Former Education Secretary William Bennett (search) has postponed an appearance at the University of Cincinnati because of what he called a "willful distortion" of his remarks about aborting black babies.

Bennett said controversy stemming from his "Morning in America" radio show last week would detract from serious discussions of issues. College Democrats at the university had said they would protest Tuesday's scheduled appearance.

"The current controversy that has arisen around comments I made on my radio show, based on a willful distortion of what I said, will take away from the serious discussion I wanted to engage in with the students and community at the University of Cincinnati (search)," Bennett said in a statement released Sunday by the UC College Republicans.

While answering a caller's question, the author of "The Book of Virtues" took issue with the hypothesis put forth in a recent book that one reason crime is down is that abortion was legalized, reducing the number of unwanted babies born in recent decades.

Said Bennett: "But I do know that it's true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could, if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down." He went on to call that "an impossible, ridiculous and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down. So these far-out, these far-reaching, extensive extrapolations are, I think, tricky."

He said later his point was that abortion should not be opposed for economic reasons because "immoral policies are wrong because they are wrong, not because of an economic calculation."

Kevin Welch, chairman of UC College Republicans, said Bennett's appearance would be rescheduled for sometime in November.