CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Abortion, Population and Eugenics

Oct 15, 2008

Every reason offered for abortion is a bad reason. But there is one reason often thrown around which is not only bad, but dumb. I refer to those who argue that abortion is necessary because it helps to control our overpopulation crisis. They claim that planet earth is far too overcrowded, and abortion is a neat way to keep things in check. But there are a number of problems with such a position.

Even if we are overpopulated – and many experts dispute the claim – abortion is not the answer. Just as the answer to a crowded apartment building is not murdering half the residents, so too here, murdering the unborn is not an acceptable solution. There are many couples eager to adopt children. That is certainly a more humane solution.

And if we are serious about proposing death as a solution for the problems of world hunger and overpopulation, why stop at just killing unborn babies? Why not kill adults? After all, they eat a lot more than the unborn, they consume a lot more resources, they take up a lot more space, they make more demands on our environment, etc. The point is, one serious social problem cannot be solved by means of another serious social problem.

Indeed, apply this to any other situation. Many prisons are experiencing manifest overcrowding. Would it therefore be right to kill, say, a third of all prisoners, in the interests of reducing prison populations and to relieve overcrowding?

And many hospitals are full to overflowing. Overcrowding in our hospitals is a perennial problem. In order to free up much needed hospital beds, should we simply go through the wards and bump off, say, forty per cent of patients? That would certainly free up the beds. (BTW, this is not a foolish and far-out proposal. In 1994 the Economic Planning Advisory Commission discussed the rising costs of health care for the elderly, and the problem of overcrowding in hospitals. In a publication called “Australia’s Aging Society,” EPAC actually looked at the use of euthanasia as one option in the whole discussion!)

While arguments for overpopulation seemed to carry some weight back in the 1960s (recall Paul Ehrlich’s The Population Bomb), today the real problem is not a population explosion, but a population implosion. Rapidly falling fertility rates are becoming a major concern around the world, certainly in the West.

A number of recent books have documented this population implosion, including The Empty Cradle by Phillip Longman (2004); and Fewer: How the New Demography of Depopulation Will Shape Our Future by Ben Wattenberg (2004).

And concerns about supposed overpopulation have often resulted in many draconian and inhumane policies, such as forced abortions, sterilisations, and widespread eugenics policies. Jacqueline Kasun warned about this in her important 1988 book, The War against Population.

Much more recently population expert Stephen Mosher released a book tackling these very issues. Entitled Population Control: Real Costs, Illusory Benefit, it offers a sober warning about how population control zealots are using draconian methods and implementing eugenics policies in their push to curb human numbers.

As Mosher puts it, “For over half a century, the population controllers have perpetuated a gigantic, costly and inhumane fraud upon the human race, defrauding the people of the developing countries of their progeny and the people of the developed world of their pocketbooks.” He continues,

“Determined to stop population growth at all costs, the controllers have abused women, targeted racial and religious minorities, undermined primary health care programs, and encouraged dictatorial actions if not dictatorship. They have skewed the foreign aid programs of the U.S. and other developed countries in an anti-natal direction, corrupted dozens of well-intentioned nongovernmental organizations, and impoverished authentic development programs. Blinded by a zealotry worthy of Al-Qaeda, they have even embraced the most brutal birth control campaign in history: China’s infamous one-child policy, with all its attendant horrors.”

In 250 fact-filled pages, Mosher carefully documents these claims, and shows how eugenics is alive and well, being promulgated by the no-growth zealots. Indeed, he reminds us that there are many serious voices urging us to not just stop population growth, but to radically reduce current population levels. Many are saying our 6 billion-plus population should be cut back to one billion, or two billion at the most.

Of course how these 4 to 5 billion people are supposed to be bumped off is not always clearly stated. And none of those calling for such drastic measures seem to have volunteered to lead the way here. But they are very happy for other people to “do their bit” to save the planet.

Mosher documents the horrendous human rights abuses that are occurring in the name of fertility control. And he reminds us that the real problems people face in the developing world – lack of adequate food, water, shelter, health care – are being overlooked by the population controllers.

For example, every 20 seconds a person dies of malaria, or about 1.5 million people per year. Yet a group such as USAID spends $10 million to target this deadly disease, while spending hundreds of millions on fertility reduction programs.

Developing countries are awash with condoms, abortifacients, sterilisation agents and antenatal products and programs, while the people there simply want clean running water, basic health care and proper sewage facilities. But Western governments think they know better, and are inundating these nations with their anti-life arsenals.

Our problem then is not too many people, but wrong policies being pushed onto the developing world by the developed world. We do not need to force people to not have children. What we need to do is offer them the basics in care and health that we expect for ourselves.

It is true that we do have a population problem. But it is a population implosion, not an explosion, which is the real problem. Abortion and fertility control programs are not only contributing to the problem, but those pushing such antenatalism are coercive utopians who are promoting the same eugenics line that Hitler and the Nazis did on a bigger and nastier scale.

In a few short decades the world’s population will peak at around 8 billion people, then a process of decline will set in. Today eighteen countries already fill more coffins than cradles each year, and that number is steadily rising. Yet the pro-aborts and population controllers seem oblivious to this fact.

In the light of all this, it is interesting to note that Norma McCorvey, the “Jane Roe” of the 1973 Roe v Wade abortion decision in the US is now both a Christian and an anti-abortion campaigner. She tells of one of the key reasons why she had such a radical change of heart from her earlier pro-abortion days.

She says she was in a park one day which was nearly deserted. No kids were playing on the swings or having fun on the slides. She wondered where all the children were. Then it hit her like a ton of bricks: “We have been aborting ourselves out of existence”.

Abortion is always wrong as it takes the life of an innocent human being who is unable to protect himself or herself. And it is certainly wrong when done for a bogus reason like the so-called population explosion. The world is facing a birth dearth, and abortion is part of the problem, not the solution.

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11 Responses to Abortion, Population and Eugenics

  • I have had many arguments regarding abortion, with a range of different people of a range of different ages and views. Not one single time have I ever heard overpopulation raised as a reason, and certainly not in Australia, which is where I understand you are from (though I could be wrong).

    I think this is a “straw man” argument.

    Matt Burgess

  • Great articles on abortion Bill.
    Just the other day my wife and I were playing with our grandchildren on a mild Saturday sunny afternoon in a wonderful playground in the middle of a country town and I was thinking, ‘where were all the other children?’ This town has many playgrounds empty of children and a virtually new hospital. But listen to this: this hospital does not have a maternity section. I know of a number of other major towns either losing their maternity wards or they close down for periods of time because it is not a priority.
    Stephen Lewin

  • Thanks Matt

    Sadly, all that your comment reveals is how uninformed you are about this, and that you are not very widely read. There are more pleas for abortion because of concerns about ‘overpopulation’ than I care to think about. And they can be heard both in Australia and the rest of the world.

    For example, all the major pro-abortion groups list overpopulation as a chief reason for pushing abortion. Have a look at their websites Matt. Start with Marie Stopes International, or the International Planned Parenthood Federation, in case you don’t know where to look.

    And consider the numerous pro-abortion websites. Thousands of quotes can be found there. I offer just one quote from a pro-abort site. This one comes under the heading, “Why I am pro-choice”:

    The planet is overpopulated. The population keeps growing. Overpopulation is our biggest threat to this planet and will be the issue of the 21st century. The number 1 environmental issue facing mankind is overpopulation. There’s no point in talking about global warming, endangered species, the rainforests, acid rain, or other environmental problems without dealing with overpopulation first. And it seems logical to me that in looking for solutions to global population problems, the place to start is to terminate unwanted pregnancies. I am therefore for making it possible for anyone who wants an abortion to be able to get one.

    And governments also use population concerns to justify abortion. In the US, for example, the Population Council endorsed abortion as a means of population control as far back as 1975. Or consider another example, just in the news: “ the ruling National Democratic Party [of Egypt] is currently considering certain controls for curbing overpopulation such as abortion pills and punishing any family that has more than two children.”

    So I afraid I need to call your bluff Matt. There is no straw man here, only someone who is not at all up on the issue.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Hi Matt,

    Allow me to chime in as well: Actually just a couple of weeks ago I found myself engaged in an argument with an individual who tried to use overpopulation as his ‘silver bullet’ argument. He started spurting out stats about how many extra people there if the pregnancies that were aborted went full term instead and there would be many more mouths to feed, people to find jobs for, houses to build, etc. And then he said something like, “This country will go bankrupt in no time!”

    I told him he needed to consider that people don’t just consume, they produce as well. And invent things, cure things, love things… and infrastructure is pointless without people to use it. Raising children is an investment in the future.

    Says a lot about last week’s decision.

    Mark Rabich

  • Well done, Bill.

    Even if we were to concede that overpopulation was a problem (which it isn’t and which I don’t), open access to abortion is hardly the answer. It’s too random, too unpredictable and cannot be controlled.

    That is, unless we were to consider a ‘one-child policy, as is the case in China. Here we find now a disturbing imbalance in the sexes to the point where Korean brides have been ‘imported’ regulalry to ‘meet the need’ and where couples routinely voluntarily abort a girl child and are often forced to abort a second or subsequent children.

    Even if one might be tempted to see this as some sort of ‘final solution’ – think again. Of necessity it requires a political system that is totalitarian, that controls the freedoms of people far beyond what we would accept under any circumstances.

    Keep up the good work!

    Paul Russell

  • Great article as usual, Bill.

    I can’t believe how many people are buying into the myth of overpopulation. This is yet another symptom of humanity’s falling away from God: we begin to believe that there is nothing special that separates humans from other animals, thus they are treated as commodities to be disposed of at the whim of those in power when it suits them, thus we get people like Hitler and Stalin. Amazing how many people are blind to their own self-destructive worldviews’ implications.
    James Swanson

  • This probably should go on the next post about Obama, but is relevant here. Check the following web-page re Obama’s views and policies on abortion. it must truly be stated that he is not only in favour of abortion, but infanticide:
    http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/viewarticle.php?selectedarticle=2008.10.14_George_Robert_Obama%27s%20Abortion%20Extremism_.xml

    He is a murderer, who would advocate, and sign into law policies for such wanton murder. And don’t let anyone euphemise it into “pro-choice” or something similar.
    I don’t know whether he ever stops to think whether he would be around now so as to propound such views if his own parents had held the same position. Probably not.

    Murray Adamthwaite

  • Hi Bill,

    I agree with you on a certain level, there should not be anything forcing people to abort or to not have children (such as China’s one child policy).

    However, pro-choice stance is exactly about that, allowing a pregnant woman to make an informed choice about whether or not she wants to raise a child in difficult circumstances. I am refering here to extreme circumstances such as the child being conceived because of rape, by a mother who has drug and/ or alcohol problems, or where there is a medical risk to the mother in carrying the child to term. In these cases there are issues of trauma to mother and child.

    Allowing the mother to abort the pregnancy in these cases would lower the number of children being produced, yes. Overpopulation is a correlation, that should not, and would not, factor into a rational mother’s decision not to have a child.

    The issue of contraception is a completely different topic, and should not be tied into the issue of abortion. Use of condoms within high HIV/AIDS areas (ie. developing countries) is there to control the spread of the virus, not for any evil eugenics agenda.

    Martine Hatfield (Brisbane).

  • Thanks Martine
    I deal with rape and hard cases here: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2008/08/19/abortion-and-hard-cases/
    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • On abortion after being raped….I’ve read quite a number of books with testimonies by women who chose this path. They say as time goes by, the painful memory of the rape generally lessens, but the pain women go through because they chose to kill their baby is horrific. Abortion is not an eraser that rubs out rape. You now have two victims, one living, one dead. He raped, but she murdered and that’s a terrible choice for any mother to live with.

    On deaths through malaria….there needs to be a lot more education regarding the use of drugs in its treatment. Having lived in Zambia and having had malaria along with my whole family, I know first hand that some of the medication needs to be taken precisely on the hour. Unfortunately some of the Africans don’t know that and give medication say, whenever in the morning and whenever in the evening. One of the African mums I met shared that a certain medication was not working on her little girl and she was about to be put on quinine as a last resort to save her life. It only took a little bit of instruction to get the medication to ‘work’. I do wonder how many people have died from malaria simply because weren’t informed of these basic instructions.

    Annette Nestor, Perth

  • Adults would rise up and complain about being targeted for population reduction. I haven’t yet seen bullies who attack people stronger than they or even their own size. Hunger and poverty are sin problems, eg greed and selfishness, not caused by resource shortages.
    Many blessings
    Ursula Bennett

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