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Scholar to Speak on the Relation Between Abortion and the Falling Crime Rate in the United States

October 13, 1999 -- Why has the national crime rate dropped in the 1990s? No one knows for sure, but several possible explanations have been advanced.

Among the most controversial ideas is that proposed by two scholars, Steven Levitt, an economist at the University of Chicago, and John Donohue III, a law professor at Stanford University. Their recently published research shows a strong correlation between the rise in the number of abortions since the passage of Roe v. Wade in 1973 and the drop in the crime rate some 20 years later. By ending unwanted pregnancies, they argue, women avoided raising potential criminals who would now be entering their high-crime years.

Critics on both sides of the abortion issue have lambasted the study. Anti-abortion groups object to the idea that terminating pregnancies could have a positive impact on crime, while pro-abortion groups dislike the racial overtones and aspect of social control implied in the research. The scholars say they are just trying to interpret the data as they see it.

Levitt is scheduled to speak at the University of Virginia next week on the relation between the abortion rate and the declining crime rate. His talk is open to the public, but seating is limited and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Levitt's talk, "Legalized Abortion and Declining Crime," will be given to a graduate student seminar in economics on Thursday, Oct. 21, in Rouss Hall, room 104, at 3:30 p.m.

For more information on Levitt's talk, call Steven Stern at (804) 924-6754.

CONTACT: Charlotte Crystal, (804) 924-6858

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Contact University News Services at (804) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (804) 924-7550.
SOURCE: U.Va. News Services

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