31 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2004
Date Written: February 2004
Recent research indicates that the United States Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade was a major contributing factor to the significant drop in crime during the 1990s. This paper extends that research by examining the contemporaneous relationship between abortion and infant homicide. We test the hypothesis that abortion removes out of the population those infants most at risk of infant homicide. Within this context, the impact of Medicaid funding for abortions on infant homicides is analyzed. Using cross-sectional time-series data for U.S. states between 1978 and 2000, we find a strong negative relationship between infant homicide and the abortion rate: a one standard deviation increase in the abortion rate reduces the expected number of infant homicides by approximately 40 percent. Medicaid funding of abortion reduces the number of infant homicides; the data suggest that infant homicides are between 13 and 20 percent lower in states that fund abortion.
Keywords: Abortion, crime, infant homicide, medicaid
JEL Classification: I18, J13, K42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation