Canadian Abortion Practitioner Says Abortion Helps Reduce Crime Rate

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 11, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Canadian Abortion Practitioner Says Abortion Helps Reduce Crime Rate

by Maria Gallagher Staff Writer
August 11, 2004

Winnipeg, Canada ( — A Canadian abortion practitioner claims abortion has played a major role in the decline in his nation’s violent crime rate. But, some researchers counter that such theories are like a "CSI-style fantasy."

Henry Morgentaler distributed a press statement saying the decrease in Canada’s violent crime statistics since 1991 "confirms again my theory that access to abortion" is responsible for the favorable numbers.

The Canadian homicide rate is now the lowest it has been since 1967.

Nonsense, say veteran pro-lifers, who see Morgentaler’s theory as just another excuse to attempt to legitimize the killing of unborn children.

Morgentaler suggests that "violent crimes are usually committed by young men with a rage in their heart, a result of maltreatment they received as babies and children."

"It is well-known that unwanted children are more likely to suffer abuse and neglect than wanted children," Morgentaler writes.

"The fact that fewer children are being born unwanted due to contraception and access to abortion means that fewer children are likely to be abused and (are) growing up in better conditions for their emotional development," Morgentaler added.

But the facts do not bear out Morgentaler’s hypothesis, according to a number of scholars, who note that child abuse has actually escalated since Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court ruling which legalized abortion on demand during all nine months of pregnancy.

The Elliot Institute, which studies the after effects of abortion, notes that, between 1976 and 1987, reported cases of child abuse rose 330 percent. The Institute points out that, while part of the increase might have been due to better reporting, the statistics show a "real trend toward ever higher rates of abuse."

"These figures clearly contradict the pro-abortionists’ claim that abortion of ‘unwanted children’ prevents child abuse," write researchers Theresa Karminski Burke and David C. Reardon of the Elliot Institute.

"Ignoring the obvious illogic of this argument — which suggests that killing children is better than beating them — there is not a single scientific study that supports this theory," the researchers say.

"Instead, there is a clear statistical association between increased rates of abortion and increased rates of child abuse. Indeed, statistical and clinical research support not only an association, but a causal connection between abortion and subsequent child abuse," Burke and Reardon write.

Similarly, psychiatrist Philip Ney of the University of British Columbia has documented the link between abortion and subsequent child abuse. According to Ney, abortion can disrupt a mother’s bond with later children, weaken her maternal instincts, and heighten her level of anger and depression.

In 1999, John Donohue of Stanford Law School and Steven Levitt of the University of Chicago published a study linking a decline in the U.S. violent crime in the 1990s with abortion.

"If the estimates are correct, legalized abortion can explain about half of the recent fall in crime," Donohue and Levitt wrote.

At the time of the study, a number of other crime experts discounted the results.

For instance, a spokeswoman for the National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders told the BBC that linking abortion to crime rates was "too simplistic."

"You cannot say that by increasing access to abortion for young women (it) is going to lead to a reduction in crime," the group explained.

"There are many causes of crime, including exclusion from school, a disruptive family background, poor housing and pressure from friends and peers who are involved in crime," the NACRO spokeswoman added.

In addition, Yale University law professor John Lott and Australian economist John Whitley found that the Donohue-Levitt analysis was seriously flawed.

In their own analysis of violent crime and abortion, Lott and Whitley noted there are "many factors that reduce murder rates, but the legalization of abortion is not one of them."

Related web sites:
Elliot Institute –