Abortion and the Overpopulation Myth

Rob Schwarzwalder | Family Research Council | Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Abortion and the Overpopulation Myth

A couple of years ago, I wrote that those who contend for a less-populated world due to food shortages are wrong.  The data indicate that there are, and will remain, ample food resources for an ever-growing human population for as far as realistically we can project.


Instead, the issues involve the cessation of the use of food as a political instrument by violent governments, dramatic improvements in the distribution of food resources, wise land use, increased crop yields (planned and implemented such that soil depletion is accounted for), continued hybridization of grains, prudent genetic modification of some plants, reducing the quantity of wasted food and similar things.  Justice, infrastructure, culture, care of creation and agricultural science are the integrating factors.


These efforts are complex, integrated and difficult.  No one should be blithe about the ability of the world to produce adequate supplies of nutritious food.  Yet reasonably, the data indicate that our ability to provide life-sustaining food for projected populations for decades to come is only growing.  Advances in agriculture are such that this assertion is held widely in the academic and scientific communities that follow these issues.


Yet in our time, the myth of overpopulation retains its hold on the international public and governmental imaginations.  In many other developing nations, from India to Peru, millions of unborn children have been aborted in the name of population control.  For example, “China, which boasts of preventing 400 million births since instituting (its) coercive population control policy in 1979, continues to forcibly sterilize women who have had one child (or in rare cases, two), and to abort any children beyond the government-prescribed limit, in defiance of international human rights norms.”


Coercive abortion and sterilization are profound moral wrongs.  Their evil is only magnified by the specious character of their supposed justification (the myth of overpopulation).  


In places like the United State, where abortion-on-demand is rampant and almost always elective, FRC’s Marriage and Religion Research Institute has shown that the resultant demographic crisis means substantially less economic growth for decades to come.  As David Brooks has written in the New York Times, “For decades, people took dynamism and economic growth for granted and saw population growth as a problem. Now we’ve gone to the other extreme, and it’s clear that young people are the scarce resource. In the 21st century, the U.S. could be the slowly aging leader of a rapidly aging world.”


Additionally, an ageing population globally has haunting implications for economic growth and human sustainability.  Researchers at the University of Madrid (Spain) are predicting that using “a model based on global population data spanning the years from 1900 to 2010 … the opposite of what Doomsday Prophets of the 1960s and beyond insisted would happen - the number of people on Earth will stabilize around the middle of the century and perhaps even start to decline.”  They note that “As recently as 1992 it was predicted that there would be 7.17 billion people on Earth by 2010 instead of the actual 6.8 billion. In fact, the fertility rate has fallen by more than 40 percent since 1950.”


What to do?  The most obvious solution: Encourage married couples, here and everywhere, to have at least three children.  People are the greatest of all resources, one that merits not only protection but replenishment.  Increases in the number of people and agriculture science, abetted by political liberty and stability, only will enhance economic growth and adequate food supplies.


We have enough food to feed everyone sufficiently and, barring something both catastrophic and unforeseen, will continue to have ample food supplies for the entire global population.  As noted previously, political institutions, distribution capacities, land use, pollution, GMO foods and so forth demand continuous evaluation and improvement.  


However, one thing is clear: Advocates of mandatory or incentivized abortion and sterilization, access to abortion-on-demand and virtually indiscriminate distribution of oral contraceptives are basing their advocacy not on science-based concerns with over-population but fear-driven ideology and, in many cases, profit.


Unborn children, those in their infancy and toddler-hood and their mothers deserve protection, not victimization.  These are grim but urgent matters.  To learn what you can do, here are some resources to inform and equip you as, prayerfully, you consider how you might help defend life around the world in 2015:


“What is U.S. Money Actually Funding at the U.N. and Overseas?” – op-ed by Arina Grossu, Family Research Council


The Poverty of Nations: A Sustainable Solution” – FRC lecture by Dr. Wayne Grudem 


Abortion Groups Push Obama to Overturn Law Banning U.S. Funding of Foreign Abortions” – op-ed by Austin Ruse, Catholic Family Association


Abortion: U.S. Taxpayers Fund It Here and Abroad” – op-ed by Sarah Torre, The Heritage Foundation



Rob Schwarzwalder is the Senior Vice-President of the Family Research Council.


Publication date: January 6, 2015