Do Reproductive Rights Reduce Violent Crimes?

December 11, 2021

There’s a sad correlation between unwanted children, and an increased likelihood of adolescent criminality.

For many, with parenthood comes poverty, unemployment and reduced social mobility – and unfortunately – children born into this type of environment are more likely to turn to crime later in life.

It’s no coincidence that when American women won reproductive rights in 1973, we saw a dramatic downtown in violent crime a generation later.

It’s called the Donoghue-Levitt hypothesis, and it provides a strong data driven argument for women’s reproductive rights, outside of morality and the blurry question of ‘when life begins’.

The reality is that healthy and happy children are raised by willing, autonomous and committed parents; and we can only become these parents through *choosing* to be one.

That’s it really - it’s all a matter of choice.

We also know that boys who develop behavioural issues, who runaway from home, who drop out from school and sadly take their life, are far more likely to come from fatherless homes.

And again, we are reminded of the same phenomenon.

Children born to fathers who don’t want to be one, or who aren’t ready, are also more likely to experience difficulties in childhood, and develop behavioural issues in adolescence.

So how do we give men the right to choose, and will their greater reproductive autonomy, help alleviate the fatherless crisis?

Or will we continue to vilify ‘dead beat dads’ or absent fathers, in the exact same way that we vilified ‘wayward women’ 50 years ago?


There’s a great Freakenomics podcast about Donohue-Levitt Hypothesis here

Image by Christian Di Fede from Unsplash #ttmdonohuelevitt


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