The Impact of Legalized Abortion on Crime by John J. Donohue III & Steven D. Levitt

Part-written by the guy who wrote Freakonomics, this paper produces either pretty convincing or at least massively co-incidental evidence. The reduction of unwanted births by teenager mothers, single parents and/or those living in poverty strongly correlates with falling crimes levels in the 1990s, long before zero tolerance policing came into fashion. The social-economic benefits of reduced crime were estimated at $30bn a year (1996) and coupled with increased incarceration levels accounts for almost all of the reduction in crime in the US. The authors also point out that they are analysing data and not seeking encourage abortion or state limitation on female fertility rates.

Abortion is nothing pleasant, emotionally damaging and a hugely controversial issue in the US and Africa. I personally don’t like it but I understand the human reality. As long as abortion isn’t used as birth control, it should be the choice of the woman in conjunction with the partner to make a considered decision on a life-changing issue.

Full paper here

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