Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times:
The Birth Control Solution
November 2, 2011
What if there were a solution to many of the global problems that confront us, from climate change to poverty to civil wars? There is, but it is starved of resources. It’s called family planning, and it has been a victim of America’s religious wars.Family planning has led directly to the collapse of European population, and in many countries (including China and India) it has led to an historic demicide of girls and of the young. Such population implosion has never been seen before except in war or plague or famine.
Now we can add "population control" to the scourges of mankind.
Partly for that reason, the world’s population just raced past the seven billion mark this week, at least according to the fuzzy calculations of United Nations demographers. It took humans hundreds of thousands of years, until the year 1804, to reach the first billion. It took another 123 years to reach two billion, in 1927. Since then, we’ve been passing these milestones like billboards along a highway. The latest billion took just a dozen years.
In 1999, the United Nations’ best projection was that the world wouldn’t pass seven billion until 2013, but we reached it two years early. Likewise, in 1999, the U.N. estimated that the world population in 2050 would be 8.9 billion, but now it projects 9.3 billion.And with every generation humanity is better fed and housed and clothed. After 200 years of Malthusian pseudoscience, when are overpopulation morons going to admit they're wrong?
People are, by far, the most important resource.
What’s the impact of overpopulation? One is that youth bulges in rapidly growing countries like Afghanistan and Yemen makes them more prone to conflict and terrorism.Abundance of young people has many consequences, good and bad. I think the good (innovation, creativity, health, independence, energy, resourcefulness, enrichment of family ties, etc) outweighs the bad. Abundance of old people has consequences too (stagnation, poor health, dependence, dissolution of family ties, etc). Healthy civilizations have a balance of youth and age. Contraception has profoundly altered that balance.
Does abundance of young people inevitably lead to "conflict and terrorism"? How much of the conflict and terrorism in Afghanistan and Yemen has to do with Islam rather than the lack of condoms? Maybe Israel should ignore the Iranian nuclear program and drop condoms on Tehran. "Operation Trojan".
Question for Nick: Mormons have as many kids as Yemenis. How much "crime and terrorism" is there in Salt Lake City?
The irony of enforcing population control to reduce conflict is that the one demographic factor that clearly increases conflict is an excess of males. Undomesticated men fight, and are often enlisted in armies to channel their energies (e.g. the Roman legions in male-excess Rome). Thanks to coercive population control policies and the predictable resulting femicide of baby girls, Asia now has 100 million more men than women. Oops.
Booming populations also contribute to global poverty and make it impossible to protect virgin forests or fend off climate change. Some studies have suggested that a simple way to reduce carbon emissions in the year 2100 is to curb population growth today.Nice way to put it. Human beings are pollutants. Like soot.
Moreover, we’ve seen that family planning works. Women in India average 2.6 children, down from 6 in 1950. As recently as 1965, Mexican women averaged more than seven children, but that has now dropped to 2.2.Look how much less violent Mexico has become.
In nations that have used coercion to lower birth rates (e.g. China and India), there is a growing excess of men-- the 100 million missing women of Asia. When families in traditional male-favoring societies are prohibited from naturally building their families, female-selective abortion and female infanticide become endemic. The killing of 100 million baby girls in Asia over the past half-century is probably the largest femicide in human history.
Population control proponents bear a very direct personal responsibility for this atrocity. Many population control advocates have explicitly endorsed totalitarian methods, and even those who don't (e.g. Kristof) bear responsibility for disseminating the Malthusian ideology that serves as the justification for totalitarianism and femicide. It is quite analogous to the responsibility that anti-semites in pre-WWII Germany bear for the Nazi atrocities, even if the anti-semites didn't personally endorse violence. Population control advocates maintain an ideological environment in which crimes against humanity-- and the One Child Policy in China is a crime against humanity-- acquire an intellectual and moral imprimatur.
But some countries have escaped this demographic revolution. Women in Afghanistan, Chad, Congo, Somalia, East Timor and Uganda all have six or more children each, the U.N. says. In rural Africa, I’ve come across women who have never heard of birth control. According to estimates from the Guttmacher Institute, a respected research group, 215 million women want to avoid getting pregnant but have no access to contraception.
What’s needed isn’t just birth-control pills or IUDs. It’s also girls’ education and women’s rights — starting with an end to child marriages — for educated women mostly have fewer children.
“In times past, the biggest barrier to reducing birth rates has been a lack of access to contraceptives,” the Population Institute notes in a new report. “Today, the biggest barrier is gender inequality.”The 100 million missing women in Asia is industrial-scale gender inequality. It is the direct consequence of population control. Any comments, Population Institute?
The seven billion population milestone is also a reminder that we need more research for better contraceptives. One breakthrough is an inexpensive vaginal ring that releases hormones, lasts a year and should not require a doctor. Developed by the Population Council, it has completed Phase 3 trials and seems highly effective. It could even contain medication to reduce the risk of an infection with the AIDS virus.Better
And there's no conflict of interest here, of course. Population Council: "Overpopulation is a crisis. All women on earth must have our product. Order now while supplies last"
Hmmm... where's that disclosure form...? I guess Kristof-- an investigative journalist (!)-- forgot to ask.
Traditionally, support for birth control was bipartisan. The Roman Catholic hierarchy was opposed, but Republican presidents like Richard Nixon and George H.W. Bush provided strong support. Then family planning became tarnished by overzealous and coercive programs in China and India, and contraception became entangled in America’s abortion wars. Many well-meaning religious conservatives turned against it, and funding lagged. The result was, paradoxically, more abortions. When contraception is unavailable, the likely consequence is not less sex, but more pregnancy.Totalitarian population control policies that kill hundreds of millions of children, inspire the selective murder of a hundred million girls, and deny hundreds of millions of families their most basic rights of self-determination aren't merely "overzealous and coercive programs". They are crimes against humanity, on a scale greater than that of the Holocaust.
Contraception already prevents 112 million abortions a year, by U.N. estimates. The United Nations Population Fund is a bête noire for conservatives, but its promotion of contraception means that it may have reduced abortions more than any organization in the world.The U.N. Population Fund has facilitated hundreds of millions of coerced abortions and played a central role in the murder of a hundred million girls. Now it wants us to look at the bright side of its history.
Its promotion of contraception is merely another affront to human dignity.
Republicans are seeking to cut more money from global family planning — which, in poor countries, would mean more abortions and more women dying in childbirth. Conservatives have also sought to slash Title X Family Planning programs within the United States. The Guttmacher Institute estimates that in a year these domestic programs avert 973,000 unintended pregnancies, of which 406,000 would end in abortions.That's right. People never conceived can't be aborted. The concept that anti-human ideologies such as contraception foster a culture of death-- of which abortion is merely the most violent manifestation-- seems to not to have occurred to Kristof.
It undoubtedly has occurred to the Guttmacher Institute, which is an affiliate of Planned Parenthood. The history of contraception and abortion can be stated succinctly: more contraception correlates with more abortion. The reason is obvious: contraceptive culture is promiscuous and inculcates a disrespect for the sanctity of life. Abortion is the last full measure of that disrespect.
Contraception culture is abortion culture. This is news to Nick Kristof. It's not news to the abortion industry. Planned Parenthood makes
Guttmacher calculates that these family-planning centers in the United States actually save taxpayers roughly $3.4 billion annually that would otherwise be spent on pregnancies and babies.Think of all the money we're saving by not spending it on birthdays, pretty dresses for the first day of kindergarten, Little League uniforms, high school proms, wedding days. Human life is so frivolously expensive. Isn't the money better stuffed in Planned Parenthood's pockets?
Finally, a ray of hope: A group of evangelical Christians, led by Richard Cizik of The New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good, is drafting a broad statement of support for family planning. It emphasizes that family planning reduces abortion and lives lost in childbirth.
“Family planning is morally laudable in Christian terms because of its contribution to family well-being, women’s health, and the prevention of abortion,” the draft says.No. Contraception is a deep betrayal of the most fundamental Christian understanding of men and women, sexuality, and love. That a Christian organization would endorse such scandal makes me sick.
Amen! Contraceptives no more cause sex than umbrellas cause rain.Really? The promise of the early proponents of contraception was that contraceptive culture would radically diminish all manner of sexual pathology-- abortion, unwanted children, teenage pregnancy, etc. Compare graphs of contraceptive use and sexual pathology over the past half-century. They are more or less superimposable. How's that contraceptive "ray of hope" worked out since the pill became available in 1960, Nick?
So as we greet the seven-billionth human, let’s try to delay the arrival of the eight billionth. We should all be able to agree on voluntary family planning as a cost-effective strategy to reduce poverty, conflict and environmental damage. If you think family planning is expensive, you haven’t priced babies.Contraception is to love as bulimia is to nourishment. The contraceptive dissociation between love and procreation is, along with the degradation of sacramental marriage, perhaps the most destructive thing done to humanity in our time.