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14 April 2006 @ 10:30 pm
I'm watching 20/20 and they are talking about "freakonomics."

One of the gentlemen stated that it's not policing that has helped the crime rate drop, it's abortions as the most at risk kids to become involved in illegal activity were never born to begin with.

What do you ladies think?
rainbowgem: wrongrainbowgem on April 15th, 2006 02:40 am (UTC)
I have not seen it or know anymore about it then what you posted but sounds like 'Freaks opinion on economics...' unfreakinbelievable!!!
she's getting theredolcedaze on April 15th, 2006 02:51 am (UTC)
That book brought up a lot of parenting issues, I thought it was really interesting.

Intellectually, the author's thoughts on abortion vs. the crime rate did make sense, but I still didn't want to like it. Preventing potential criminals from being born just seems like a creepy eugenics experiment to me.

This came up a little back in this thread too-
midnight_lotusmidnight_lotus on April 15th, 2006 02:53 am (UTC)
Thanks for bringing that up, I wasn't a part of the community then - and didn't realize it'd already been discussed.
she's getting theredolcedaze on April 15th, 2006 02:58 am (UTC)
No, I just meant to take a look for some more thoughts. It was several months ago, and not even the same original question, it just came up in a thread or two.
taniableutaniableu on April 15th, 2006 03:43 am (UTC)
I heard the author being interviewed on the radio a while back. I believe it to a certain degree.
(Deleted comment)
Erinerinmdmd on April 15th, 2006 05:50 am (UTC)
I agree.
sheisredsheisred on April 15th, 2006 08:02 am (UTC)
THANK you!
My List of Grievancesxbrokenxdollx on April 15th, 2006 04:52 pm (UTC)
Yes it did! That was the whole point. That's why he explained how researchers use certain statistical techniques (regressions) that when used properly are better able to imply a causal connection. And this particular study, which I read, not just the summary in the book, is actaully one of the better treatments of large, secondary datasets. He is quite meticulous in the design.
He didn't just find a correlation. A correlation is a very simple design, and is not particularly intersting, nor would it have made its way into a prestigious journal or best-selling book. God, I would so be published if it that's all this study was.
Tamie: roxy_craft on April 15th, 2006 05:38 am (UTC)
The fact that college aged white girls get the vast majority of abortions makes me think that idea is racist bullshit.
Bethanymuliebrity on April 15th, 2006 08:17 am (UTC)
Except that's not true.
Only 33% of abortions are performed on women age 20-24. That is not a "vast majority." And of that 33%, not all of them are white, particularly if we assume that the overall breakdown (41% non-Hispanic white, 32% non-Hispanic black and 20% Hispanic) is reflected similary in that age group.
Tamie: cactus powerroxy_craft on April 15th, 2006 06:06 pm (UTC)
Well, planned parenthood will give you different numbers so I doubt the truthfulnes of either.
33% seems like a good majority if you ask me when you consider how many age groups are involved. If you want to debate the use of the ward vast, I don't have time.
But I guess people sleep better at night thinking that abortions are saving them for criminals being born.
Bethany: political - christian rightmuliebrity on April 15th, 2006 06:24 pm (UTC)
Um, AGI is the research arm of Planned Parenthood, so those are the exact same numbers you'd get from them. And 33% is not a majority, vast or otherwise, no matter how you try to spin it. Yes more women in that age group get abortions than women in other age groups, but overall, it's still a minority of abortions.
And you can take your insinuations elsewhere, frankly. I don't support abortion rights so that women can choose not to give birth to criminals, I support them so that women of any age or race can determine whether or not they want to be parents. Aside from that, my politics are in line with a position that would better the lives of all disadvantaged classes, not try to kill them off. Just because I acknowledge that statistics are true does not mean that I think that they should be used as justification for social policies. They ought to tell us that as a country we still have a long way to go before everyone is truly "equal," in opportunity if not in outcome.
Tamie: big chickenroxy_craft on April 16th, 2006 05:26 am (UTC)
I understand that statistics are difficult to grasp, but 33%(a number which I HIGHLY doubt is accurate) in a study group that large is very likely the majority in any case and it is the majority in this case.
And you sound very defensive...I wasn't accusing you of anything. I simply think that most racist people don't think they are racist, don't think racism exists and are the most willing to fall for statistical evidence this flimsy.
And if you don't see the obvious racism in this anecdotal evidence you are willfully ignorant.
Bethany: political - SB Anthonymuliebrity on April 16th, 2006 07:50 am (UTC)
I don't think you quite grasp the statistics that you're talking about, either from AGI or the book. AGI is used as a source of statistics by both pro-choice and pro-life organizations because they are reputable and accurate. Furthermore, they take their stats directly from raw data based on all reported abortions in the US, not just a small study group. Are you perhaps confusing a plurality with an actual majority? Look, the author of this book is not a quack. He's a respected economist for a reason. He goes beyond correlation to provide some rather convincing evidence for causation, which you would know if you'd read the book. I absolutely understand that on the face, the statistics can be used in racist ways, but that is not all there is to them. I would agree with xbrokenxdollx, that "I think it supports feminists arguments in that women know the right circumstances in which they are capable of raising a healthy, productive child, and they know it better than any legislator. When women are denied that right to decide the circumstances in which they raise a child its not only harmful to them and their children (including future children) but its bad for society."
As for sounding defensive, this is why. I work as an intern in the legislative affairs department of Planned Parenthood. I know exactly how crappy things are right now and I get pissed off when people insinuate that because I, after reading a book and applying my knowledge of statistics and social policy, generally agree with its findings, am a racist. Am I perfect? Of course not. But as a member of a privileged group (whites) and a non-privileged group (the poor), I've worked hard to keep my privilege in check and apply my social conscience to make this a better place for people. I doubt most people sitting here criticizing a book that they haven't even read can say the same.

Have you read the book, honestly? Because you are making a lot of assumptions about what was said and how that imply that you haven't (in which case you ought to before you judge it so harshly) or that you did and your reading comprehension is dismal. I'm guessing/hoping it's the former.
My List of Grievancesxbrokenxdollx on April 16th, 2006 08:39 pm (UTC)
What an awesome internship! I'm so jealous.
Bethanymuliebrity on April 16th, 2006 09:58 pm (UTC)
It would be more awesome if it was paid. ;) I do love it, though. It's frustrating at times, but everyone that I work with puts their heart and soul into what they do. I've never seen a more dedicated group that honestly cares about women and their rights.
puckishpuckish on April 19th, 2006 05:51 am (UTC)
Fun fact: it's now just "The Guttmacher Institute."
Bethanymuliebrity on April 19th, 2006 05:54 am (UTC)
Aww, was Alan not cool enough for them? I'm so used to typing in agi-usa.org for their address that I never even noticed the redirect.

PS-What are you doing in here?
puckishpuckish on April 19th, 2006 06:03 am (UTC)
Avoiding Pamela like it's the black plague my senior English teacher always told us it was.

Oh, and spreading the Guttmacher love. Learned that at Hampshire the other week.
Just Staceyspicycurvydiva on April 16th, 2006 04:37 am (UTC)
So white people are never criminals?
Tamieroxy_craft on April 16th, 2006 05:16 am (UTC)
not according to freakonomics apparently/
julierocket on April 22nd, 2006 03:50 am (UTC)
My guess is that it's linked more to socioeconomics than race, BUT white people are less likely to be in a lower socioeconomic bracket. But I'm taking shots in the dark to try to figure out why this theory might be right; I really don't know.
Amandafailstoexist on April 15th, 2006 05:41 am (UTC)
I thought it was interesting. I think it's a possibility-fewer kids being born into shitty situations where the parents don't really want them COULD lead to fewer kids who seek another family in a gang, fewer kids who don't see themselves as having much of a future and get involved in crime to make ends meet....It makes intellectual sense. I think people overgeneralize it to say that he means that ALL of the kids who were aborted would have been criminals-I think that it also kept some of their potential siblings and family members from turning to crime, there were maybe more jobs for people that age (because there were fewer people) which made crime less prevalent...there are many factors that could be considered here, and not all of them come out to mean that the aborted kids were criminals.

that said, i really loved that book. :)
sheisredsheisred on April 15th, 2006 08:06 am (UTC)
I'd like to see the numbers on this one. What age group/race/income level to the women who have abortions fall under? Which demographic represents the largest number of abortions per annum? Which demographic represented the largest number of abortions 15-25 years ago (the age group that would most effect the current crime rate)?

Also, as someone else already said: correlation does not imply causation.

It's an interesting theory, but with no further information, I really can't form an opinion. If there was a chance in hell it could be true, though, you'd think certain political figures would be defending abortion rather than fighting it.
Bethanymuliebrity on April 15th, 2006 08:25 am (UTC)
If you're genuinely interested:

He also talks in the book about how in California the crime rate dropped a few years before the national crime rate, and how they had also legalized abortion a few years before Roe v. Wade did the same thing country-wide. But even if correlation=causation in this case, no politician with any sense would use it as a reason for legal abortion because they would (rightly) sound racist and eugenist.
That said, it sounds awful, but it's also fairly logical. Children of poor socioeconomic status, particularly those who are black and who are raised by single mothers, do have the highest rate of prosecuted criminal behavior. Women of poor socioeconomic status who are also black have the highest abortion rates. But one can certainly argue that neither of those things are about race, but rather because of their marginalized status in society. I hope that made sense, I need to go to bed.
sheisredsheisred on April 15th, 2006 08:28 am (UTC)
Many of the politicians lobbying against abortion (from what I've read and heard) don't seem to worried about sounding either racist or eugenist.

Thanks for the links. I really am interested.
Bethanymuliebrity on April 15th, 2006 08:33 am (UTC)
It's all about framing. Even most conservatives/Republicans still recoil at overt racism, despite the fact that their policies certainly have not done much to help minorities, with the exception of Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation (which technically freed no slaves, and it's a little sad to be riding on the coattails of someone who's been dead almost a century and a half). And when you start to talk eugenics you get the disability lobby on your ass.
The revolution will not be sanitizedlozzy_pop on April 15th, 2006 09:03 am (UTC)
So because i'm of a poor socioeconomic status and a young, single mother who chose to concieve my children are going to be criminals?
Sounds to me like classist bullshit.
Bethanymuliebrity on April 15th, 2006 12:14 pm (UTC)
They're not going to be necessarily, but statistically they're more likely to be. Something doesn't become bullshit just because you don't like it, although using it to justify things could be construed as classist.
Bethanymuliebrity on April 15th, 2006 12:18 pm (UTC)
And let me add that I believe proper parenting matters a lot more than any other factor in whether or not a child ends up doing criminal acts. If you're doing a good job raising your kids, I don't think you have anything to worry about.
(Deleted comment)
Bethanymuliebrity on April 15th, 2006 06:47 pm (UTC)
All of what you said is true, as I was speaking strictly from a personal level.
Honestly, I do think you would enjoy the book, and you ought to read it if you have time. It even discusses whether or not naming your child something like Precious makes them more likely to do poorly in school, etc. as opposed to naming them something like Samantha. Obviously it's a lot more complicated than that, though, just as the argument he makes about abortion is much more complicated than is being laid out here.
My List of Grievancesxbrokenxdollx on April 15th, 2006 04:55 pm (UTC)
He uses a statistical technique that goes beyond correlation. While no techinque (without a randomized control trial, which is impossible when studying abortion) can determine causality without doubt, there are techniques that can very stronly imply causation, when used properly. Researchers do it all the time, and if we didn't have these techniques we wouldn't know shit about the way the world works.
Karenbodylotion on April 15th, 2006 11:30 am (UTC)
Reminds me of the theory found in Flying Spaghetti Monsterism. # of pirates goes down and global warming goes up = pirates prevent global warming. Totally ridiculous, but that was the point. Like a poster said above, correlation does not equal causation.
My List of Grievancesxbrokenxdollx on April 15th, 2006 04:55 pm (UTC)
He doesn't just find a simple correlation!
damn son... you bleedin' son... bad son...xmobiusx on April 15th, 2006 11:58 am (UTC)
My List of Grievancesxbrokenxdollx on April 15th, 2006 05:00 pm (UTC)
To all the people busting out the one thing they learned in stats 101 "correlation does equal causality" he doesn't claim that it does. That's the entire point of the book. If you use data in a meticulous way, that can strongly imply causality.
I understand his findings are distasteful to people, but its so frustrating when people attack it on ideological grounds without understanding the methodology he used. I'm not going to explain the idea behind regression, but if anyone is interested just google it.
Its quite brilliant and I agree with his central thesis. Further, I don't think it supports any eugenicist or classist arguments. I think it supports feminists arguments in that women know the right circumstances in which they are capable of raising a healthy, productive child, and they know it better than any legislator. When women are denied that right to decide the circumstances in which they raise a child its not only harmful to them and their children (including future children) but its bad for society. Which, if any of you had read the book, he actaully articulates very well.
Bethanymuliebrity on April 15th, 2006 06:27 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I'm getting a little irritated by the insinuation that because I agree with his statistics I'm obviously classist and racist. The way it was explained here makes it sound a lot "worse" than it actually is. Statistics aren't meant to be malicious. They are what they are.
she's getting theredolcedaze on April 16th, 2006 06:16 pm (UTC)
I think by "I read the book", some of these posters really mean that they colored on it.
My List of Grievancesxbrokenxdollx on April 16th, 2006 08:40 pm (UTC)
Aliamaylea_moon on April 15th, 2006 06:13 pm (UTC)
maybe. but i doubt it.
cuteonekdh on April 15th, 2006 08:27 pm (UTC)
So does that mean if you are anti abortion, you are pro crime?
Life, sewing, and theoretical physicsenigmania on April 15th, 2006 10:38 pm (UTC)
Man, why is it so weird to consider that children who aren't fully wanted by their parents will have less family support and some increased chance of resorting to crimes? I don't think you neccesarily need to bring class or race into it to make a link.
nothingmuchnothingmuch on April 16th, 2006 03:18 pm (UTC)
I think it makes sense that kids who are unwanted by their parents are more likely to wind up criminals, and that legal abortion and contraception would reduce the crime rate.