

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      1. I agree 100%, WK! (And I’m sharing this article widely.)

        I’ve never understood how liberals can support abortion. I was totally against it as a liberal atheist, because I was for the oppressed and against the oppressor. This was right after Roe v Wade.

        But, we must remember that these are not liberals we are dealing with – they are Leftists. And Marxists have always loved abortion as a very “efficient” means of population control.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. What if the changes are coincidental and abortion has nothing to do with murders? My opinion is they are unrelated.

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    1. I believe that abortion has everything to do with murder. As I told a woman who accused me “You’re not pro-life, you are pro-birth:”

      “No, Ma’am, I am just anti-murder in one more location than you are.”

      Liked by 3 people

  4. Reminds me of the movie, “Minority Report,” where they had a pre-crime unit based on pre-cognition. They arrested people before they committed their crime. In this case, we kill the children before they (maybe) grow up to be criminals. I’d like to ask these people what they think about killing people who actually *have* committed crimes.

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    1. I used to have people come up to me on the sidewalk all of the time and say “What is your view of the death penalty?” to which I pointed to the abortion mill and replied:

      “I’m certainly against it for the innocent!”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve heard a number of people observe cases of horrendous crime and then say something like: “I’m against the death penalty, but in his case I’d make an exception.” This seems to imply that they think it is designed for run-of-the-mill criminals in the first place.

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        1. Exactly!

          And that is the one I had trouble with, having been raised liberal and godless. I had to ask myself “Is that woman who injected drano into the veins of her enemy and then watched her die a slow tortuous death REALLY evil when I don’t believe in objective morality?!?”

          I could never get around that, because there is no way to reconcile atheism with objective moral values and duties. It simply cannot be done no matter how hypocritical the atheist is.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Sounds like you were that rare breed that cared about having coherent, consistent beliefs. I once had a long conversation with an atheist, who admitted to moral relativism and wrote off “evil” people as just mentally ill. Later in the conversation he ranted about evil CEOs not paying employees enough money. I pointed out that it would be hard to qualify them as mentally ill, and suggested they were just living out their own personal morality much like he was. If you talk to an atheist long enough, they will provide you with the rope to hang them.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. Absolutely correct! What a GREAT example you gave – hopefully that seed gained fruition with him or somebody listening in. Often the “guilty” party that atheists point to is the Ultimate CEO, the God of the Bible, which is really ironic. I wasn’t that sort of atheist. I realized that if the God of the Bible triggered me that much, then it was a case of “methinks he doth protest too much.”

            The other argument that really got me was the Leibniz Contingency Argument – not in formal form but just in the classic question “why does anything at all exist?” Not long after obtaining my PhD, I was giving a graduate engineering lecture – very high up stuff – and as I was walking down the hall of the engineering building afterwards to head for my car, this question “popped” into my head (Holy Spirit, right?) and my immediate answer to the question was “Because Carl Sagan says so.” Hahahaha! Yes, I was certainly Sagan’s disciple and his books were my “bible,” but when my answer came forth, I was INTENSELY creeped out by the lack of anything logically coherent in it and the downright (cult?) religious nature of it. “Dr. WGC, can you explain how you got from line 4 to line 5 in your proof there?” “No, just accept it because I said so. Or, because Carl Sagan did.” That is NOT how we operate in engineering!

            I remember that like it was yesterday – it was one of those “Aha!” moments along with the moral problem that the Holy Spirit was constantly pinging me with all along this journey where I was searching for truth, but often in the wrong places, but sometimes in decent places too. I read a lot, and I mean a LOT. And while it was mostly secular philosophical, historical, and biographical stuff, it was almost always non-fiction. Even though they were not Christian, the books were filled with tons of moral issues which were only resolved by borrowing from objective moral values and duties and at least some sort of theism as a minimum.

            That’s why when I encounter atheists, I look first to see if they are truth seekers or just purely stubborn insubordinates who have no desire for the truth, and I approach them differently in conversation. The former I ask questions of, the kinds of questions I could not resolve. The latter, I just mock with their inconsistencies, because although I know they won’t see it, I hope that others watching will. That’s just my approach and I respect others too, but many atheists aggressively evangelize their non-faith, while at least some are sincere truth-seekers.

            Liked by 1 person

          3. Yes, Sir – over 30 years ago!

            And Master’s in both engineering and mathematics. Those were the days, LOL!

            Liked by 1 person

          4. One of the nice things about our STEM degrees is that it’s really difficult to be a pure truth relativist with them.

            And my engineering work was in the areas of safety and protection so it’s kind of hard to be a moral relativist too. My designs were helping to protect the lives of other people, but why should I do a good job on a purely atheistic moral relativism? There’s really no way around it unless a person leads two entirely seperate lives, which a lot of atheists do.

            Liked by 1 person

  5. If we could only get those social justice types to see that abortion is oppression of Black women and the poor , we could cut abortion down to almost zero . Why can’t they see that the elites want them to kill their young so they don’t have to provide education and jobs to them ?

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