The Corner

Careless Conceptions

I mentioned the other day that it was a mistake to assume that there would be 42 million more Americans if not for abortion, because legalized abortion increased the conception rate. Steve Sailer reminds me that “social scientists have estimated that 60%-75% of the fetuses aborted in the 1970s would not have been conceived if not for legalized abortion.” He also points me toward the John Donohue-Steven Levitt paper on abortion and crime, which cites evidence that abortion reduced the birth rate by only 5 percent. That paper was widely criticized (by Sailer and me, among others), but not on this point.

Ramesh Ponnuru — Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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