This chapter seeks to explain the drastic fall in the crime rate which occurred starting in the 1990s through the lens of Roe v. Wade and legalized abortion. The authors first discredit the many theories applied to this phenomena, then diligently trumpet the large role legalized abortion played in reducing crime.
The chapter does a good job of supporting its position through debunking several theories through logical reasoning. For example, it points out that increased gun control legislation is likely to be of little consequence given the ease of purchasing guns in the black market. When defending legalized abortion as a key factor in crime reduction the authors provide a handful of supporting evidence. In addition to stating the time-lapse connection between aborted births in the 1970s and crime reduction in the 1990s, the authors also create a link between states with higher abortion rates to states with a greater crime reduction. They also compare the states that had legalized abortion before Roe v. Wade and find that these states had proportionally sooner decreases in crime rate. Even when controlling for state-level differences in incarceration, police numbers, and economic situation the finding still remains.
Although the authors do a good job of supporting their hypothesis I feel as though they do not do enough to make their arguments more attractive to a conservative audience. Establishing a link between abortion rates and violent crime rates is simply not enough. I would have liked the authors to flesh out why abortions occur and who uses them most often. Are these single mothers? Do they come from low socioeconomic status? Do abortions allow them to obtain higher schooling or more skilled jobs? This is the kind of data which would have added another context to the argument with ties to welfare and other entitlement programs that have very direct correlations with abortion rates.