Today, two stories appeared in Floridian media outlets that didn't seem to have much to do with each other but did.
The first: "Florida's Crime Rate the Lowest in 40 Years." The title is a bit misleading -- Florida didn't begin tracking crime rates until 40 years ago, so our historic streak of lawfulness may be more impressive than we think. What we do know is this: According to Tampa Bay Online, in 1971, Florida suffered 5,700 crimes per 100,000 people. Now, we're down to 4,500 in 100,000. Not bad.
The other story was this: "Florida House passes resolution to ban public funding for abortions." The title refers to CS/HJR 1179, which will put to popular vote an amendment to the state Constitution prohibiting the use of state money to purchase health insurance that provides abortions, save in cases of rape, incest, or mortal endangerment of the prospective mother. That means no abortions through Medicaid.
That these stories appeared in the same publications on the same day is queasily ironic. Unfashionable as it is to say in our Roe v. Wade-hating era, our current low-crime clime was largely created by easy access to abortions.
So suggests the ever-more-solid consensus in the sociological sciences, which has been growing since at least 1966 and entered the mainstream in 2001, with the publication of Donahue and Levitt's "The Impact of Legalized Abortion on Crime." (This paper ultimately became the centerpiece of the bestseller Freakonomics.) The reasoning goes like this: Unwanted pregnancies lead to unwanted children, and unwanted children often receive indifferent or ineffective parenting. Indifferent and ineffective parenting often creates maladjusted citizens, and the odds are pretty damned good that the guy who just jacked your car is a maladjusted citizen.
Of course, maladjusted citizens are still citizens, which is why abortions' most ardent opponents have struggled so valiantly to create a welfare state of sufficient size to tend to these reproductive castoffs. It is also why they have endeavored to ensure that Florida families of all sexual orientations are able to adopt children. Because they understand, deep in their Christian hearts, the enormous burden they shoulder when they seek to prevent impoverished women from controlling their reproductive destinies. And they would never risk moral or intellectual inconsistency when dealing with anything so precious as a life.
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