DONOHUE-LEVITT HYPOTHESIS = The theory that legal abortion reduces crime by reducing the number of unwanted births, neglected and abused youth. As the theory goes, those troubled children grow up to be the next generation of criminals. Research shows that children of women denied an abortion require more public assistance including psychiatric services and foster homes, and engage in more criminal and antisocial behavior than their wanted counterparts.
Most crimes are committed by males aged 18-24. Roe versus Wade (legalizing abortion) was passed by SCOTUS in 1973, and 18 years later the country experienced a significant decrease in crime. One of the justices had offered the rationale that a family unready to support a child should not be required to have one. States that had already legalized abortion had earlier reductions in crime, and higher abortion rates correlated with greater reductions in crime. Australian and Canadian studies have detected a correlation between legalized abortion and reduced crime overall. Of course all of these interpretations have been challenged, and more research is needed. Among other possible contributors to decreasing crime is the removal of lead from gasoline in the same year as Roe vs Wade. Lead ingestion lowers intelligence and increases impulsivity and aggressive behavior.