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Monday, April 10, 2006

Comments

Marlowe

i was there and i think zach's description of the event is accurate. I don't know what the NY Times article said, but I just want to say how incredibly shocked I am that they would write a left-leaning article on the abortion issue!!!!! WOW! I am sure it is entirely accurate, just like Dan Rather's memo about President Bush's war service.
I guess a question I would have is when did the Times write a detailed article about what happens to the fetus during a partial birth abortion, or say, any abortion for that matter? And then we could ask ourselves: Is that fairly gruesome? Is that disgusting? Is that a crime within itself, akin to a woman dying due to back-alley abortions? In Mexico, where abortion is mostly illegal, to my understanding a couple thousand women die every year due to back-alley abortions. That is a far cry from the million-plus abortions that occur here every year. Couple thousand deaths vs. one million deaths, you do the math.

Nicholas Carlson

I'd do the math, but I'm not very good at it. Instead I'll defer to a Harvard Economist on why I think its a bad idea to force women to give birth to unwanted children:

Perhaps the most dramatic effect of legalized abortion, and one that would take years to reveal itself, was its impact on crime.

In the early 1990s, just as the first cohort of children born after Roe v. Wade was hitting its late teen years-the years during which young men enter their criminal prime-the rate of crime began to fall. What this cohort was missing, of course, were the children who stood the greatest chance of becoming criminals. And the crime rate continued to fall as an entire generation came of age minus the children whose mothers had not wanted to bring a child into the world. Legalized abortion led to less unwantedness; unwantedness leads to high crime; legalized abortion, therefore, led to less crime.

This theory is bound to provoke a variety of reactions, ranging from disbelief to revulsion, and a variety of objections, ranging from the quotidian to the moral. The likeliest first objection is the most straightforward one: is the theory true? Perhaps abortion and crime are merely correlated and not causal.

It may be more comforting to believe what the newspapers say, that the drop in crime was due to brilliant policing and clever gun control and a surging economy. We have evolved with a tendency to link causality to things we can touch or feel, not to some distant or difficult phenomenon. We believe especially in near-term causes: a snake bites your friend, he screams with pain, and he dies. The snakebite, you conclude, must have killed him. Most of the time, such a reckoning is correct. But when it comes to cause and effect, there is often a trap in such open-and-shut thinking. We smirk now when we think of ancient cultures that embraced faulty causes-the warriors who believed, for instance, that it was their raping of a virgin that brought them victory on the battlefield. But we too embrace faulty causes, usually at the urging of an expert proclaiming a truth in which he has a vested interest.

How, then, can we tell if the abortion-crime link is a case of causality rather than simply correlation?

One way to test the effect of abortion on crime would be to measure crime data in the five states where abortion was made legal before the Supreme Court extended abortion rights to the rest of the country.

In New York, California, Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii, a woman had been able to obtain a legal abortion for at least two years before Roe v. Wade. And indeed, those early-legalizing states saw crime begin to fall earlier than the other forty-five states and the District of Columbia. Between 1988 and 1994, violent crime in the earlylegalizing states fell 13 percent compared to the other states; between 1994 and 1997, their murder rates fell 23 percent more than those of the other states.

But what if those early legalizers simply got lucky? What else might we look for in the data to establish an abortion-crime link? One factor to look for would be a correlation between each state's abortion rate and its crime rate. Sure enough, the states with the highest abortion rates in the 1970s experienced the greatest crime drops in the 1990s, while states with low abortion rates experienced smaller crime drops. (This correlation exists even when controlling for a variety of factors that influence crime: a state's level of incarceration, number of police, and its economic situation.) Since 1985, states with high abortion rates have experienced a roughly 30 percent drop in crime relative to low-abortion states. (New York City had high abortion rates and lay within an early-legalizing state, a pair of facts that further dampen the claim that innovative policing caused the crime drop.) Moreover, there was no link between a given state's abortion rate and its crime rate before the late 1980s-when the first cohort affected by legalized abortion was reaching its criminal prime-which is yet another indication that Roe v. Wade was indeed the event that tipped the crime scale.

There are even more correlations, positive and negative, that shore up the abortion-crime link.


Secret Santa

Nich, I think I agree with what you write, but I don't think you should've dignified that comment with a response. Marlowe, aside from its inanity, your comment is tactless. Unfortunately (for society!), the loudest mouths all too often use misguided opinions like yours to convince those who don't take the time to think.

Travis Lloyd

Hot damn, Nich loves Freakonomics! I think he's got the right idea here, or at least a better one than the G.W. boys have. Your post is offensive, not positively provocative, Zach. And I'm inclined to stoop to Santa's level regarding Marlowe's opinion.

I can't respond fully right now, for the same reason you shouldn't be writing these posts, Zach. So I'll just sling some mud and leave. Examssssssssssss....

marlowe

Of course, the theory above crumbles if we consider abortion in itself to be a crime. Obviously, it is legal, but killing babies in itself is a moral crime, thus we aren't really reducing the amount of violent acts or unethical behavior.
Logically, we could reduce crime dramatically by legalizing lots of things! We could legalize violent assaults, and then congratulate ourselves on the drop in violent crime. It would be duplicitous, but nonetheless, it would work quite well.
That is exactly the case with abortion. The fact is that 1.3 murders occur per year in the US that are not considered "crime." If we were to add these actual murders onto the rest of the murders that are "crime," we would see that the murder rate has, in fact, skyrocketed since 1973. Thus, the actual crime rate may have gone down, but at the cost of an outrageous and gruesome "solution." (Hasn't that word been used in a similar context?)

Marlowe

By the Mr. Santa, you are more proof to the fact that the radical left cannot provide substantive arguments to conservatives. All ad hominem attacks... (and then you wonder why you all get your asses kicked in presidential elections)... Also, the cowardice that you display in not posting your actual name adds to the stereotype of the cowering, scared, communistic leftist.

Secret Santa

Oh dear, Marlowe. Who said anything about the left? This is going to hurt your chances for Moot Court.

Secret Santa

Besides, my "attack" (gee, I'm probably a terrorist) was ad argumentum, not ad hominem. Were I to "attack" you ad hominem, I'd call you fat. Once again, I'm doing you a favor; calling that rubbish an argument.

otium cum dignitate

Alright Marlowe. Don't forget this blog is in the public domain, and you just blew your chances at the Supreme Court.

Secret Santa, you are clearly someone I know well, as you drew referene to Marlowe's "fat" story. But your cowardice is quite disgraceful. Reveal yourself.

Lastly, Nich. Freakonomics did in fact talk about your crime + abortion correlation, but then qualified it with something along the lines of Marlowe's response.

Gotta love the abortion debate.

Marlowe

What did I do? secretsantaisapieceoftrash wrote that nasty thing. i have a feeling secret santa is jordan, but i'm not sure. if it is, no wonder, the little weasel massachussetts stupidity is coming through. if not, i apologize jordan, you aren't really a little weasel. oh, and secret santa never gave an actual reason for why i am wrong. never countered my argument. again, shows the leftist unintelligence. also, this probably shows the DNA of a little pinko commie internationalist traitor. he's probably a terrorist and probably hates freedom. let us pray to god for the soul of this treacherous imbecile.

Jordan

sorry dude, not me.

I'm insulted. three reasons why I am not this wierdo guy:
1) I actually DO know the difference between ad hominem and ad argumentum.
2) my ad hominem attacks are much more clever than "you're fat," or just calling you inane and tactless--- my comment would probably involve using a bleeding hemorrhoid as a metaphor for your political viewpoints. but that's just me.
3) flame-wars are SO craigslist.

Jordan

but, since I am being falsely accused of being this santa-guy, I'll have to weigh in on the debate.

First of all, I think the freakonomics argument is terrible. Even if the economic benefits of abortion could be conclusively shown (which they can't), it STILL doesn't justify making abortion legal: there's a ton of stuff we can do to offset any increase in abortion-caused-crime. If you consider abortion a 'moral-crime,' the economic benefits just don't outweigh the moral hazzard: if abortion is wrong, it's wrong if its economically viable too.

The center of the abortion debate is, was, and always will be whether or not you think a fetus is a life. if you do, you are against abortion. if not, you are pro-choice. it really is that simple.

look, I'm pro-choice, but I'm pro-choice because I don't think that there's any life-rights in a jumble of unformed stem-cells. I think the line between a rights-bearing life and a dependant zygoteotic grouping of nothingness is thinner than Kate Moss's septim. Ultimately this isn't a choice i'd want to give to the government. Let the government do what it always should do in cases where difficult moral decisions are to be made: trust the moral compass of the citizens-- who are, after all, the state's boss.

Allen

lame.

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