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Sunday, October 02, 2005

Left-Handed Exercise 

Courtesy of our revered colleague Avedon Carol: Libertarian writer Radley Balko of The Agitator grew weary of reading various right-wing screeds (by L. Brent Bozell and professional virgin Ben Shapiro, among others) about the deleterious effects of pornography and decided to check out the relevant stats:
[I]f you look at demographic and crime data since the rise of the Internet -- when most people could for the first time access pornography at any time, from any place, completely anonymously -- there's little evidence at all that it's having any widespread negative effects in any of the areas people like Bozell and Shapiro worry about. In fact, trends in just about every concievable area are moving in directions you'd think Bozell and Shapiro would favor, desptie the widespread availability or pornography. Hell, given that most of the bad stuff seemed to peak just as the Internet took off before trending downward, you could arguably make the case that porn is helping matters a bit, by giving the sexually frustrated a harmless outlet to relieve sexual tension (how's that for a euphemism?) . . . .
  • Sex crimes against children: Down 39% overall in the last decade. Crimes against 12-17 year olds are down 79% over the same period.

  • Abortion: The number of abortions per live births has trended downward since 1987. That year, there were 356 abortions per 1,000 live births. By 2001 -- the last year for which the federal government has data -- the number had dropped to 247.

  • Teen pregnancy: The number of live births per 1,000 women aged 15-19 has dropped from 60 in 1990 to 40 in 2003.

  • Divorce: The percentage of marriages ending in divorce has dropped from 47% in 1990 to 38% in 2002.

  • Crimes Against Women: Violent crime against women has dropped from 41 victims per 1,000 women in 1994 to just 17 in 2004.

  • Rape: Incidence of rape has dropped dramatically, despite decreasing social stigma against rape victims, which would make rape more likely to be reported. There were 2.5 rapes per 1,000 women in 1984. By 1993, the number had dropped to 1.6. By 2004, it was down to just 0.4.
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