Four months ago, Catholic priest and religious radio personality John Corapi made a dire prediction about the future of pro-choice America:
“If we do not soon stop the genocide of abortion in the United States, we shall run the course of all those that prove by their actions that they are enemies of God—total collapse, economic, social, and national.”
Wow! Look out, America, if Father Corapi is right. But is he right? If it is true that “all those that prove by their actions that they are enemies of God” suffer “total collapse, economic, social and national,” and if Father Corapi is right that abortion is a genocidal abomination in God’s eyes, then at the very least those places in which abortion is more free and unfettered should be doing worse socially and economically, while those places in which abortion is more restricted should be farther from collapse.
If, on the other hand, God is wholly unconcerned with abortion restrictions, or God actively dislikes restrictions on women’s bodily liberty, or God does not exist as an intervening deity, then we won’t find the pattern that Father Corapi uses his supernatural authority (and worldly broadcast power) to proclaim.
Let’s go ahead and test Corapi’s abortion prediction empirically. Here is a map of states according to the number of legal restrictions they place on abortion (information courtesy of Lawserver):
The red states on this map place the most restrictions on abortion, and according to Corapi’s description of the world they should be furthest from economic and social collapse. The blue states, which place none of these three restrictions on abortion, should be closest to economic and social collapse.
My indication of economic collapse in the fifty states is pretty straightforward: the percent of families below the poverty level in each state. Here’s a map of those values for 2006, the most recent year for which data is available from the Statistical Abstract of the United States:
One measure of social collapse is the dissolution of the family unit through divorce. Here is a map of the divorce rate per 1,000 people in 2007 (also the most recent year available through the Statistical Abstract) for the various states:
(those states in white did not report divorce data in 2007.)
Another indication of social collapse is the commission of violent crime. Here’s a map of violent crime rates (per 100,000 people) in 2006 (yep, the most recently available year of data from the Statistical Abstract):
And here is the numerical relationship between abortion restrictiveness and these measures of collapse:
Mean % of families in poverty:
States with no abortion restrictions: 8.2%
States with 1 abortion restriction: 9.6%
States with 2 abortion restrictions: 9.0%
States with 3 abortion restrictions: 10.1%
Mean divorce rate per 1,000 people:
States with no abortion restrictions: 4.2
States with 1 abortion restriction: 3.7
States with 2 abortion restrictions: 4.1
States with 3 abortion restrictions: 3.5
Violent crime rate per 100,000 people:
States with no abortion restrictions: 410.0
States with 1 abortion restriction: 406.5
States with 2 abortion restrictions: 457.9
States with 3 abortion restrictions: 348.3
The highest rate of economic collapse occurs in the set of states with the most restrictive abortion laws, contradicting Father Corapi’s pronouncement that abortion rights lead to economic collapse. While the divorce rate is lowest in the most restrictive abortion states, next lowest are states with only one abortion restriction on the books. And the violent crime rate peaks in states with 2 abortion restrictions, with crime much lower in more restrictive and less restrictive states.
To my eye, no consistent relationship between the restrictiveness of abortion laws and social collapse exists. If Father Corapi is interested in observable reality, he’s advised to stop making the claim. If Corapi continues to make such pronouncements, it should be taken as a sign that he’s not interested in observable reality.