Appearing on CNN on Saturday morning, one of the lead researchers behind 2009's best-selling "Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything," claimed that all indications point to a jump in crime rates if the Supreme Court goes ahead and throws out the landmark Roe v Wade decision from 50 years ago.
Speaking with host Michael Smerconish, Stanford Law Professor John Donohue, who co-wrote with book author Steven Levitt the study used in the book noting the correlation between pro-choice laws and crime decreases, said he believes crime will take a big jump --if not now, within 15 years -- is the court guts Roe v Wade.
With the CNN host pointing out that law professor Donohue also has a Ph.D. in economics, he asked about his earlier study, "Essentially what you're saying is that a generation of criminals were never born. Is that right?"
"Well, essentially it suggests that the cohort that was born after the legalization of abortion just came up with more benign life circumstances and adverse circumstances do promote higher rates of all sorts of socially unhelpful behavior, including crime," Donohue replied.
"We should be clear," Smerconish interjected. "I remember interviewing Steven Levitt several times when the book came out. He impressed me as not having a dog in this fight. This is a very controversial subject today and his point to me those many years ago was, look, I'm a numbers cruncher, I'm just telling you what the data shows. Is that where you're coming from or are you an advocate?"
"No. when we did the study, we were just trying to understand one of the most profound social events in American history, which was the very dramatic drop in crime that was observed in the 1990s and it turned out that the data supported this conclusion," the CNN guest replied. "Then we made predictions that if our thesis were correct, we would see about 1 percent drops in crime over the next 20 years. and that's what the subsequent paper actually indicated. So, we feel that the empirical evidence is fairly strongly supportive of the thesis that we originally articulated back in 2001. "
"So, if Roe versus Wade is overturned next month, as the draft opinion suggests, what do you expect will be the consequence on the crime front?" the CNN host pressed.
"You know, in general we have every reason to think that imposing restraints on women's ability to choose the formation of their family is going to lead to more adverse outcomes for children that are going to be born because of the mothers are not able to engage in this sort of family planning," Donohue stated. "And so, the more states that restrict abortion, you will see that they will follow the patterns that our paper laid out. They will have upward pressure on crime rates, although they won't experience that for, you know, at least 15 years because it takes about 15 years for someone to move into and actually crime-increasing age."
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CNN 05 07 2022 09 16 52 youtu.be