Tag Archives: abortion

Abortion and Crime Revisited

The left wishes this weren’t so: Abortion: History’s Greatest Crime Fighting Tool

Still not convinced? Don’t worry. There is more. The states with the highest abortion rates in the 1970s saw the greatest decline in crime in the 1990s, while states with low abortion rates experienced smaller crime drops. Furthermore, studies of Canada, Romania, and Australia have also proved a similar link between abortion and crime. In 1966, when Romania outlawed abortion and enforced the ban with “menstrual” police, the crime rate nearly doubled in the upcoming twenty-five years.

The left wants to believe (like Gladwell) that non-biological factors such as more government funding and civil rights caused the post-1990 decline in crime. As subscribers of the ‘blank slate’ view of humanity, the welfare left categorically rejects the idea that some people, perhaps more so than others, are predisposed to crime. The left wants to believe that it’s white people who are ‘keeping the disadvantaged down’, not maladaptive genes.

On the other hand, it’s possible that the the reduction of crime and the legalization of abortion is merely coincidental or one of many factors.

As expected, there was a backlash to the findings of Levitt and Donohue:

That such an idea, put like this, would raise the hackles of an extraordinary range of people should have surprised no one. Levitt and Donohue had stepped into the vicious ethical and political minefield of the American abortion debate–as well as the treacherous terrain of race politics, since African Americans have abortions at a higher rate than whites. But the authors, economists rather than ethicists, were unprepared for the response and initially seemed almost too stunned to prepare counterarguments. “What’s odd about our study,” Levitt now reflects as he prepares for publication of the work and, presumably, renewed assaults on its authors, “is it manages to offend just about everybody. [But] our worldview is an economic worldview–that people respond to incentives. I view it as being apolitical.”

Of course, if the implication were that aborting rich white and Asian babies reduced crime, I guarantee not a peep of outrage from the left over these studies. The left supports abortion not to make the world a better place by reducing crime and entitlement spending, but as a form of ‘female empowerment’.

Liberals, who are ‘pro choice’, took offense, mainly because they believe in ‘reverse-Darwinism’: ‘life’ for the least fittest and ‘choice’ for the most ‘fit’:

“We’ve been stunned by the angry response, particularly from the left,” Levitt said Monday. “Our intention was solely to understand this puzzling drop in crime, and it was really only after we’d begun working on the paper that these other politicized issues came to the forefront. This isn’t a paper about class or race. This is a paper about being unwanted.”

Source: Crime-Abortion Study Draws Criticism

And from Liberalism and the Perfectibility of Man:

The belief in perfectibility of man motivates liberals to support useless social programs that run headlong into the limitations imposed by biology. Similarly, this ties into the delusion that practice can make can make an imperfect man perfect (the 10,000 hour rule). It would seem antithetical to rationality to believe this superstition.

Instead of HBD-based solutions that are cheaper and more effective, the left would rather fritter taxpayer dollars on social programs that are less effective, in their futile quest to ‘perfect’ man.

But the in this write-up, the ‘right’ will not spared, either. Too many conservatives are caught up in the fuzzy, ambiguous concept off the ‘sanctity of life‘, ignoring that the death penalty and war contradict this supposed sanctity. I don’t necessarily oppose war or the death penalty, but let’s be logically consistent. The common argument is that the death penalty targets guilty people whereas abortion doesn’t. But then you invoke the utilitarian/consequentialist argument that sending innocent, young men off to war for a ‘greater good’ (peace, stability, etc) is a worthwhile trade-off. Logical consistency is more important than unwavering allegiance to a specific political party or sparing feelings.

Birth control would be ideal, but abortion, as disgusting as it is, can reduce problems such as suffering, entitlement spending, crime, and healthcare costs, maybe it’s time to get over the beleif that all life is sacred. Some say it’s ‘liberal Sanger eugenics’ but libs of today want nothing to do with HBD unless it’s homosexuality, which the left insists it’s biological, but much less so for education, socioeconomic outcomes or crime, all which are environmental and must be solved with ineffective social programs at great cost to taxpayers.

Conservatives preach the virtues of ‘strong families’ and ‘community’ as a solution to social problems and underachievement; however, dysfunctional families and bad communities are byproducts of bad genetics, with poverty and dysfunction having a hereditary component.

If environment does play some sort of role in crime and poverty, it’s reasonable to assume that abortion and birth control for at-risk populations could reduce these problems.

Another problem are people who are a drain on the system in terms of medical expenses, costing more in care than they return in economic value. The abortion plan and other posts address this problem, arguing that medical care, like any public good, is a finite resource and hence, from a utilitarian-standpoint, should be allocated optimally, which is also why euthanasia could also be advocated as a way of reducing medical costs, which are already spiraling out of control primarily due to ‘end of life’ care as well as costly treatments for rare diseases.

If scientists can locate genes that produce offspring that are at heightened risk of crime [1], low IQs , and welfare dependence, would it not be prudent from a fiscally conservative standpoint (and from a conservative tough-on-crime standpoint) to encourage or even mandate abstinence as a prophylactic? A right-wing argument can be made for birth control including even sterilization to control entitlement spending and crime. The social benefit to reduced crime as a result of abortion may be on the order of $30 billion annually. Likewise, if prenatal screening finds markers for high-IQ, abortion should be proscribed, even for at-risk households.

To those who argue that the abortion-crime link has been debunked, not so fast: A Formal Response to the Foote and Goetz Criticism of the Abortion Paper. Even if the the link between abortion and crime isn’t airtight, that doesn’t prove a biological link wont be found in the future.

[1] In addition to the elevated risk of crime from at-risk households, there are genetic markers for crime, as shown here, here, and here.

Abortion & Healthcare Policy

From Evolutionist-X” In Defense of Planned Parenthood

On numerous occasions, this blog has argued that Republicans could support abortion as a way of reducing entitlement spending and crime, which I discuss further here.

The usual rebuttal is that this is the policy of Margaret Sanger and other liberals. Maybe fifty years ago, but nowadays if a liberal like Hillary tried to frame abortion in the context of reducing entitlement spending and crime, her campaign would be over because of the left. When William Bennett made a comment about abortion and crime, it was the left who attacked him. Same for Steven Levitt in Freakanomics in which the chapter on how abortion can reduce crime received much criticism from civil rights groups, but also some criticism from the right. The welfare left supports abortion not to potentially make the world a better place, but due to a lack of impulse control, as a form of ‘empowerment’ for women. And just because a liberal supported something a couple generations ago, doesn’t prove it’s necessarily bad today or that Republicans should totally disregard any merit of it, and today’s welfare SJW liberals are much further to the ‘left’ than the classical/pragmatic liberals of generations ago.

From From Jonathan Gruber’s 1998 study:

…for the marginal child not born due to increased abortion access, the odds of living in a single parent family would have been roughly 70 percent higher, the odds of living in poverty nearly 40 percent higher, the odds of welfare receipt 50 percent higher.”… “From these results, we estimate that the legalization of abortion saved the federal government over $14 billion in welfare payments through 1994.”

Abortion is disgusting, but so is cleaning up crime scenes. I think rather than immediately dismissing it is ‘bad’ we need to consider the possible good that can come out of it, at least from a utilitarian/pragmatist perspective.

Some people find the idea of utilitarianism, as well as thought experiments such as the Trolley Car, to be an affront to their moral sensibilities, since sometimes the most optimal allocation of a resource often comes at a cost to something someone else holds dear. Some are unsettled by the idea that the value of a human can be reduced to a number, but if you have insurance (health, auto, home) – that is exactly what it is, an attempt to assign a monetary value to a human life in order to price a policy, yet when the argument is framed differently (trolley car or abortion), these very people become mortified at the premise that human life does indeed have a finite value, or that some lives may be more valuable than others. ‘Pro life’ taken to its extreme would be mean no war and no death penalty – both positions many Republicans, who identify as ‘pro life’, support. So why does this contradiction exist? I suppose because they rationalize from a utilitarian standpoint that the possible loss of some innocent lives (the occasionally wrongly executed individual, soldiers dying, or collateral damage) indirectly serves a greater good (preventing more deaths both directly and indirectly), justifying this utilitarian risk/reward trade-off.

But economics, which studies the allocation of scarce resources among people, is an inescapable part of our everyday lives, at both the individual and national level. The discussion or debate of how a finite amount of a public good (tax payer dollars, for example) will not simply ‘go away’ just because some people get offended; we need to learn to accept economic reality even if we occasionally get offended by the outcome. This is where some pro-lifers fail by holding all life, viable or not, to be sacred, which runs afoul of rules of economics.

My stance on it is, if you need round the clock care to perform everyday tasks, like going to the bathroom and eating, and you have to have someone make all your decisions till the day you die, because you’re physically in capable of doing so, you’re more of a burden than anything.

The Unpopular Puffin may have a point, and considering that it went viral on Reddit, many people apparently agree. In the recesses of our minds, we know that certain individuals are a drain on society, but we fear the consequences (loss of friends, employment) of voicing this unpleasant truth. And from Wikipedia:

In the United States, the average lifetime cost of a person with an intellectual disability amounts to $1,014,000 per person, in 2003 US dollars.[52] This is slightly more than the costs associated with cerebral palsy, and double that associated with serious vision or hearing impairments. About 14% is due to increased medical expenses (not including what is normally incurred by the typical person), 10% is due to direct non-medical expenses, such as the excess cost of special education compared to standard schooling, and 76% is indirect costs accounting for reduced productivity and shortened lifespans. Some expenses, such as costs associated with being a family caregiver or living in a group home, were excluded from this calculation.[52]

Let’s consider the case of an expectant middle-income mother whose ultrasound uncovers that her fetus has Trisomy 13 or 18, a highly lethal genetic anomaly; in the event it’s not a stillborn, it will cost about a million dollars a year to keep it alive. Economically, that is a poor use of a public good (tax payer dollars), especially since the baby, profoundly disabled, will never contribute in any meaningful way to society in its short existence. To the mother, the baby could be priceless, but to society it’s not. Even Trisomy 21, which is less lethal, is still very expensive. Sure, if the mother has millions of dollars she can use her own money to keep it alive – and that should be within her right – but when a public good is involved, the question of rationing inevitably comes up, as to be expected. That million dollars can be better spent helping babies that are much less disabled. The plan of prenatal screening, with required abortions for severe abnormalities, could make the process less painful for parents, since the pregnancy would be ended before it gets to the second trimester or beyond.

Rapid advances in biotechnology means we can use screening and genetic engineering to create a better society by choosing who we want in and which traits we wish to leave behind. Before dismissing this as ‘Nazi science’, there are many practical applications. Consider the Dylan Roof spree killing, as well as other tragedies such as Sandy Hook massacre and the 2012 Aurora shooting. As it turns out, there may be a genetic malfunction to blame, and some people may in fact be programmed to kill.

Related: Steven Levitt is Right, Not All Life is Sacred