Professor: Children Born After Abortion Banned Had Better Lives, Education

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 2, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Professor: Children Born After Abortion Banned Had Better Lives, Education Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 2, 2006

New York, NY ( — Two university professors created a national uproar last year with their book saying that crime has dropped in the United States thanks to abortion. Now a university professor says children born after a nation banned abortion have better economic and educational success, showing abortion prohibitions help children.

Cristian Pop-Eleches, a professor at Columbia University in New York, makes the observation in an article published in the Journal of Political Economy.

Pop-Elches says children born after a nation bans abortion have "significantly better" educational and labor market achievements than children born just before.

To back up his contention, Pop-Elches points to Romania, which, as a communist nation, saw dictator Nicolae Ceausescu issue an executive order banning abortions and contraception. Previously abortions were a part of the nation’s socialized health care plan and done at no cost.

The next year after the ban was in place, the birth rate doubled.

"Urban, educated women working in good jobs were more likely to have abortions prior to the policy change," explains Pop-Eleches. "So a higher proportion of children were born into urban, educated households after abortion became illegal."

Looking at births from before and after the abortion ban, Pop-Eleches found that children born after the ban were more likely to finish high school and to work in a more highly-skilled job.

"The apparently surprising result of superior educational and labor outcomes of children born after the abortion ban can be explained by changes in the composition of women having children," writes Pop-Eleches.

"[The study] indicates that the positive effect due to changes in the composition of mothers having children more than outweighs all the other negative effects such a restriction might have had," he says.

Pop-Eleches accounts for the difference in short-term and long-term outcomes, suggesting that educated women in Romania changed their behavior more drastically as a result of the ban.