Aborting Crime


There is one point on which pro-abortion and anti-abortion advocates agree: We should be trying to prevent the births of unwanted children, mainly because such children are more often abandoned or abused, and as a result, more often become involved in criminal activity and other antisocial behaviors.

This contention has been bolstered by a newly released study conducted by Stanford University law professor John Donahue III and University of Chicago economist Steven Levitt. It claims to show a link between the legalization of abortion in 1973 and subsequent reductions in crime.

The findings are being hailed as a victory for the abortion lobby, but they aren’t necessarily, because abortion is incidental to the results. What we’re really talking about here is selective population control. In this case, abortion happened to be the method, but there are others that, if properly implemented, would bring about the same result, and do so without terminating unplanned fetuses in the process. The study considers no such option, and this is where pro and con part ways.

The “pro-choice” lobby assumes that people, especially those living in poverty, are no more capable than stray cats of exercising control over their reproductive habits. Among such creatures, goes the theory, unplanned pregnancies are as inevitable as they are in a barn. Thus, preventing the births of unwanted children means “keeping abortion safe and legal,” or, to put it less euphemistically, resorting to fetal disposal after the coital fact. This is the only choice on offer.

Pro-lifers disagree. While they too want to reduce unwanted pregnancies, they tend to think that human beings, endowed as they are with volition and rational thought, can exercise that proudly championed little thing called “choice” at the beginning, not simply at the end, of the reproductive process. People can decide to use birth control. They can decide to abstain. They can give their children up for adoption.

So, in a way, “pro-lifers” are actually offering more choices than “pro-choicers,” because they have not made the monstrously insulting assumption that underclass women can’t control their own bodies. Which is what makes the feminist rant “Keep your hands off our bodies” especially ironic, since it is “pro-choice” feminists who are placing the surgeon’s hands in a woman’s womb in order to assert the very control they deem her incapable of exercising herself.

But this aside, let’s pretend for a minute that the abortionists are right, that millions of unwanted pregnancies are indeed as unavoidable in underprivileged communities as they are in the feral cat population. Why not act accordingly? Why not spay and neuter human beings? If the goal is, as this most recent academic study implies, to prevent both the births of unwanted children and the social ills they cause, why not intervene before an innocent life has already been conceived?

Well, the answer is, of course, that mandatory hysterectomies and vasectomies, or even less permanent operations, are Nazi, pure and simple. Horrifying to contemplate. Unconscionable abridgments of human freedom. Which they may be, but consider the implications of abortion. Are they really any less fascistic?

Think about it. If you support abortion unequivocally, you’ve accepted the premise that a fetus is not a human being. And I don’t just mean in the first few months. I mean all the way through. Because if you’re a purist who supports even partial birth abortions, as the Supreme Court does, you’ve got to think of the fetus as inhuman right up until the moment it passes the lip of the vagina. What’s more, you’ve accepted the premise that if something is inhuman, that gives you the “right” to kill it wantonly and with impunity.

Now, to a pro-lifer, this sounds a lot like the Nazi propaganda used to justify mass killings of Jews. They, too, were inhuman, and that made killing 6 million of them easier—even socially advantageous. Get rid of the vermin and we’ll have a better society, Goebbels raved.

Is the genocide that we call abortion really any less Nazi than spaying and neutering people against their will? Is the systematic extermination of a particular class of people who are deemed less than human—an extermination that is, by the way, carried out at the rate of 1 million per year—less vile than prophylactic surgeries? Not really. But most academics are determined to prove that abortion is best for us in the long run.