And if you think those stats are impossible to talk about without triggering a political shitstorm, go tell your neighbors that the crime drop might be partially due to ...
Let's just go ahead and rip this Band-Aid right on off: Economists John Donohue and Steven Levitt (aka the Freakonomics guy) make a compelling case that our massive 20-year plunge in violent crime is partly due to legalized abortion. They note that our crime rate began its decline precisely 18 years after Roe v. Wade -- in other words, right around the time that all those legally aborted fetuses would have reached prime gangbangin' and liquor store robbin' age. Furthermore, they also noted that the states that experienced the sharpest crime drop in the '90s were the ones that performed the most abortions in the '70s and '80s. Their final conclusion?
"Legalized abortion appears to account for as much as 50 percent of the recent drop in crime."
Although we're sure our "stop giving guns to babies" initiative helped.
That's right: According to Donohue and Levitt, as much as half of the recent crime rate cliff drop can be attributed to legalized abortion. There are a few theories as to why this might be the case, each more likely to get us yelled at than the last. Essentially, more abortions mean fewer impoverished, teenaged and single mothers, and studies have shown that kids born into those situations are more likely to turn to crime.
"Your mom's so fat because of a range of socioeconomic disadvantages. I'm sorry, dude."
A bunch of people way smarter than us have come out to both support and slam the theory, and critics make it sound like the proponents are promoting eugenics. But really, even if the conclusions of the study are correct, it doesn't need to change your opinion on abortion. If you think abortion is murder, then "the kid might have grown up to steal your car" argument obviously doesn't suddenly make it OK. Conversely, if you're in favor of legalized abortion, it's because you believe in a woman having that choice, not because you want to exterminate all of society's undesirables in the womb.
See? There's nothing to get upset about at all. We got all worked up over nothing.
Please leave all ire in the comments while we work on that Internet shooting patent.
Robert Evans oversees the article captions and the Cracked workshop moderator team. When he isn't doing either of those things, he writes letters to his conservative parents about the economy, illegal immigration and drug law.
For more of what science says about crime, check out 5 Common Crime Fighting Tactics (Statistics Say Don't Work). Or learn about the 5 Ridiculous Attempts at Crime Fighting (That Worked).