Friday, June 22, 2007

It's Not Enough to Be 'Wanted'

John R. Lott, writing from the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal, makes the case that illegitimacy has risen despite--indeed, because of--legal abortion.

First of all, he notes,

liberalizing abortion rules from 1969 to 1973 ignited vast social changes in America.
He points out,

One often misunderstood fact: Legal abortions just didn't start with Roe….snip Nevertheless, Roe did substantially increase abortions, more than doubling the rate per live birth in the five years from 1972 to 1977. But many other changes occurred at the same time:

• A sharp increase in pre-marital sex.

• A sharp rise in out-of-wedlock births.

• A drop in the number of children placed for adoption.

• A decline in marriages that occur after the woman is pregnant.

Some of this might seem contradictory. Why would both the number of abortions and of out-of-wedlock births go up? If there were more illegitimate births, why were fewer children available for adoption?

Lott goes on to make sense of the puzzle with facts and personal insight and then summarizes:

From the beginning of the abortion debate, those favoring abortion have pointed to the social costs of "unwanted" children who simply won't get the attention of "wanted" ones. But there is a trade-off that has long been neglected. Abortion may eliminate "unwanted" children, but it increases out-of-wedlock births and single parenthood. Unfortunately, the social consequences of illegitimacy dominated.

Children born after liberalized abortion rules have suffered a series of problems from problems at school to more crime. The saddest fact is that it is the most vulnerable in society, poor blacks, who have suffered the most from these changes.

Liberalized abortion might have made life easier for many, but like sex itself sometimes, it has had many unintended consequences.

Be sure to read the [short] article here.

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