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Can abortion significantly reduce crime?

The abortion-reduces-crime hypothesis was popularized by Steven Levitt and John Donohue in their best selling book "Freakonomics". Their theory was based on the observation that crime dropped in the early 90s, right at the time when would-be criminals would have come of age, had abortion not been legalized in the 70s.

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Experts and Influencers

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Experts In Economics

Steven Levitt    Economist, Writer
John Donohue    Economist, Law Professor
Legalized abortion appears to account for as much as 50 percent of the recent drop in crime.
01 May 2001    Source

Experts In Economics

The Economist    Politics and Business Magazine
A paper published by Christopher Foote and Christopher Goetz, two economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, finds an embarrassing hole in the evidence [that the answer is yes].
01 Dec 2005    Source

Experts In Economics

John Lott    Research Scientist
Mostly Disagree
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.
30 Apr 2001    Source

Christopher Foote    Economist and Policy Advisor
Christopher Goetz    Researcher, Economics
We find no compelling evidence that abortion has a selection effect on crime.
31 Jan 2008    Source

Experts In Science

Steve Sailor    Scientific Journalist
The abortion-cut-crime theory rested upon two mistakes Levitt made. [Referring to Foote and Goetz's criticism of Levitt's research]
01 Dec 2005    Source


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0 Points      G      19 Sep 2012      Stance on Question: Agree
A womens right to choose makes sense to me, if she is forced to have a child she will most likely not do the best job at bringing up that child. A child could then could become a criminal adult after many years of neglect rather than being in a loving home. Maybe all the pro life republicans should adopt all the children that are orphans.

1 Point      Nashhinton      23 Nov 2011      Stance on Question: Agree
Aborting babies whose parents are intellectually primitive incorrigibles will obviously reduce crime. I'm sorry if I should offend people, but statistics agree.

1 Point      blacktrance      10 Feb 2011      Stance on Question: Agree
I think the Levitt study is conclusive.

0 Points      Anonymous      19 Oct 2010      Stance on Question: Mostly Agree
Legally allowing those who do not have the necessary skills, finances, or basic human compassion or decency to raise a child properly to not bring an unwanted child into the world is going to have an effect.

If it's not decreasing the crime rate, what are the logical arguments that abortion is somehow increasing it?

0 Points      the27th      03 Jul 2010      Stance on Question: Mostly Disagree
Steve Levitt uses doubtful methodology.

0 Points      Anonymous      26 Apr 2010      Stance on Question: Neutral
isn't aborting your child killing a living thing too (murder)? but if those people were future criminals, it would be better to not bring them to this world, right?

1 Point      Anon E Mous      06 Jun 2010      General Comment
Whether or not you think abortion is murder is irrevalent. The point was if prostitutes, crackheads, and people who are unmarried or not in good relationships, and unstable financially are allowed to have children, it is assumed they will raise unstable, unhappy children who will grow up and be attracted to the crime element. I don't know of specific numbers in reducing crime rates, but it seems reasonable to allow those people the right to have abortions. There are enough unwanted children in the world already.