Thursday, July 26, 2007

Freakonomics: Crime and Abortion

Last week I was in a conversation with my son-in-law and he pointed out that in the book, Freakonomics, there is a hypothesis that Roe v. Wade actually is responsible for the lower crime rate of these times.
Of course, this is a delicate matter to discuss and further, cause-effect in a hypothesis like that is bound to create controversy.
The website, The Ornery American, has this essay with this statement: the fetuses that were aborted, had they been born, would have become children who were statistically the most likely group to become criminals. Raised by single mothers, in poverty, with genes that might not provide them with much ability to foresee the longterm consequences of impulsive actions.
The author, Orson Scott Card, admits that what he is saying is tantamount to genocide: Purifying the race by preventing the birth of the class of people who are most likely to degrade the quality of life for the rest of us. So few would have dared even suggest such a thing in 1973; but a group of judges decided to perform this eugenics experiment on the American people, and now we're seeing the results.
Card refers to the book by Levitt and Dubner for the data on this. The data is there but the cause-effect of the facts can be debated, and Card offers his own opinion.
What I find interesting is that the right-wing of the political spectrum is often both anti-abortion and anti-crime. I wonder how many of them know that, according to data, the two go hand-in-hand?

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