As The Economist reports, states such as Georgia, Ohio, and Alabama have recently passed new restrictive abortion laws, under which even abortions in the cases of rape or incest are banned, a position supported by only 11% of American voters, according to pollster Morning Consult. Research suggests that these new policies could reverse progress made on crime reduction in the U.S.
A 2001 paper by economists John Donahue and Steven Levitt attributed much of the reduction of crime in the U.S. to the legalization of abortion across the country. They claimed that in states where abortion had been banned before 1973, the rates of violent crime in 1997 would have been 15-25% higher if abortion had remained illegal.
The study made a great impact, and many skeptics attempted to disprove it. One group even claimed to have discovered an “inadvertent but serious computer programming error.”