Thursday, June 28, 2012

Mississippi crime, conservatism, and birth rates

This was big news on Think Progress: Mississippi Legislator Wants To Quickly Force State’s Only Abortion Clinic To Close. While the title has the standard Think Progress hyperbole-laden style, it is rather alarming to pro-choice advocates that Mississippi has only one abortion clinic for their population of nearly 3 million.

Meanwhile, Mississippi has the second highest out-of-wedlock birthrate, at 54% (beaten only by D.C., at 59%).

This casts some new light on the standard arguments by cultural conservatives against abortion. While many oppose abortion on religious grounds, the other argument most frequently mentioned is about promoting a culture of responsibility surrounding sex. Unfortunately, Mississippians still don't seem to be very sexually responsible (based on the out-of-wedlock birth statistic).

Compare this to the state which performs the highest number of abortions - New York - which has an out-of-wedlock birthrate of 41.5%.

So how is that conservative, morality-enhancing social policy working out for Mississippi? In 2010, their murder rate was 7 per 100,000 people, 2.9 above the average for all other states. The state also boasts the largest number of lynchings, 6th highest firearms death rate in the country, and lowest life expectancy in the country.

This brings to mind the controversial Levitt and Donohue paper which argued that legalized abortion reduced crime rates. The paper has been subject to both empirical and ethical criticisms, but a point definitely remains. Regardless of one's personal beliefs regarding abortion, taking extra steps to limit women's access is no guarantee of positive outcomes.

No comments:

Post a Comment