“Where Have All the Criminals Gone”
In Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner’s article, they argue that there is evidence to support a link between the abortion rate and crime reduction. The authors first talk about the abortion history in Romania, how a dictator named Nicolae Ceausescu imposed his will on the people by enacting a ban on abortion in order to increase Romania’s population. By doing this however, he was denying the rights of many teenage mothers who at the time may have not wanted a child. “…The cohort of children born after the abortion ban would test lower in school, they would have less success in the labor market, and they would also prove much more likely to be criminals” (1). The unintended consequences of Ceausescu’s actions resulted in an entire generation of unwanted children being born into a situation where their mother’s may not have cared and nurtured them in a loving manner because they were forced against their will to have these children. The story of Romania’s abortion policies in the early twentieth century would be a reverse mirror image of what was happening in the United States at the same time.
In the 1990’s in the United States, there was a sudden drop in the crime rate that was nearly unexplainable by logical methods. Researchers attributed the crime drop to a number of different explanations, but most really could not pinpoint one major factor. Abortion up until this point in the history of the US was a largely restricted practice limited to upper class women but with the landmark decision of Roe v. Wade in 1973, in one fell swoop the US Supreme Court legalized abortion to the entire nation. “[Children] who went unborn in the earliest years of
legalized abortion would have been 50% more likely than average to live in poverty.” This statistic that researchers discovered reinforced the belief that if a woman did not want to have a child because of personal reasons or because she was not...
Cited: Levitt, Steven D. Stephen J. Dubner. Freakonomics. New York, Harper Collins, 2005.
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