Abortion and Crime

Guido Citoni

Abstract


In this article we address the issue, with a tentative empirical application to the Italian data, of the relationship, very debated mainly in north America, between abortion legalization and reduction of crime rates of youth. The rationale of this relationship is that there is a causal factor at work: the more unwanted pregnancies aborted, the less unwanted children breeding their criminal attitude in an hostile/deprived family environment. Many methodological and empirical criticisms have been raised against the proof of the existence of such a relationship: our attempt to test if this link is valid for Italy cannot endorse its existence.
The data we used made necessary some assumptions and the reliability of official estimates of crime rates was debatable (probably downward biased). We conclude that, at least for Italy, the suggested relationship is unproven: other reasons for the need of legal abortion have been and should be put forward.


Key words: Abortion Crime Youth


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