Critique of the Article 'The Impact of Legalized Abortion on Crime'


The Impact of Legalized Abortion on Crime is an article written by John Donohue and Steven Levitt. The article was released on third of May 2001. The article states that illegalization of abortion contributes to the increased number of cases, and it would be beneficial if abortion is legalized as positive effects will result from the legalization. Thus, crime rates decreased significantly in several states of the US, which emanated from the legalization of abortion. The reasons provided for the decrease in the crime rates include mothers who are not willing to take care of the children and prefer to get rid of them before they become criminals; and economic pressures, which afflict some mothers and will not affect their children who will end up as criminals. The authors were inclined to prove that legalization of abortion played a significant role in the reduction of crime in the United States. The article employed a case study approach in its research whereby it compared how states that legalized abortion faired in terms of crime rates in comparison to those that declined to legalize abortion. The major conclusion made in the article is that abortion should be legalized because it constitutes a significant factor in reduction of crime rates.

This essay provides a critique of the article regarding the legalization of abortion and its effects on the rate of crime. 

Firstly, the article’s success is evident with how it has explored the mechanism through which the legalization of abortion results in a drop in crime. The article points out that one of the ways of abortion legalization contributes to a drop of crime is through small cohort sizes (Donohue and Levitt, 387). In my opinion, this is true because if governments allow the population to continue practicing abortion an alarming rate, this will contribute to the increased crime rates, because resources do not increase proportionally with the number of the population. Thus, the population will feel the strain, and a sample of the population will be forced to engage in deviant behaviors in order to provide for themselves.

Another success of the article is how it handled the matter concerning anticipated magnitude of the effect of abortion legalization on crime. Under this topic, the authors considered four factors that include unwantedness, teenage motherhood, race, and unwanted motherhood. In my opinion, these factors play a significant role in the analysis of the topic of discussion, as it is essential to note that not all races conform equally according to the topic of discussion. The trends are also different regarding the races that have high numbers of teenage motherhood, unwantedness, and unwanted motherhood (Donohue and Levitt, 389).

Lastly, the article’s utilization of Empirical Evidence of Legalized Abortion Affecting Crime Rates depicts the authors’ success. Notably, the comparison of crime patterns between the states that legalized abortion early and those that lagged behind is a noble way of providing facts. This speaks volumes regarding the topic of discussion as it ascertains that crime rates reduced significantly in the states that legalized abortion early. This comparison is significant of empirical purposes as it provides first-hand information regarding the topic of discussion.

In conclusion, the aforementioned article explores the ways through which legalization of abortion results in a drop in crime rate. Incredible success of the article is evident and includes the fact that the authors employed empirical evidence that involved a comparison of states which legalized abortion earlier and those that lagged behind in relation to the crime rate. Secondly, the article utilized the factors such as teenage motherhood and race in the analysis of the magnitude of the effects of abortion legalization on crime, and lastly, included small cohorts as a factor that contributes to the reduction of crime in relation to legalizing of abortion.

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