Five states thesis for a research paper on abortion abortion three years before Roe v. After abortion was legalized, the availability of abortions differed dramatically across states.
In some states like North Dakota and in parts of the deep South, it was virtually impossible to get an abortion even after Roe v. If one compares states that had high abortion rates in the mid 1970s to states that had low abortion rates in the mid 1970s, you see the following patterns with crime. All of the decline in crime from 1985-1997 experienced by high abortion states relative to low abortion states is concentrated among the age groups born after Roe v. For people born before abortion legalization, there is no difference in the crime patterns for high abortion and low abortion states, just as the Donohue-Levitt theory predicts. When we compare arrest rates of people born in the same state, just before and just after abortion legalization, we once again see the identical pattern of lower arrest rates for those born after legalization than before. The evidence from Canada, Australia, and Romania also support the hypothesis that abortion reduces crime. Studies have shown a reduction in infanticide, teen age drug use, and teen age childbearing consistent with the theory that abortion will reduce other social ills similar to crime.
These six points all support the hypothesis. 1980s, especially in urban centers like Los Angeles, New York City, and Washington, DC, before returning to regular levels soon thereafter. These young males who were hitting their peak crime years were born right around the time abortion was legalized. If you look at the serious criticisms that have been leveled against the Donohue-Levitt hypothesis, virtually all of them revolve around this spike in homicide by young men in the late 1980s-early 1990s. There are also some non-serious criticisms, which I will address below. So, a reasonable thing to ask yourself is: Was there anything else going on in the late 1980s that might be causing young Black males to be killing each other at alarming rates that might be swamping the impact of legalized abortion over a short time period?
The obvious culprit you might think about is crack cocaine. Your hypothesis that crack, not abortion, is the story, provides a testable alternative to our explanation of the facts. The arrival of crack led to large increases in crime rates between 1985 and the early ’90s, particularly for inner-city African-American youths. The fall of the crack epidemic left many of the bad apples of this cohort dead, imprisoned, or scared straight. States that had high abortion rates in the ’70s were hit harder by the crack epidemic, thus any link between falling crime in the ’90s and abortion rates in the ’70s is spurious. If either assumption 1 or 2 is true, then the crack epidemic can explain some of the rise and fall in crime in the ’80s and ’90s. So, let’s look at the assumptions one by one and see how they fare.