One of the reasons given by pro-choice people for legalized abortion is that it reduces crime rates. But does it really reduce crime rates?
Let’s take a look at a two-part series by economist John Lott, writing for Fox News.
In the United States from the early 1970s, when abortion was liberalized, through the late 1980s, there was a tremendous increase in the rate of out-of-wedlock births, rising from an average of 5 percent of all births from 1965 to 1969 to more than 16 percent two decades later (1985 to 1989).
What happened to all these children raised by single women? No matter how much they want their children, single parents tend to devote less attention to them than married couples do. Single parents are less likely than married parents to read to their children or take them on excursions, and more likely to feel angry at their children or to feel that they are burdensome. Children raised out of wedlock have more social and developmental problems than children of married couples by almost any measure — from grades to school expulsion to disease. Unsurprisingly, children from unmarried families are also more likely to become criminals.
This material is exposited more fully in Lott’s book “Freedomnomics“, which is one of my favorite books. I bought it for 3 of my friends as part of their Christmas present bundle, including Andrew and Jen, the smartest married couple in the world!
About the author
John R. Lott, Jr. is a Senior Research Scholar at the University of Maryland. Lott has held positions at the University of Chicago, Yale University, Stanford, UCLA, Wharton, and Rice and was the chief economist at the United States Sentencing Commission during 1988 and 1989. Lott has published over 100 articles in academic journals. He is the author of six books including: “More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws”, “The Bias Against Guns”, and most recently “Freedomnomics.” Opinion pieces by Lott have appeared in such places as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, and The Chicago Tribune. He has appeared on such television programs as the ABC and NBC National Evening News broadcasts, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, and the Today Show. He received his Ph.D. in economics from UCLA in 1984.