Summary: Legalization of Abortion Correlates to Significant Increase in Murder Rates

Previous research claimed that legalized abortion accounted for a large part of the drop in murder rates between 1991 and 1997. Subsequent research demonstrates that, to the contrary, legalizing abortion was associated with a statistically significant increase in murder rates.

  • In 2001, Donohue and Levitt suggested that legalized abortion was responsible for as much as half of the overall reduction in crime rates during the 1990s, including significant reduction in murder rates. More recent research found that while many factors reduce murder rates, abortion is not one of them. By using homicide reports rather than arrest reports as well as other measures to ensure accuracy, researchers determined that in more than 6,000 regressions, only one implied even a small reduction in the murder rates. To the contrary, estimates implied significant increases in murder rates as well as total annual victimization costs as a result of abortion.

1Abortion and Crime: Unwanted Children and Out-of-Wedlock Births, Economic Inquiry, April 2007, Vol. 45, No. 2, 304-324.


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