The Instigator
16kadams
Con (against)
Winning
25 Points
The Contender
logicalrobot
Pro (for)
Losing
5 Points

Based on current evidence we can conclude abortion lowers crime

Do you like this debate?NoYes+4
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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 7 votes the winner is...
16kadams
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/8/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,552 times Debate No: 25069
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (30)
Votes (7)

 

16kadams

Con

BOP is on pro.

He/she must legalized abortion lowers crime.

Legal Abortion -- legalizing the procedure of abortion surgeries which terminate pregnancies
Crime -- violent crime

Pro states his/her case in round one, but has no argunment in round 4. Breaking this rule is an automatic forfeit,

I as con needn't provide a case only rebut Pros.

Also no trolling please.

Go!
logicalrobot

Pro

I accept your challenge and as my first debate I will do my best. Now, as I understand it, I must prove that abortion lowers crime to win and you must negate. If I can prove in just one case that abortion lowers crime, than the resolution is affirmed while you as con must negate every instance I provide.

However, I disagree with your definition of crime and will provide my own in return. Crime: Any action that breaks the law or policies of the government, in this case the U.S. federal, state and local governments.

For my first round, I will only post one argument (since you do not specify whether I have to provide my entire case in the first round) and will not post any argument in the last round.
Now, the way I will count crime is by cases rather than hypothetical. For instance, let's suppose in this magical country known as A, there were 50 cases of crime, or breaking of the law, 10 counts of murder, 30 counts of stealing, and 10 counts of abortion (this is really simplified). The next year, abortion is legalized, and there are 46 cases of crime, 14 counts of murder and 32 counts of stealing. Logically, this would be considered a reduction in crime, as abortion would no longer fall under its definition. In fact, if we ended all laws, crime as we know it would evaporate. Now there are dozens of differing policies that affect crime, so while legalized abortion may end abortion crimes, other variables may increase crime rates in the same time period, which is why any U.S. crime statistics would be inherently flawed. However, my simplified design should show how a single variable, legalized abortion, should affect crime in a negative (reducing) fashion.

I will include more arguments for my case in the next round. I look forward to a good debate. Also, if you could delay posting until after Saturday, that would be appreciated.
Debate Round No. 1
16kadams

Con

===Definitions===

If my opponent wants this definition I am fine with this, however the former definition was made as it was actually more in pros favor.

===My opponents hypothetical===

My opponent has agreed to have the BOP, sadly his case offers no proof to his assertion. My opponents reason for the hypothetical is this: 1) evidence is flawed, 2)it's simpler.

Even if it is simpler, he must provide data for his hypothetical or it is just a bare assertion. Numbers pulled from thin air are not high enough in quality to be sufficient in debate. Further something being "simple" is not always superior.

His logic on flawed statistics is a blatant misunderstanding of statistics. The statistics I will post are mainly academic studies which use regressions too control for other factors and, therefore, make it hardr to claim other factors played a role.

As we see the heart of my opponents hypothetical is flawed. But there is one fatal flaw it it: it assumes an abortion crime effect exists. Therefore, all I need to prove in my entire rebuttal is this: the assumed effect doesn't exist. If this is proven I win the debate and this argument is hindered invalid.

When looking at the abortion crime effect, however, we see no such effect is existent. In a 2007 study by John Lott and John Whitley we see most research on the subject is incomplete. And that the actual data shows abortions many societal effects--fit example increased out of wedlock births--increases the crime rate (murder rises 7%) and most areas of crime remain non effected [1][2]. To be clear here are some abortion effects:

• Increase in pre-marital sex
• Sharp rises in out-of wedlock births
• Drop of number for adoption
• Decline in marriages amongst previously pregnant woman

The hypothesis is abortion lowers unwanted children. But the data is opposite this claim. Although more of them get aborted, pre marital sex is MORE common as the risk of pregnancy is perceived as lower. As Lott puts it, "Academic studies have found that legalized abortion, by encouraging premarital sex, increased the number of unplanned births, even outweighing the reduction in unplanned births due to abortion."[2]

The increased pre marital births increases the amount of unwanted and abused children--leading to more crimes--and at best no effect [1].

This data is supported by an earlier study in 2001, conducted by the same authors. Their results conclude many factors led to the 1990 decrease in crime, in particular less drug usage, more arrests & convictions, and conceal carry laws. They claim if abortion was still illegal the drop in crime would have been larger, meaning abortion legalization increases crime rates [3].
________________________________________________________________________________

I see little need to continue as my opponent has provided nothing outside hypotheticals which, really, prove nothing in a factual manner. It merely assumes such an abortion effect exists, when it is clear it does not. Based on this alone pro has failed to meet his burden and a con vote is warranted.

[1] http://papers.ssrn.com...
[2] http://www.lewrockwell.com...
[3] (PDF) http://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu...
logicalrobot

Pro

It seems my opponent has misunderstood my argument (though that is more of my fault than his).

1)I am not against using empirical analysis. I was merely pointing out that the common thing to do in my situation would be to simply point out aggregate crime statistics in the Country after Roe v. Wade and conclude the correlation = causation fallacy. I tried to go a different route, but now I will also use various statistical arguments to point out the abortion crime effect, which brings me to

2)My first argument had nothing to do with the abortion crime effect but rather abortion itself. It is important to note that crime does not have to be witnessed or caught to be considered crime, which is the inherent flaw of criminal statistics: they cannot point out crimes that were never found out. An example would be drug use. Every time someone uses an illegal drug, that is one count of a crime and multiple uses would be multiple breakings of the same law, and thus multiple counts regardless of whether they were caught. This is something that can be quite difficult to measure. Another flaw in his analysis is that my opponent asserts that because of its legality, there are more abortions occurring than if it were illegal, which I would agree with. Measuring the crime of potential lives is drastically harder than even finding how many uncaught illegal abortions occurred before Roe v. Wade so I will assume that unborn children have no effect on the crime rate for argument's sake. The core of my argument, then, will be the effect of legalization on the increase in abortions. If I can somewhat prove that the number of women who will have an abortion regardless of legality is more than the increase in crime that may result from legal abortion (which could even be zero), then logically I would prove that overall there would be less crime from legal abortion. According to most statistics I could find, such as this one [1], about 42-46 million abortions occur worldwide and about 20 million of those are estimated to come from countries were abortion is illegal. The earliest abortion statistics I could find were from 2008, when 1.21 million abortions took place [2]. When considering the amount of abortions that take place in illegal countries, it is not a stretch to say that at least 40% of those abortions would still take place criminally, or 484,000, if abortion were outlawed in the U.S. Thus, my opponent needs to prove the abortion crime effect in his favor, that it increases crime, to win the debate. At the very end of his last round he made this claim, so if he shows the numbers, this should not be hard for him. If he cannot somehow correlate 484,001 crimes to the legalization of abortion, than this would prove that the illegalization of abortion increases crime, since all those women getting illegal abortions would count as crime, which is merely stating the resolution in the negative. It would still be a pro win. Now, I am sure that con will merely deny my first statistic as biased or exaggerated or ridiculous hypotheticals, however this will still not deny the logic of my case that many abortions would still occur even if it were outlawed and would all be considered increases in crime, most likely uncaught crime. He could offer a much lower number of illegal abortions that would occur than mine, but he would still need to prove the abortion crime effect in his favor. So far, the only thing my opponent has statistically proven is that illegalized abortion may have led to a slight increase in murder (7%). In terms of criminal counts, this would result in maybe 200 or 300 extra counts. The resolution says nothing about severity: if legalized abortion directly led to 10,000 more murders and 100,000 less thefts, it would still have technically decreased crime. So to negate the resolution, in the negative, he must find approximately 500,000 cases of crime due to abortion to win.

3)Now I will use the abortion crime rate in my favor to scientifically prove the crime lowering effects of legalized abortion. This argument is completely different from the first and to win, my opponent must negate both arguments. If just one of the two stand, Pro would be the winner. In response to his critics, Steven Levitt, author of Freakonomics, wrote an article in 2005 affirming his findings. One of these findings was that states with higher abortion rates had declined faster in crime then states with low abortion rates [3]. He also states that other countries, such as Australia, Canada and Romania, also experienced a decrease in crime after the legalization. While there are plenty of other factors that account for crime rate, these show that abortion at least had some effect, even if minor, and worked towards reducing crime.

Now for rebuttals:
1)Abortion leads to many societal effects: My opponent's study tries to point out various negative social effects that have resulted from abortion. I do not deny that abortion has some negative social effects. The issue, however, is whether these societal effects affect crime, which is the variable upon which the entire resolution is based. I am not arguing the ethics of abortion, but its effect on crime. Another factor my opponent has not accounted for is how many of these societal problems are due to abortion rather than American culture. For instance, he cites a drastic increase in out of wedlock births. Yet the only link he gives to crime is a slight increase in murder of 7% (I was unable to access the first source so I could be wrong). Yet I have already shown that crime decreased faster in states with higher rates of abortion.

Conclusion: I hope this posting cleared some confusion from my last one and that it helps further this beneficial and informative debate. In a nutshell, my two arguments are:
1.Abortion rates are not that different in countries where it is illegal [1], and illegalizing abortion would surely increase crime (proving my resolution in the negative), as at least a quarter to half of those women would likely seek abortions illegally. This is not to be confused with the abortion crime effect.
2.States with more abortions saw faster decreases in crime than states with fewer abortions and other countries with legalized abortion saw similar decreases in crime [3].

Sources:
[1] http://www.womenscenter.com...
[2] http://www.abort73.com...
[3] http://www.freakonomics.com...
Debate Round No. 2
16kadams

Con

Empirics

I never claimed you where against empirics, however I claimed you never gave any in the first round.

Abortion itself

My opponent makes a fatal flaw in his argument–it is considered a statistical fallacy–by comparing statistics worldwide. This argument ignores other factors. For example, if we used statistics from worldwide and applied it to the US there would be many problems with this. Why? Firstly one would have to look into law enforcement. Many countries, most countries, have different overall systems of policing. Many of which are weaker. Second, very important in this case, would be social problems. For example, all of the countries where it is illegal are very poor. Many reside in Africa, the Middle East, or in Latin America. In all of these places violence, such as rape, is extremely high. A higher rape rate would drive many to not have abortions, as rape, in many of these countries, is the only case abortions are allowed. In the Middle East, they are in many wars and polygamy is very common. Which would drive up the rape rate and abortion rate. In Latin America, very poor (poor people have abortions more often), would likely play a factor in this. They are also in many wars. As we can see, in all of the countries where it is legal, other factors explain the high abortion rates [1][2]. Further, even when abortion is legal many regulations stay in place. When looking at legalization, we see the illegal abortion rate rises after legalization. So even using my opponents point, we clearly see abortion increases crime, or has no effect [3].

Freakonomics/Levit hypothesis/Levit & Donahue lies

This name is important. It is the name of a book, and a blog, which created debate. After Levit and Donahue published their paper on abortion and crime, this book just heated the debate. And my opponent cited the statistics. Lets break the two points down: foreign data, and U.S. data.

Foreign

Levitt made this claim to prove it had an international effect–and this was an outrageous claim that was investigated by scientists–and never replicated. For example, the data used for the U.K. was not replicated, and the trend was overall increasing (even after controls for other variables where put on) and, at best, had no effect on overall crime [4]. Another study conducted in 2008 looked into all of Levit’s data. The conclusion was not at all surprising. He found there is “no meaningful association between abortion and age-specific crime rates.”[5]

United states

He misses the point. Many variables they did not account for was right to carry laws. There is significant evidence they can play a large role in crime, and they could explain the decrease. Also note the crack cocaine epidemic ended, logically reducing crime. This was likely one of the major reasons. And new legal definitions to life imprisonment and other law enforcement techniques where implemented. All likely, based on current evidence, is a larger role then abortion.

But lets look at a historical portion of this, just for fun. This argument came up in 1972 under Nixon. It was thoroughly debunked, and put into junk science. Now Levit has come forward with an idea… if you look at the weight of academic data, we see it too should be thrown into junk science.

Again, most analysis’s show abortion had many more adverse social effects then positive ones, which logically means Levit’s hypothesis is weak and that it is more likely it increases crime. As John Lott notes, he is a very respected man in the debate on both sides, “To understand why abortion might not cut crime, one should first consider how dramatically it changed sexual relationships. Once abortion became widely available, people engaged in much more premarital sex, and also took less care in using contraceptives. Abortion, after all, offered a backup if a woman got pregnant, making premarital sex, and the nonuse of contraception, less risky. In practice, however, many women found that they couldn’t go through with an abortion, and out-of-wedlock births soared. … All of these outcomes — more out-of-wedlock births, fewer adoptions than expected, and less pressure on men “to do the right thing” — led to a sharp increase in single-parent families. … Children raised out of wedlock have more social and developmental problems than children of married couples by almost any measure — from grades to school expulsion to disease. Unsurprisingly, children from unmarried families are also more likely to become criminals”[6]

Now, here’s the objection. It saves unwanted children!!! Data supports this! What data? First, that one positive impact is outweighed by the negative ones [6], and second that “data” is un replicated and suffers from methodological problems. (Joyce 2008, 2001, Lott 2001, 2007, is examples of its non-replication… and many more dissenters exist.) One study found his data was very flawed. Computer errors erode much of Levits data which he has been pointing too throughout the debate on abortion and crime. The study found, however, the data failed to control for many controls. Although they tried to account for it, the computer had a programming error and failed to to a complete control. When properly controlled, the abortion crime link disappears and in some cases shows increased crime rates [7].

Levit data? Haha.

Problem with Levits theory

“The true mark of a theory is without doubt its ability to predict phenomena.” –Science and Hebrew Tradition, “On the Method of Zadig,” p. 20[8]

We can agree, science should be able to often predict phenomena, and the theory should be able to be correct right? Sorry abortion, the facts don’t fit the theory. As John Lott notes, “Deregulating abortion would then reduce criminality first among age groups born after the abortion laws changed, when the “unwanted,” crime-prone elements began to be weeded out. Yet when we look at the declining murder rate during the 1990s, we find that this is not the case at all. Instead, murder rates began falling first among an older generation — those over 26 — born before Roe. It was only later that criminality among those born after Roe began to decline.”[6]


What a good predictor. It is a very valid science!



[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...

[2] Using the UN definition of rape: http://en.wikipedia.org...

[3] http://www.christianaction.org.za...

[4] http://www.voxeu.org...

[5] http://papers.ssrn.com...

[6] This is not a non-credible source, look at its author. http://www.foxnews.com...

[7] I read the actual paper online, but I used a simple abstract for the debate: http://papers.ssrn.com...

[8] http://www.paulmacrae.com...

logicalrobot

Pro

I have rather enjoyed this debate and thank my opponent for the challenge. However, one of the problems of this resolution is that it is somewhat unclear. For example, by legalized abortion, does my opponent mean merely in the U.S.? Because then, certain parts of abortion would still be illegal so analyzing their effects on crime would be flawed. Furthermore, certain crimes are taken for granted such as theft (I will explain what I mean here later on). So instead I will use logic to explain why legalized abortion would decrease crime.

1.Recall that my opponent accepted my definition of crime, any action that breaks a law, at the beginning of the debate. Logically then, more laws leads to more crime since there are more actions that would qualify as crime. Therefore, in an abstract sense, an elimination of a law (such as on abortion) would result in less crime according to its definition in this debate. If taken to its extreme, if all laws were eliminated, there would be no crime. Thus, from a logical standpoint, legalizing anything (voiding a prior law) would result in less crime.

Possible rebuttals: Since I cannot post in the last round, I will list what I think are some possible rebuttals of my logical argument my opponent may bring up.

1)That this logical argument does not count as "evidence" that abortion lowers crime. Evidence is anything that is used to determine the truth of an assertion. You could argue that it may be weaker than your evidence, but it would still count as evidence.

2)He could assert his empirical data that shows the abortion crime effect to be either positive (increasing crime) or no effect. This would do nothing to refute my argument since it is metaphysical.

Final comments: At the end of the day, I admit that my opponent's arguments from an empirical perspective do show that in this physical world, with our laws, culture, society, and police force, that our quasi-legalized abortion (certain kinds are not legal, depending on country) does not reduce crime (or at least is unknowable). However, my arguments show logically that in an abstract sense, voiding any law, including abortion, leads to a reduction in crime (actions that violate laws). I leave it up to the voters to determine which argument is superior.
Debate Round No. 3
16kadams

Con

My opponent has recognized the flaws in his argument and has agreed to concede in the comments (no, I did not influence this guys).

So vote con.

But it is rare that one has the mind to concede when he has lost. Give him a point or two.
logicalrobot

Pro

Yes, I have agreed to concede (he did not influence my decision). As someone who is pro-life, I thought I could be more objective, but there simply was not enough evidence (keep in mind this was my first debate) to support my position. I thank 16kadams for a good debate and hope to debate again sometime in the near future. Vote Con
Debate Round No. 4
30 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by 16kadams 4 years ago
16kadams
LK didn't accept, imabench, because when I put the BOP on him (pro has BOP), he died. I made it even. And then he was like "meh! You need to make the BOP yours and say in round one my position is a fact!!!"
Posted by logicalrobot 4 years ago
logicalrobot
But if you would like to point out the flaw in my argument yourself you are free to do so
Posted by logicalrobot 4 years ago
logicalrobot
yes
Posted by 16kadams 4 years ago
16kadams
Logical robot, I can post my argument saying "PRO conceded". Sound cool?
Posted by logicalrobot 4 years ago
logicalrobot
After reviewing my argument, I think I will concede in the last round. Since I am against abortion, I figured I could be more objective, but the fact is that there just is not enough evidence to support my position. Ah well, 16kadams put up some fantastic arguments. At least I lost to a good debater.
Posted by 16kadams 4 years ago
16kadams
Maikiru, abortion causes crime :P
Posted by Maikuru 4 years ago
Maikuru
Fewer people = less crime.

Affirmed!
Posted by KeytarHero 4 years ago
KeytarHero
I honestly don't see how this could be proven, but it will be interesting to read.
Posted by 16kadams 4 years ago
16kadams
I like 8,000. I would make it 3 rounds though
Posted by 000ike 4 years ago
000ike
If you reduce the character limit to 5,000 per round, and make it 3 rounds, I'll accept. Could you?
7 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Vote Placed by 1Historygenius 4 years ago
1Historygenius
16kadamslogicalrobotTied
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Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: Concession.
Vote Placed by acvavra 4 years ago
acvavra
16kadamslogicalrobotTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Concession. However, I appreciate Pro's honesty so I give him the conduct point.
Vote Placed by YYW 4 years ago
YYW
16kadamslogicalrobotTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Concession. Conduct point not awarded because PRO did not forfeit, and I like good sportsmanship.
Vote Placed by Microsuck 4 years ago
Microsuck
16kadamslogicalrobotTied
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Reasons for voting decision: forfeit.
Vote Placed by baggins 4 years ago
baggins
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Reasons for voting decision: Concession.
Vote Placed by imabench 4 years ago
imabench
16kadamslogicalrobotTied
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Reasons for voting decision: I thought this was a challenge to LK. Ah well, still easy to judge
Vote Placed by Magicr 4 years ago
Magicr
16kadamslogicalrobotTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro conceded.