Sunday, November 16, 2014

Morality - Legalizing Abortion

In early 1990s, the crime rate in USA was very high. Then President Bill Clinton said, "We know we've got about six years to turn this juvenile crime thing around, or our country is going to be living with chaos. And my successors will not be giving speeches about the wonderful opportunities of the global economy; they'll be trying to keep body and soul together for people on the streets of these cities".

And then, instead of going up and up and up, crime began to fall. And fall and fall and fall some more. The crime drop was startling in several respects. It was ubiquitous, with every category of crime falling in every part of the country. It was persistent, with incremental decreases year after year. And it was entirely unanticipated - especially by the very experts who had been predicting the opposite.

The magnitude of the reversal was astounding. The teenage murder rate, instead of rising 100 percent or even 15 percent, fell more than 50 percent within five years. By 2000, the overall murder rate in the United States had dropped to its lowest level in thirty-five years. So had the rate of just about every other sort of crime, from assault to car theft.

The reason for the drop of the crime rate was a change in an act more than 20 years back. That was legalizing abortion.

As far as crime is concerned, it turns out that not all children are born equal. Not even close. Decades of studies have shown that a child born into an adverse family environment is far more likely than other children to become a criminal. Poor, unmarried and teenage mothers for whom illegal abortions had been too expensive or too hard to get - were often models of adversity. They were the very women whose children, if born, would have been much more likely than average to become criminals. But because of legalizing abortion, these children weren't being born.

This powerful cause would have a drastic, distant effect: years later, just as these unborn children would have entered their criminal primes, the rate of crime began to plummet.

The above is taken from Freakonomics by Steven D.Levitt and Stephen J.Dubner.

If we want to live happily, we should stop worrying about the morality of other people. If we put restrictions on morality of others for whatever reasons, we should be ready to face the negative consequences. I hope Indian government will soon repeal the acts which worries about the morality of the people, and reduce the crime rate.

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