Why Internet Porn Is Good for America

Libertarian Radley Balko argues that sex-related crimes are down as a result of internet porn.

… I tried to think of all the areas in which someone like [Brent] Bozell might conclude pornography is having negative effects, and looked to see what the trends in those areas have looked like since the early-to-mid 1990s, the onset of the Internet age. Perhaps I’ve overlooked something, but my guess is that just about any other category you could come up with would point in the same direction: Things are getting better, not worse. Despite Janet Jackson, Internet porn, and Desperate Housewives.

What I found:

  • 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. Read more
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