I am amazed at the sheer audacity and persistence of the population control crowd.
Since the 1960s, they have given a single answer to every major social issue encountered. Hunger? Population control. Poverty? Population control. Racial/Religious conflicts? Population control. Communism? Population control. Women’s rights? Population control. Ecological problems? Population control. And on and on. How could powerful leaders and nations be duped by such an asinine proposal?
As the old proverb goes, “Be careful of what you wish for, you might get it!” After decades of unrelenting contraception, sterilization, and abortion at the cost of billions and billions of dollars — and several billion lives killed and prevented from coming into being — world population growth has slowed so much that its peak and decline is in sight. The United Nations’ estimated world fertility rate is currently 2.36 children per woman, the result of constant declines since 1965. Global estimates, however, mask a wide diversity of regional and local realities. Europe as a whole averages a total fertility rate (TFR) of only 1.6 children per woman while Africa remains dynamic with 4.5 on average.
Among 224 sovereign states and dependent territories, 112 have TFRs below 2.1, including two out of the three most populous nations in the world: China (1.55) and the USA (2.06). The most recent economic recession actually pushed the U.S. TFR down to below 1.9. The 2.1 TFR statistic is widely used as a proxy for the minimum fertility rate needed to prevent population decline absent immigration/emigration, hence the phrase replacement fertility. This is only true, however, for countries with extremely low mortality due to peaceful conditions and advanced health care systems. The poorest nations of the world can require 3 children per woman just to stave off depopulation. This explains why world population growth is slowing dramatically with a world fertility rate at 2.36 and dropping.
The other major factor putting the brakes on population growth is the slowing ofincreases in life-expectancy. People living longer on average than ever in history and the post World War II Baby Boom contributed much of the population surge of the latter half of the 20th century. Population expert Dr. Nicholas Eberstadt often uses a simple phrase to describe the world demographic situation: “Population did not boom because people suddenly started breeding like rabbits, but rather because they stopped dying like flies.” As societies have started aging, in some countries dramatically, mortality rates are inexorably catching up. Working populations in industrialized nations are graying in what has been called the Silver Tsunami, reflecting the fact that Japan is the most geriatric society in the world. Look at the economic performance over the last couple of decades of the once world leader Japan. It is not a pretty picture.
There is an elephant in the room that is hardly talked about. As the Baby Boom generation begins to retire expecting pension and social program payments in the golden years, the younger generation entering the workforce is not going to be up to the task of earning those funds. The post-1973 and Roe v. Wade U.S. generation has had well over a million children aborted out of it every year. One must add to this those never born due to sterilization and contraception. All the while the population demagogues have shouted their encouragement from the rooftops and successfully garnered funds to spread the “blessings” of population control worldwide.
Paul Ehrlich, who wrote The Population Bomb in the 1960s, is 81 years old now. Both he and Lester Brown, 79, of the Worldwatch Institute, will probably not be around much longer to taste the bitter fruits from the hysteria they promoted. Planned Parenthood, on the other hand, will certainly be with us for a while yet. This multinational “non-profit” rakes in over a billion dollars a year in the USA alone. A shocking 45% of that money comes from government entities, and therefore out of the pockets of the American tax payer. They are the largest abortion providing institution in the United States and should be called to account for their active role in the worldwide artificially created population disaster that is looming.
It is a truism that birthrates have the turning radius of a battleship, not a go-kart as Jonathan Last said in his recent book What to Expect When No One is Expecting. There is an incredible urgency to promote pro-child and pro-family measures and to stop those who are feverishly digging us ever deeper into this birth-dearth hole. Pro-lifers can say this quite altruistically since it mainly is the liberal segment of the U.S. population and in other rich countries that is aborting and contracepting itself into oblivion.
Feminists, at least those who truly prioritize defending women, should also enter the fight against population control. Innumerable human rights violations, mainly committed against women, have gone on for decades with coerced abortions, sterilization, and contraception as a sad fact of life in many places, most notoriously in Communist China. Population control policies and new sex determination technologies have fueled the worldwide sex selection abortion crisis. Millions of baby girls have been aborted simply because their parents found out they were female.
The world is indeed in a sorry state, but it will only get worse until the elephant in the room of missing and wounded people is acknowledged and addressed.
Joseph Meaney is the international coordination director at Human Life International. This article is published by kind permission of HLI’s Truth and Charity Forum.