Friday, November 15, 2013

Spirit and Life: Population Control and the Elephant in the Room

Foremost in our prayers are our friends in the Philippines, for their healing, strength and consolation, for their material needs to be met, and for the souls of those lost. If you didn't see my email with updates from Dr. Ligaya Acosta earlier this week on the devastation, you can read it here. As this email goes out I am with several hundred pro-life leaders in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia for HLI's 19th ASPAC conference. We will tell you more about the events here next week, and we are deeply grateful for your prayers as well.

I wanted to bring your attention this week to an article on HLI's Truth and Charity Forum from our own Joseph Meaney, who points out the lack of conversation about so-called "progress" made in reducing fertility rates, and the looming worldwide demographic bomb.   

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Fr Boquet signature
Father Shenan J. Boquet
President, Human Life International

Population Control and the Elephant in the Room

by Joseph Meaney

Joseph Meaney
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 of increases 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.

Reports From the Mission Field

HLI in Asia and Oceania

The 19th Asia-Pacific Congress on Faith, Life and Family takes place Novemer 14-16, 2013 in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. The Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu is joining Human Life International in sponsoring this year's ASPAC. Read More...

Ocean to Ocean Pilgrimage

by Fr. Peter West

Canon Jean Marie Morreau is the Rector of St. Anthony of Padua Oratory in West Orange, NJ and a member of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, a Society of Apostolic Life of Pontifical Right whose goal is the honor of God and the sanctification of priests in the service of the Church and souls. The Institute celebrates the "Latin Mass" in its traditional form with the blessing of the Church. The "Latin Mass" is more properly called The Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. Read More...