Tag Archives: Prisons

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.

Democrat Governor of Virginia decides to allow 206,000 convicted felons to vote

Which states allow felons to vote?
Which states allow felons to vote? (before this decision of course)

Hans sent me a post he wrote from Liberty Unyielding about a story from Virginia.

It says:

Democratic “Gov. Terry McAuliffe of Virginia will use his executive power on Friday to restore voting rights to more than 200,000 convicted felons, circumventing his Republican-run legislature. The action will overturn a Civil War-era provision in the state’s Constitution,” reported the New York Times earlier today. “The sweeping order, in a swing state that could play a role in deciding the November presidential election, will enable all felons who have served their prison time and finished parole to register to vote. Most are African-Americans, a core constituency of Democrats, Mr. McAuliffe’s political party.” Even murderers and rapists are now allowed to vote.

Naturally, convicted criminals vote almost entirely for Democrats, since Democrats are soft on criminals.

Consider this study reported in the Washington Examiner:

A new study of how criminals vote found that most convicts register Democratic, a key reason in why liberal lawmakers and governors are eager for them to get back into the voting booth after their release.

“Democrats would benefit from additional ex-felon participation,”said the authoritative study in The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science.

The authors, professors from the University of Pennsylvania and Stanford University, found that in some states, felons register Democratic by more than six-to-one. In New York, for example, 61.5 percent of convicts are Democrats, just 9 percent Republican. They also cited a study that found 73 percent of convicts who turn out for presidential elections would vote Democrat.

I would imagine that most criminals who have not yet been caught also vote Democrat. That’s the point of this action by the Democrat governor – to get more votes cast for Democrats.

More from Hans’ article:

Gov. McAuliffe’s action also allows felons to “serve on juries.” Do we really need violent felons, perjurers, and thieves serving on juries? And voting on ballot initiatives in Virginia that make law? Is lawmaking a function to be performed by law breakers? Or by law-abiding people?

Good Lord. And to think that Virginia used to be a conservative state.

Obama administration threatens landlords who screen tenants for felonies

Is Barack Obama focused on protecting the American people?
Is Barack Obama focused on protecting the American people?

Amazing article about the pro-criminal Democrats, from Investors Business Daily.

Excerpt:

The Obama administration has just made it easier for felons to move in next door. Landlords who don’t want tenants who are going to mug their neighbors or deal drugs will now be treated as racists and potentially sued.

Last week, the Department of Housing and Urban Development issued new guidelines to landlords, warning that bans against renters with criminal convictions violate the Fair Housing Act because they disproportionately affect minorities.

In effect, the Obama regime is now outlawing criminal background checks for apartment rentals, even though such screening is critical for the protection and security of tenants and property, and serves a legitimate business need.

In a newly released 10-page missive, HUD warns landlords they can be held liable for discrimination if they deny housing over criminal records.

“HUD will use the full force of the law to protect the fair housing rights of folks who’ve been arrested or who’re returning to their communities after serving time in jail or prison,” HUD Secretary Julian Castro warned.

By “full force,” he means the “disparate impact” theory of civil-rights enforcement, which HUD claims is written into the Fair Housing Act even though the phrase appears nowhere in the statute.

Disparate impact holds businesses liable for colorblind policies and practices that may have adverse outcomes for minorities — in this case, screening all apartment applicants for criminal histories. It doesn’t matter if there is zero intent to discriminate in carrying out such polices. The policies will be condemned as racist regardless.

This isn’t surprising, because the Obama administration has a long history of favoring criminals’ rights over the rights of law-abiding taxpayers.

Consider these numbers from CNS News.

They write:

According to weekly detention and departure reports from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, there were 167,527 non-detained convicted criminal aliens in the United States as of Jan. 26 of this year, a congressional hearing revealed Thursday.

House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah.) read the statistic aloud Thursday durin a hearing examining ICE’s priorities and procedures for removing criminal aliens currently living in the United States.

“In that report, it said that there are 167,527 non-detained, final-order convicted criminals on the loose in the United States,” Chaffetz pointed out while questioning ICE Director Sarah Saldana.“These are people that are here illegally, get caught, convicted, and you release back out into the public,” he said, adding that some of the crimes committed by those who have been released include homicide, sex crimes, child pornography, drunk driving, robbery and kidnapping.

The federal government announced Wednesday that ICE had released about 30,000 convicted criminal aliens from ICE custody in 2014 alone, according to The Washington Times, which first reported the statistic.

Meanwhile, the Washington Times reports on some criminals who were amnestied by Obama’s executive action.

Excerpt:

Nearly two dozen of the illegal immigrants picked up in a nationwide sweep for criminal aliens earlier this month had previously been approved for President Obama’s deportation amnesty, the Homeland Security Department said Wednesday.

All 23 were part of Mr. Obama’s original program for so-called Dreamers, which began in 2012 and which had granted tentative legal legal status to nearly 640,000 as of the end of last year.

Of the 23, 15 were still actively part of the amnesty, while eight had been approved once but had not gotten their status renewed after the first two-year period expired.

[…]Homeland Security spokeswoman Marsha Catron said 14 of the 15 Dreamers who were still part of “deferred action” were convicted of their crimes after they were approved. The other one had a has a pending criminal charge but hadn’t yet been convicted or acquitted.

This is all part of the Democrat tendency to criminalize law-abiding Americans, and de-criminalizing real criminals. They think it’s better to let the guilty go free, even if the innocent are put at risk. If you want a tough on crime government policy, then you need to vote Republican.

Does abortion really reduce crime? A look at the evidence from published studies

From Life Site News.

Excerpt:

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.

This might be a good post to store away, because I get the abortion reduces crime argument thrown at me about once a month. It has to be responded to with evidence. A good 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.

Lessons from the UK on how to reduce crime

From Ed West, writing in the UK Telegraph.

Excerpt:

A year after the riots, things are looking up in London. As the Economist reported last week, gun crime is down considerably, while overall crime continues to fall, and homicide is down to its lowest level since the early 1980s.

In fact Britain is following the example of the United States, where crime rose sharply from the 1960s to the early 1990s, when it began to fall almost as steadily. The US crime explosion had several causes, but the most prominent was the huge drop in the average length of sentences in the mid-1960s, largely as a result of political fashion. That trend was already reversed by the 1980s, but it took a while before Americans began to see that handing out tough sentences was effective – even at the cost of incarcerating one per cent of the population.

Today even Guardian writers accept that this “contentious” policy reduces crime, although for many years those advocating it were called everything under the sun. The most prominent of those advocates was the late James Q Wilson,who before he died wrote about the fall in crime he had helped to bring about:

One obvious answer is that many more people are in prison than in the past. Experts differ on the size of the effect, but I think that William Spelman and Steven Levitt have it about right in believing that greater incarceration can explain about one-quarter or more of the crime decline. Yes, many thoughtful observers think that we put too many offenders in prison for too long. For some criminals, such as low-level drug dealers and former inmates returned to prison for parole violations, that may be so. But it’s true nevertheless that when prisoners are kept off the street, they can attack only one another, not you or your family.

As Wilson pointed out, there are many other factors, such as a more competent and technically sophisticated police force, while rehabilitation programmes also make a difference (although longer stretches also make these more effective, since prisoners serving short sentences are out on the streets before they have finished their education). But prison still works pretty effectively.

So in London, and across Britain, crime is falling largely because our prison population has topped 86,000; a terrible waste for those inside, but better that their lives are wasted than those of their victims on the outside. And the benefits are considerable.

This dovetails nicely with Stephen Harper’s tough-on-crime measures.

Excerpt:

And while the overall homicide rate was up seven per cent — there were 598 homicides in Canada in 2011, 44 more than the previous year — the number in Ontario actually hit record lows.

Altogether, police services reported nearly 2 million incidents last year, about 110,000 fewer than in 2010, the agency reported.

The decline in the crime rate was driven mostly by decreases in property offences, mischief, break-ins and car theft. But the severity of crime index — a tool used to measure the extent of serious crime in Canada — also declined by six per cent.

“Overall, this marked the eighth consecutive decrease in Canada’s crime rate,” the study said. “Since peaking in 1991, the crime rate has generally been decreasing, and is now at its lowest point since 1972.”

Not surprisingly, the Conservatives took credit for the decline Tuesday, attributing falling crime rates over the last four decades to the government’s tough-on-crime agenda, which is just six years old.

“These statistics show that our tough on crime measures are starting to work. Our government is stopping the revolving door of the criminal justice system,” said Julie Carmichael, a spokeswoman for Public Safety Minister Vic Toews.

“The fact of the matter is that when the bad guys are kept in jail longer, they are not out committing crimes and the crime rate will decrease. However, there is still more work to do.”

The Democrats will never embrace measures like this here at home, even though they work. They are soft on crime.