As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’ve been very interested in eBooks.  I’ve just finished reading Freakonomics, a fascinating look at the “hidden side of everything”.

One of the most intriguing was the unintended consequences of abortion on the rate of crime in the US.  The authors traced the significant drop in crime in the mid 90’s back to the legalization of abortion in Roe v. Wade, and found that the single most important impact on crime ever had was in preventing a large number of would-be criminals from existing.

Think about that for a few minutes.

Now, think about the consequences this has on so many aspects of life.  Are so-called pro-life people still so willing to restrict the rights of abortions even though it will mean an increase in crime, which can affect them?  Shouldn’t there at least be some acknowledgment of the weighing of pros-and-cons of abortion and crime?

Personally, I’ve always been conflicted about the abortion debate, but usually find myself on the pro-choice side.  Having been brought up Roman Catholic, I owe it to my personal upbringing to consider the pro-life side seriously.  Of course, it always comes down to a matter of “faith”, rather than one of hard facts, which makes choosing a side impossible (or, at least, it would seem impossible to me; many people don’t seem to have a problem choosing a side, which is endlessly fascinating).

Crime is one of the most troubling scourges of the modern world.  I’m distinctly in the “law-and-order” camp: I support increasing the number of police (which, incidentally, was the only other major contributing factor to the drop in crime rates).  The two top priorities of any modern society should be the eradication of disease and crime.  And in both cases, effective means of combating both require innovative and here-to-for undiscovered techniques.

For one thing, fighting crime usually comes in two flavors: increased prison terms as a deterrant, or increased education/outreach programs to remove the allure of crime.  Neither is a solution, and neither is particularly effective without the other.  But there are other dimensions to the problems, and I think the abortion debate is one of those.  When people are able to acknowledge the impact abortion has had on the crime rate, in sober terms, then we can have progress on reducing crime overall.