7.1.04

SELF-SELECTION UNTO THE SEVENTH GENERATION? Betsy's Page points to this Richard A. Baehr essay in The American Thinker that suggests political attitudes among the young, and thus the future political balance of power, are changing owing to the greater propensity of adults with secular humanist and leftist leanings to have abortions. As Mr. Baehr summarizes it,
Accepting of course, that children are not obligated to vote as their parents did, I believe that one of the reasons that the numbers in the two parties have moved into balance, and are now trending Republican is because one side is doing a lot better job of reproducing and creating potential new devotees than the other. Republicans in the Twenty-First Century may find themselves enjoying a victory of the cradle.
That a propensity to seek abortion might have effects elsewhere on the population does not come as a surprise. John Donohue and Steven Levitt published, in The Quarterly Journal of Economics, (v116, n2 (May 2001): 379-420), a rather controversial paper titled "The Impact of Legalized Abortion on Crime" with an intriguing abstract:
We offer evidence that legalized abortion has contributed significantly to recent crime reductions. Crime began to fall roughly 18 years after abortion legalization. The 5 states that allowed abortion in 1970 experienced declines earlier than the rest of the nation, which legalized in 1973 with Roe v. Wade. States with high abortion rates in the 1970s and 1980s experienced greater crime reductions in the 1990s. In high abortion states, only arrests of those born after abortion legalization fall relative to low abortion states. Legalized abortion appears to account for as much as 50 percent of the recent drop in crime.
Professor Levitt engages some of his critics in Slate, while this column asserts there are confounding factors the paper did not control for properly. (That's why we call it research, people. If we knew what we were doing, it would be manufacturing.)

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