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Abortions linked to dropping crime rate? The report claiming that legalizing abortion in the 1970s has caused today's falling crime rate lacks true scientific methods ("A Jarring theory for drop in US crime," Aug. 11). There are several factors that did not appear to enter into the research.

1. Crime is usually down when the economy is doing well. Government reports suggest we are in the longest recorded period of prosperity.

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2. The age of the population is directly related to the crime rate - with most crime committed by youth. The population has gotten older.

3. The jail population is one of the largest ever because of mandatory sentencing laws. The population that commits serious crime has been very small (less that 0.1 percent). If we shrink that group by incarcerating it, wouldn't that have the largest impact on crime? This seems to me to be the biggest reason for the reduction.

The political motivation of the researchers, who are known to favor abortion rights, calls their findings into question. Grant Stokoe, Hatfield, Pa.

If we want fewer of certain kinds of people (including criminals), do we then promote abortion among young mothers of specific people identified as most likely to produce the unwanted element? This smacks of social engineering at its worst!

This study, and its full conclusions need to see the light of day so that the allegations can be fully aired and examined. Then let it stand or fall on its own merits, but let us all see the data first and form our own conclusions as to its validity. David L. Russel, Lilburn, Ga.

Let's remember that before Roe vs. Wade, abortion in many states was considered murder, not a "choice," and was a prosecutable crime. If the total number of crimes since Roe vs. Wade included the total number of (formerly illegal) abortions since Roe vs. Wade, would our crime rate be up or down? Mary Dor Doherty, Fort Worth, Texas

While its impact on crime is questionable, abortion undoubtedly has had a major impact on US unemployment levels. Just as aborted children would have hit their prime years for crime in the early 90s, they would have hit the work force about the same time. And since more people are law-abiding employees than criminals, we have eliminated millions of potential workers from our work force. Their would-be roles and impacts are speculative, but it's a fact that there are fewer individuals competing for jobs.

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However, I hope our society never gets to the point where it justifies murdering its unborn on the assumption that it will lower crime rates or cause any other positive social impact. It might not take long to go from that rationale to the recent extremes in Cambodia, where they justified eliminating the entire educated class under the rationale it would solve their nation's social problems. Alan R. Davis, Chillicothe, Ohio

For the record Regarding "WNBA star aims to shed light on women athletes" (Aug. 13): Please be a bit more careful with your facts. Cynthia Cooper of the two-time WNBA championship Houston Comets is the two-time league MVP. Because the third season is now in progress, the league has yet to name this year's MVP. Therefore, while Lisa Leslie's abilities are unquestioned, it is a little premature to name her as this year's MVP. Terese Rakow and Carter White, Houston

Editor's note: Our story should have made clear that Lisa Leslie was named MVP of this summer's WNBA All-Star Game.

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(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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