“Committing national suicide”
Chemist who helped invent ‘the pill’ says Europe facing demographic catastrophe from widespread contraceptive use
Vienna, Jan. 11, 2009 / (CNA) -- The chemist who made a key discovery leading to the invention of the birth control pill has written a commentary calling demographic decline in Europe a “horror scenario” and a “catastrophe” brought on in part by the pill’s invention.
Mr. Carl Djerassi, now 85 years old, was one of three researchers whose formulation of the synthetic progestagen Norethisterone marked a key step in the creation of the first oral contraceptive pill, the Guardian reports.
In a personal commentary in the Austrian newspaper Der Standard, Djerassi said his invention is partly to blame for demographic imbalance in Europe. On the continent, he argued, there is now “no connection at all between sexuality and reproduction.”
“This divide in Catholic Austria, a country which has on average 1.4 children per family, is now complete,” he wrote.
Djerassi described families who had decided against reproduction as “wanting to enjoy their schnitzels while leaving the rest of the world to get on with it.”
The fall in the birth rate, he claimed, was an “epidemic” far worse but less highlighted than obesity. In his view, young Austrians who fail to procreate are committing national suicide.
If it is not possible to reverse the demographic decline, an “intelligent immigration policy” will be necessary, Djerassi said.
According to the Guardian, the Archbishop of Vienna, Cardinal Christoph Schonborn, told Austrian TV that Pope Paul VI had predicted the pill would cause a dramatic fall in the birth rate.
“Somebody above suspicion like Carl Djerassi... is saying that each family has to produce three children to maintain population levels, but we’re far away from that,” the cardinal said.