Abortion is a Cause of Crime, Not a Cure

Family Policy, March-April 2000 | Published on

By John D. Mueller

 

Legalized abortion may lead to reduced crime through any of three channels. The first channel is simply a smaller cohort size. If abortion reduces the number of births, when that cohort reaches the late teens and twenties, there will be fewer young males, and thus less crime. Abortion may also lower per capita offending rates in affected cohorts. The children may on average be less criminal due to either a ‘selective-abortion effect or an ‘improved-environment’ effect. The selective-abortion channel will operate if the women who have abortions are the most at risk to give birth to children who would engage in criminal activity. . . . The improved-environment effect may be present if women use abortion to optimize the timing of childbearing.

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The Socioeconomic Costs of Roe v. Wade

Family Policy, March-April 2000 | Published on

By John D. Mueller

Since the Supreme Court handed down its historic Roe decision in 1973, the debate about abortion has been conducted primarily on two levels: legal and moral. Recently, the debate has moved to a third level, as defenders of legal abortion have added a new twist: pragmatic, utilitarian arguments regarding the alleged social benefit of terminating pregnancies. One highly publicized study, released last September by a prominent legal theorist and a university economist, suggests that legal abortions in the 1970s are responsible for lowering the crime rate in the 1990s.1

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How Abortion Has Weakened Social Security

Family Policy, March-April 2000 | Published on

By John D. Mueller

Many baby boomers resent what they perceive to be a “raw deal” from Social Security, the “pay-as-you-go” system where roughly each generation of workers pays the retirement benefits for their parent’s generation. While their parents have reaped a generous return on their Social Security taxes, the boomers fear they will receive far lower rates of return on what they have paid into the system. The reason: today more than 3.4 workers support each Social Security beneficiary; when the boomers retire, two workers or fewer are projected to support each beneficiary. Due to these demographic changes, the Social Security Administration predicts that the system will go permanently into the red in 2015, necessitating tax increases, benefit cuts, or both.

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