Sunday, July 13, 2008

Like Murders? Keep Abortion Legal

The stats work was done by John Lott, mostly to correct the egregious stupidity of "Freakonomics." But the conclusions are interesting regardless.

To understand why abortion might not cut crime, one should first consider how dramatically it changed sexual relationships. Once abortion became widely available, people engaged in much more premarital sex, and also took less care in using contraceptives...All of these outcomes — more out-of-wedlock births, fewer adoptions than expected, and less pressure on men “to do the right thing” — led to a sharp increase in single-parent families

...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 [see any of the Rockford Institute's publications during the 1980's, e.g. for verification.]

Unfortunately for those who argue that abortion reduces crime, Donahue and Levitt’s [Freakonomics] research suffered from methodological flaws. As The Economist noted, “Donohue and Levitt did not run the test that they thought they had.” Work by two economists at the Boston Federal Reserve, Christopher Foote and Christopher Goetz, found that, when the test was run correctly, it indicated that abortion actually increases violent crime.

The “abortion decreases crime” theory runs into even more problems when the population is analyzed by age group...Deregulating abortion would then [have] reduce[d] criminality first among age groups born after the abortion laws changed, when the “unwanted,” crime-prone elements began to be weeded out. Yet when we look at the declining murder rate during the 1990s, we find that this is not the case at all. Instead, murder rates began falling first among an older generation — those over 26 — born before Roe. It was only later that criminality among those born after Roe began to decline

Legalizing abortion increased crime. Those born in the four years after Roe were much more likely to commit murder than those born in the four years prior. This was especially true when they were in their “criminal prime,”...

Even if abortion did lower crime by culling out “unwanted” children (a conclusion derived from flawed statistics), this effect would be greatly outweighed by the rise in crime associated with the greater incidence of single-parent families that also follows from abortion liberalization. In short, more abortions have brought more crime

(Quoted by The Papist from a Fox News essay.)

Maybe Planned Parenthood should donate its $300MM/year in profits to the States for the purpose of building more prisons. After all, they are the proximate cause...

12 comments:

Jeni said...

Abortion DECREASES CRIME??? You know, just when I think they can't toss me one more curve ball, they do it anyway. This is preposterous.

Maybe Planned Parenthood should donate its $300MM/year in profits to the States for the purpose of building more prisons. After all, they are the proximate cause...

Outstanding idea.

Phelony Jones said...

Forgot something in paragraph 2. Abortion and the sexual revolution unleashed and increased a torrent of diseases on adults - and innocent children. Yes there were always STDs, but HIV, HPV and other diseases have blossomed and accelerated since abortion was legalized.

Other Side said...

I seem to recall it was a conservative argument that abortion reduced crime because, they claimed, a majority of abortions were done for black women.

That's of course not true. No one could be that callous, even conservatives. Just as this is a wild leap of illogic:

... HIV, HPV and other diseases have blossomed and accelerated since abortion was legalized.

I would need to see proof of the blossoming (odd choice of words) of disease and even then if it were true would consider it a coincidence. Especially since the number of abortions is decreasing across the country.

Hysteria rears its ugly head, again.

Amy said...

I seem to recall it was a conservative argument that abortion reduced crime because, they claimed, a majority of abortions were done for black women.

Um, not anyone here. Most conservatives - like me - are apt to point out that abortion does what Margaret Sanger envisioned it would: "cleanse" the race.

More black babies are killed by abortion every three days than the KKK killed in the entire history of the KKK.

That's an abomination.

There is no excuse for abortion, none whatsoever.

jaybullock said...

I guess if anyone knows from "methodological problems," it's John Lott.

Neo-Con Tastic said...

"I seem to recall it was a conservative argument that abortion reduced crime because, they claimed, a majority of abortions were done for black women."

OS making stuff up again. If this argument exists, I'd like to see it.

Secondly, 1 in 4 women now have an STD: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23574940/. I'm confident that is what we in the real world would call an increase.

PaulNoonan said...

First of all, this is old news and has, of course, been addressed by Levitt in detail:

http://freakonomics.blogs.nytimes.com/tag/christopher-foote/2005/12/05/?scp=1-b&sq=foote&st=nyt

Secondly, just because you do not like a conclusion does not mean that it is not true. The data says that it is likely that abortion reduced crime. This should not affect how you feel about abortion. If you think abortion is murder, this will not change your opinion. But neither should your opinion of abortion influence how you think about facts.

Lastly, John Lott is really really stupid:

http://freakonomics.blogs.nytimes.com/2005/05/15/abortion-and-crime-who-should-you-believe/

Now let’s talk about John Lott for a minute. Along with John Whitley, he wrote a paper on abortion and crime. It is so loaded with inaccurate claims, errors and statistical mistakes that I hate to even provide a link to it, but for the sake of completeness you can find it here. Virtually nothing in this paper is correct, and it is no coincidence that four years later it remains unpublished. In a letter to the editor at Wall Street Journal, Lott claims that our results are driven by the particular measure of abortions that we used in the first paper. I guess he never bothered to read our response to Joyce in which we show in Table 1 that the results are nearly identical when we use his preferred data source. It is understandable that he could make this argument five years ago, but why would he persist in making it in 2005 when it has been definitively shown to be false? (I’ll let you put on your Freakonomics-thinking-hat and figure out the answer to that last question.) As Lott and Whitley are by now well aware, the statistical results they get in that paper are an artifact of some bizarre choices they made and any reasonable treatment of the data returns our initial results. (Even Ted Joyce, our critic, acknowledges that the basic patterns in the data we report are there, which Lott and Whitley were trying to challenge.)

Enjoy!

Dad29 said...

"John Lott is really stupid."

Another persuasive argument, Paul?

Keep it up.

Amy said...

It amazes me the lengths to which pro-aborts will go to justify their evil.

Funny, that. The same people who say killing children in the womb reduces crime have a fit about the death penalty - when applied to actual, convicted criminals.

PaulNoonan said...

Dad, I supported my assertion that John Lott is really stupid with a link that described numerous problems with his methodology. But I suppose it's also possible that he is not stupid, and is instead a liar.

Amy, a reduced crime rate soes not justify abortion. Also, neither I nor Steve Levitt are pro-abortion. Please use proper terminology.

PaulNoonan said...

Oh, I see you have a link to Mr. Lott's website on your blogroll. That explains the quaint "economics" expressed around here.

Billiam said...

OS, I think what you are referring to was a comment, taken WAY out of context by Bill Bennett from his radio show. No need to repeat it as some might be tempted to take it out of context again.