Study claiming abortion lowers crime rate is rooted in racism, pro-life researcher says
WASHINGTON, D.C., June 10, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Dr. Brian Clowes of Human Life International derided a new working paper published by the U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research that purports to show legalized abortion has led to a 45 percent decline in crime rates over the past three decades.
In an interview with LifeSiteNews, Clowes countered the claims made last month by economists John Donohue III and Steven Levitt in “The impact of legalized abortion on crime over the last two decades,” which reiterates and expands upon findings they published in the Quarterly Journal of Economics in 2001. Donohue and Levitt asserted that legalized abortion appeared to account for as much as half of the drop in rates of violent crime and property crime since 1973 when the Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade to allow abortion nationwide.
In the new paper, Donohue and Levitt used an analytical model nearly identical to their 2001 study, adding abortion and crime data from 1997 to 2014. The original analysis covered 1985 to 1997.
In the interview, Clowes acknowledged that the U.S. crime rate did decline among the poor after 1973, not because fewer people were born but because fewer people in the 25-40 age bracket were committing a crime. This was partly due, he said, to improved police techniques and a reduction in the widespread use of crack cocaine.
Clowes pointed out that statistician David Murray showed that males between ages 17 to 25 commit the majority of violent crimes. Murray told Fox News when the 2001 study was released that if abortion were associated with reduced crime, crime rates would have dropped first in the 17-25 age bracket. They did not. It was among older people that crime rates dropped first.
Clowes agreed with Murray that Donohue and Levitt were engaged in racial profiling when they sought to retroactively identify people as criminals because they fall into social categories that are also likely to be aborted. Murray said in 2001 that homicide rates among young men had dropped, but aggravated assaults among young people had increased. In addition, the rate of homicides committed by young women — which should have been equally affected by abortion among men — had not dropped.
Apparently undeterred, according to Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center, Donohue said recently, “The thing that’s most interesting about the (new) paper is we simply repeated the regression process we went through 20 years ago with more data and the results got even stronger.”
Donohue said he viewed the results as an “interesting and powerful affirmation of the original hypothesis which was initially proposed” in 2001.
Moreover, Clowes said, the assertions that Donohue and Levitt made do not appear to be replicable elsewhere. For example, he said, the United Kingdom legalized abortion in 1968. Eighteen years later, crime was increasing across the country, precisely when Donohue and Levitt’s analysis would have predicted a decline.
This also holds true for Canada and Russia, Clowes said. In the case of Russia, violent crime skyrocketed in the years after the fall of the Soviet Union despite the fact that Russia has one of the highest abortion rates in the world.
Clowes also noted that murder rates among black Americans shot upward by more than 500 percent from 1984 to 1993, despite the fact that black women have abortion rates approximately three times the rate found among white women.
What is reflected in both studies released by Donohue and Levitt, Clowes said, is a “eugenics mentality.” Eugenics is the false science that asserted that some human populations are racially inferior and should and should be eliminated because of their purportedly inherited criminal and intellectually deficient traits. The racism of eugenics and Planned Parenthood advocate Margaret Sanger is revealed in the assumptions found in Donohue and Levitt’s study, said Clowes.
“The unstated assertion behind all of this,” Clowes said, “is that black people supposedly commit more crime than white people.” He cited the example of the Canadian abortionist Henry Morgentaler, who often asserted that unwanted children were one of the root causes of the Holocaust unleashed by Nazi Germany. Morgentaler once wrote an op-ed for Canada’s National Post titled “It’s better for us that they died.”
Levitt was asked in 2006 if crime among white teenagers would increase, given that there was a declining abortion rate among white women. He opined that it is not access to abortion alone that makes for a decline in the crime rate. Echoing Morgentaler, Levitt wrote, “It appears that the 1990s were a time when factors such as AIDS were leading people to, for instance, use condoms or abstain from sex altogether. Not conceiving an unwanted baby is equally effective in reducing unwantedness as having an abortion.”
Clowes told LifeSiteNews that the best way to reduce crime is not by what he called “pre-emptive capital punishment through abortion but by addressing the problem through a humane point of view by helping communities affected by crime.”