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Tuesday, October 18, 2005

CRIME and ABORTION - Part 2 of the 5-Part Series

Upcoming topics include how five renowned Ph.D. criminologists/economists can't all be wrong... Part One  found here.


"...some details are misreported, misexplained, misread and/or misanalyzed."
III. MISREAD

One anomaly in the "abortion lowers population thus lowers crime" theory—there are others—suitably highlights the point that reading and understanding are not always simultaneous.

Tables 12 and 16, FBI's "UCR-Crime in the United States – 2003" report: "The population group [Group 1] with the [69] largest U.S. cities, those with more than 250,000 in population, reported a violent crime rate of 967.5 violent offenses per 100,000 inhabitants. Within this group, the highest violent crime rate per 100,000 inhabitants, 980.0, was reported by law enforcement in those [10] cities with 1 million or more in population."

That sounds high, until noting that 2002's rate for the latter group was even higher: 1,048.3 per 100,000. But that year, we had already lost 13 percent of what would have been 2002's population (331,759,000 = 43.4 million abortions plus actual 2002 population of 288,368,698).

In 2003, violent crime raw numbers (Table 12) also went down for this 10-city group by 6.5 percent. It's certainly possible this is explained by this group's population being reduced by legal abortions that occurred from 1970 to 1985.

Instead, the total population of the 10-city group decreased by only 1,550 people, a 0.0063 percent decrease from 2002 (24,680,715 [Table 12: Pop. Gp 1 in 2003] minus 24,682,265 [Table 16: Pop. Gp 1 in 2002]). The population hadn't really changed in size either way.

In 2002 and 2003, 8.6 percent of the U.S. population lived in our ten largest cities (24,680,715 [Table 12: Pop. Gp 1 in 2003] divided by 290,809,777 in 2003).

The question is: did a massive influx of new residents into these ten cities in 2003 completely offset the minimum 3.7 million people aged 0 through 33 who might have lived there had they been born (8.6 percent of 43.4 million not born from 1970 through 2002)?

Many read "crime is down" and "43 million abortions," read a bestseller book (or perhaps merely news media quotes from it), believe that abortion lowered crime and then go their merry way. The reality is that violent crime declined from 2002 to 2003 in the U.S.'s ten largest cities, but population stayed the same. Did crime decline because 3.7 million more-law-abiding citizens moved to the ten largest cities? That theory is as impossible to prove as the "abortion lowers crime" theory.

I am no criminologist or statistician, just a layman. I can't refute the entire concept. I merely contend that not all statistics support the theory and therefore all should be re-examined. This example reveals that there is much more than meets the eye of the average newsmedia consumer.

It also raises another question: why was the 2002 violent crime rate for that 10-city group a full 7 percent higher than the later 2003 rate—1,048.3 per 100,000 population vs. 980—when that same 3.7 million never-born city dwellers would have been aged 0 through 32 but were missing from our world?

And how do we know how many missing persons of what potential age there are? That explanation follows.

IV. MISANALYZED

A Few Bullets
While it's easy to find abortion numbers from 1970 through 2002, it's not possible to cover all the crime statistics. By selecting some cases, I don't mean to imply that the rest also fall apart when examined closely. They may or may not. The point is that the blanket statements reported from some research studies as "news" don't always ring as true as they appear.

Four facts shoot some holes in the "abortion causes lowered crime" theory:
1) crime was "reduced" before Roe, suggesting that crime rose due to other causes we shouldn’t (but do) ignore,
2) there have been high crime spikes after the Roe effect should have reduced crime steadily and kept it reduced,
3) other problems credited with steep rises in crime may have resulted from legalized abortion,
4) Ph.D. researchers and economists found major flaws in the data analysis and conclusions of leading proponents of the theory.

Wanted: Dead or Alive
Why bother with this at all? A letter to the editor by a retired professor of Criminology appeared recently in my local paper stating that
Roe v. Wade drastically reduced the effects of poverty, poor education, lack of skills and discrimination by eliminating the birth of millions of "unwanted children."
The writer also challenged
anti-abortionists [to] face being indirectly responsible for an increase in serious crimes, as well as their attendant ancillary expenses such as more prisons and higher taxes.
Talk about throwing the gauntlet down.

The writer cited Chicago University's Steven Levitt's book Freakonomics as among his sources, but added that the book was not the source for the writer’s conclusion that
It has been known for a long time "unwanted children" contribute excessively to the criminal statistics.
Really? I fit his label of an "unwanted child," born illegitimately in 1958. Contrary to his misconception, I didn't contribute at all to these criminal statistics. The implication is that unwanted children (i.e., children not otherwise aborted) are abused and thus more likely to commit crime than wanted, non-abused children.

He's in good company: Planned Parenthood makes the same leap on its website:
The offspring of teenage mothers are more likely to be poor, abused, or neglected than those of women who delay childbearing… [O]ne study found that children of teenage mothers are almost three times as likely to be incarcerated during their adolescence or early 20s as are the children of older mothers…Experts estimate that the annual costs of births to teens totals about $7 billion in lost tax revenues, public assistance, child health care, foster care, and involvement with the criminal justice system…(Annie E. Casey Foundation, 1998; Maynard, 1997).” [emphasis this author's]
However, Dr. Edward Lenoski, M.D., Professor of Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine at the University of Southern California School of Medicine, found that
"91 percent of parents admitted they wanted the child they had abused" when he compared the surroundings in which abused and non-abused children were raised [Lenoski, E. Heartbeat, vol. 3, no. 4, Dec. 1980; quoted in the 2000 book Why Can’t We Love Them Both? and in Karen J. Gordon's "Abortion and the Battered Child," The American Feminist, Winter 1999-2000)]
If the overwhelming majority of abused children are wanted children, and the majority of abused children commit the most crime, then the wanted children commit the most crime.

Freakonomics may or may not have made the same mistaken leap (I haven't read it but after this effort, find no need or desire to) but Levitt and his earlier research partner, Stanford University law professor John J. Donohue III, certainly do. They wrote in 1998 and in 2001 that "the life chances of children that are born only because their mothers could not have an abortion are considerably dampened relative to babies that were wanted at the time of conception."

[A side note: contrary to what many believe, I easily could have been aborted. I work in post-abortive support efforts, and have had several 70- and 80-something grandmothers—my own adoptive mom’s peers—cry in my arms after hearing me speak about healing from the pain and regret of one’s abortion. They are overwhelmed with relief at finally being able to share 40 and 50-year-long grief with anyone, but especially someone who understands the damage that a lifetime of silent pain has wrought.]

But I Digress: The Double-Standard Media
Although I started writing this column weeks ago, more recently the media again lambasted William Bennett's attempted explanation of his "bad argument" straw man example about aborting black babies' effect on reducing crime. I believe Bennett got the facts wrong—and not that he condoned the idea—but others had it wrong long before he did and they didn't get their hands slapped.

Levitt first stumbled upon his "abortion lowers crime" theory in a 1991 study, "Continuous Versus Episodic Change: The Impact of Civil Rights Policy on the Economic Status of Blacks", Journal of Economic Literature, Vol. 29, no. 4: 1603), which actually was written by Donohue and not Levitt. Together they later published the same paper, twice in 1998, it seems: as both a Stanford Law School working paper, "The Impact of Race on Policing, Arrest Patterns, and Crime" and as a National Bureau of Economic Research copy (also downloadable for free).

These two later again published virtually the same paper in 2001 in Harvard's Quarterly Journal of Economics, completely altering the name to "The Impact of Legalized Abortion on Crime."

This last time, however, Levitt and Donohue purged their earlier volatile references to "selective-abortion" being one possible way that crime is reduced due to women "most at risk to give birth to children who would engage in criminal activity"—including "African-Americans"—having more abortions. They changed the latter phrase to the more PC "economically disadvantaged."

What Bennett said was this:
"If it were your sole purpose to reduce crime, 'You could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down. That would be an impossible, ridiculous and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down.'" (Note: the media selectively reported only the first sentence, not the immediately following second one.)
What Levitt and/or Donohue said—twice in 1998 and once in 1991—was this:
…African-Americans are…substantially more likely to seek abortions…Recent studies have found children born to these [African-American, teenaged and/or unmarried] mothers to be at higher risk for committing crime in adolescence.

(Translated: "Studies show that African-American babies not otherwise aborted are more likely to commit crime as teens, so aborting them will bring crime down.")
For a full decade, from 1991 to 2001, Levitt and/or Donohue made exactly. the. same. argument. that Bennett was citing and condemning.

Note the long-gone original study titles, focused on correlating race, specifically economically-disadvantaged blacks, with policing, arrest and crime patterns. Where was the hue and cry then? They prettily rerepackaged the same message in safe language and sold millions of books while Bennett is tarred and feathered? Perhaps Bennett was quoting Levitt et. al. and those very same studies Levitt et. al. were quoting? I don't agree with any of them if they truly believe such statements, but the double standard could not be more blatant.

Fifteen-Year-Old Conclusions
Back down from the soapbox.

The authors asserted in 1991 and again in 1998 that "legal abortion explains as much as half the reduction in crime between 1991 and 1997" and that "[a]ll else equal, it would not be surprising to see persistent declines of 1-2 percent a year in crime over the next two decades [as the full effects of legalized abortion are gradually felt]."

Three years later, in 2001, they said virtually the same thing: "all else equal, legalized abortion will account for persistent declines of 1 percent a year in crime over the next two decades." This is despite changes in statistical models and (supposedly) three new years' worth of data and related findings on which they generated their categorized crime rate conclusions.

Now it's rehashed in Freakonomics, four more years later, apparently without much if any reexamination since 1991. At least that's the case if the public's understanding of the book is any indication.

Still, with fifteen-year old conclusions (that "next two decades" prediction just keeps a-rollin' along since 1991?), they hold firm at giving abortion "as much as half" the credit for lowering crime. And my letter writer neighbor gives abortion virtually all the credit for lowering crime. And he was a criminology professor.

Imagine how much more misinformed we all are, in the general, mass-media-consuming public.


The third segment tomorrow covers examples of four (dis)proof points: that crime was already "reduced" before Roe v. Wade, suggesting that crime rose due to other causes we shouldn’t (but do) ignore, and instances of crime spiking after the Roe Effect should have prevented that.

Links to all segments found here. 
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NATIONAL REVIEW Online's The Corner ~ Kathryn Jean Lopez links to Ap blog, 1/22/07

Associated Press/San Francisco Chronicle: Banno On Boxer and the Illegal Abortion Deaths Urban Legend

San Diego Union Tribune: more Boxer Urban-Legend-Debunk coverage

Ellen Goodman retraction impetus: Aa blog initiates The Straight Dope coverage...and is listed in National Review Senior Editor Ramesh Ponnuru's book The Party of Death, p. 255, Chap. 3 Endnote #11,   4/2006

NY Daily News: "Atheist's Site Is All The Rave

"After Abortion,...run by Emily Peterson and Annie Banno, two women who had abortions in the 1970s, ...tries to avoid the political tug-of-war that tends to come with this turf. They concentrate instead on discussing the troubling personal effects of abortion on the mothers." ~ Eric Scheske, Godspy contributing editor, in NC Register's "Signs of Life in the Blogosphere", 2/2006

"Godbloggers could, in the best of worlds, become the new apologists...[including] laymen with day jobs: Emily Peterson and Annie Banno, for instance, at the blog After Abortion..."~ Jonathan V. Last, The Weekly Standard online editor, in First Things's "God on the Internet", 12/2005

Amy Welborn, at BeliefNet, links to AfterAbortion blog's Crime & Abortion Series

Catholic News Service: Silent counterprotest at the March For Choice



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PREGNANT? UPSET? SCARED?
4,800 confidential groups helping now.
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We are too. Here are folks who can help:

Feeling Really Bad?: Call
1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433)
& a friend, right now.

Suicide Hope Lines: U.S.A. (by state) or call 1-800-Suicide (784-2433)

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For immediate help, call tollfree, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week: national, confidential, post-abortion-recovery hotlines:
1-877-HOPE-4-ME or
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AbortionChangesYou.com

"I would now like to say a special word to women who have had an abortion...[many are] aware of the many factors which may have influenced your decision, and [do] not doubt that it was a painful and even shattering decision. The wound in your heart may not yet have healed. Certainly what happened was and remains terribly wrong. But do not give in to discouragement and do not lose hope. Try rather to understand what happened and face it honestly. If you have not already done so, give yourselves over with humility and trust to repentance. The Father of mercies is ready to give you his forgiveness and his peace...You will come to understand that nothing is definitively lost and you will also be able to ask forgiveness from your child..."

MORE HELP:
Hope after Abortion
Ideas for Healing
Rachel's Vineyard Retreats
(non-Christians, even non-religious do attend; they also have interdenominational retreats designed expressly for people of any religion or no religion)
Abortion Recovery
"Entering Canaan" - a ministry of reverence for women and men who suffer following an abortion
Lumina - Hope & Healing After Abortion
Ramah
Option Line
Books that help
(includes non-religious Post Abortion recovery books)
In Our Midst
NOPARH
For MEN - Resources List
     ** UPDATED 2015 **

Message boards, chat rooms &
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Obama On Abortion: A Summary 1990-2009

1) Obama Is 2nd-Highest-Paid Politician by Fannie Mae, Taking $126,346 in only 4 years as Senator; Now Derides GOP/Bush for Allowing Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac To Do Business, When It Was Democrat Presidents Bill Clinton & Jimmy Carter Who Passed The Law Requiring Fannie & Freddie To Give Out Bad Subprime Loans To Those Who Couldn't Afford Them, Which Caused The Entire Financial Meltdown … 2) Jim Johnson (Obama VEEP vetter and former Fannie Mae executive who made millions there) Backpedal … 3) Obama's hiring, connection, support of ACORN, which supported that very law and whose staff have been involved in voter fraud … 4) Rezko's Favor A "Boneheaded" Mistake … 5) Jeremiah Wright Backpedal … 6) Fr. Michael Fleger Backpedal … 7) NAFTA Backpedal … 8) Campaign Financing Backpedal … 9) Mr. "Negotiates-With-Terrorist-States" … 10) Bittergate … 11) Hamas' Chief Political Adviser Hopes BO Will Win Election … 12) Banning Handguns Backpedal … 13) Who Exactly Are "The Rich" He's Going to Sock it to? … 14) Flag Pin Backpedal … 15) Once Open to School Vouchers That Work, Now Deadset Against … 16) Now OK with residual force in Iraq...up to 50,000 troops. … 17) First voted against a law protecting babies who survive an abortion procedure, then lied saying he didn't, then finally forced to admit that he did vote to deny such born babies protection. 18) … "For the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country." ~ MO

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