Friday, September 30, 2005

Abortion as a Crime Fighter

Bill Bennett has stirred the Roe v. Wade pot again. This week, he ignited a controversy with his comments on race and abortion:

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.
Whoah, that doesn't sound good. What's the background here?

Well, last spring, a book called "Freakonomics" was released which publicized to the general population the theory that one of the impacts of Roe v. Wade was a drop in crime rates in the '90s. Bill Bennett was using the same rationale to point out that, yes, it is quite certain statistically that the crime rate would drop if all blacks were aborted. Irregardless, though, it is extremely politically incorrect to say so. Hopefully Bennett is aware of that based on his second sentence and his later attempts to clarify.

The problem with his statement, of course, is that he jumped directly to race. He could have (more wisely) used the words poor or disadvantaged instead of a race. And in fact, they would have been more accurate.

As is expected considering the media frenzy, Steven Levitt, author of Freakonomics, has written a response to the comments on his blog. Mostly, he says that he agrees with the correctness of the statement but finds it troubling that Bennett jumped to race as a factor:

He made a factual statement... and then he noted that just because a statement is true, it doesn't mean that it is desirable or moral.

The issue of putting a race on crime is one our country will be dealing with for a long time. Continued analysis can hopefully bring answers to why one most likely commits crime. Is race not a factor? Is it entirely income, the likelihood of growing up in a female-headed household, having a teenage mother, or how urban the environment is that leads to crime and not race? And if so, why are blacks disproportionately represented in those groups?


Anonymous said...

Someone should suggest to Bennett that he would have had a lot more money to gamble with if his two sons had been aborted, or perhaps murdered in their cribs. It's just a hypothetical, of course.

Greg said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Greg said...

Here's something that's shocking and repulsive if true.

Oneway said...

The attacks on Bennett reveals more about the sources of the blows: emotional, unreasoning, shallow, vituperative, etc.