The Evils of Population Control

The horrific catastrophe of our day known as “Population Control” was started in 1798 by an Anglican clergyman named Thomas Malthus. After listening to Benjamin Franklin proudly declare that the American colonies were growing at a rate of 3% a year, Malthus, considering himself somewhat of a mathematician, concluded that by 1890, there would not be enough room on the earth for any more people, for he reasoned that food supplies were growing arithmetically, and the population was growing geometrically. Also, because of the Industrial Revolution, sanitation was becoming more widespread, much to the regret of Malthus, who said:

All children born, beyond what would be required to keep up the population to a desired level, must necessarily perish, unless room be made for them by the deaths of grown persons. . . Therefore … we should facilitate…the operations of nature in producing this mortality; and if we dread the too frequent visitation of the horrid form of famine, we should sedulously encourage the other forms of destruction, which we compel nature to use. Instead of recommending cleanliness to the poor, we should encourage contrary habits. In our towns we should make the streets narrower, crowd more people into the houses, and court the return of the plague. In the country, we should build our villages near stagnant pools, and particularly encourage settlements in all marshy and unwholesome situations. But above all, we should reprobate [i.e., reject] specific remedies for ravaging diseases; and restrain those benevolent, but much mistaken men, who have thought they were doing a service to mankind by projecting schemes for the total extirpation of particular disorders. 1

This section of his tract called An Essay on the Principle of Population was not very popular to the lower and middle classes in his homeland of England, but it did meet the approval of the upper class, who agreed that the poor were becoming too numerous. But that was as far as Malthus taught, for he was against both abortion and contraception. The next major figure advocating population control, after the theories of Darwin had taken root, was Margaret Sanger, the infamous founder of Planned Parenthood. She was ready to use all measures necessary to promote her idea of “the elimination of the unfit.”1 Although Malthus was the founder of the idea of birth control, it was Margaret Sanger who first introduced the need for chemical means of controlling the birth-rate of the world. Her idea was to improve the human race, but decrease their numbers, for she said, “We cannot improve the race until we first cut down production of its least desirable members.”‘ This is an incredible statement, and quite the opposite of God’s command to Moses on Mount Sinai, saying, “Thou shalt not kill.”

Population control is the practice of limiting population increase, usually by reducing the birth rate. 2 This practice of reducing the birth rate is carried out through the methods of sterilization, contraception, and abortion, which either kill the baby or prevent the baby from being conceived. To us Catholics, the fact that killing the unborn is permissible seems staggering, but population control is sponsored by two major world powers; namely, the United Nations, and the Chinese Government. The United Nations endorses it through monetary support, but China endorses it through force. The United Nations, in 2000, introduced a bill that would donate a total of $60 million towards the United Nations Population Fund over the next two years; and they also decided to collaborate with China’s one-child-per-family policy in 1998. Although this may not seem important, it is dangerous, since the United Nations is such a world power. 3The most infamous population-control-society is the country of China. Not only does it endorse population control, but it also propagates it through force. Because they thought that they had an over-populated country, China introduced the one-child-perfamily policy in 1979. Their policy is that after having one child, the mother will be forced to have an abortion if she conceives a child again. This policy is carried out through “forced abortion, forced sterilization, and forced insertion of IUDs.” 4

The Washington Post wrote that from 1979 to 1984, China recorded 53 million abortions; as many people as there are in all of France! Also during this period, one-third of all the couples in China were sterilized, according to the Washington Post, for “family-planning workers” prefer this process over abortion. Also recorded by the Washington Post is an incident occurring in northern China, near Mongolia. In November 1983, the nearby county records were checked for any woman over the age of 45 having two or more children. The “guilty” women were announced over a loudspeaker and were told to report for surgery. If they failed to comply, they would lose half of their land, be fined $200, and be fined ten dollars for every day they failed to report. Two months later the surgical team left, having sterilized 16,000 people!`Throughout all this, China insists that there is no force involved. But opposing testimony was given, when “in 1998, Rep. Christopher Smith, Chairman of the Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights, held Congressional hearings on forced abortion and sterilization in China.”4

One witness in this hearing, Mrs. Gao, gave a detailed account, for she had been the administrator of a planned birth office in China. She gave one account in which she, along with twelve cadres (trained personnel) went into a hospital and found two women giving birth to their second child. She then dismantled their homes, and detained their mothers until the two women gave themselves in to the planned birth office. Half a month later the women came, and their mothers were released, but the two women were sterilized and fined. One very sad account, deserving a word for word account, proceeded as follows: “Once I found a woman who was nine months pregnant, but did not have a birth-allowed certificate.According to the policy, she was forced to undergo an induced abortion. In the operating room, I saw the child’s lips were moving and how its arms and legs were also moving.” The doctor then killed it! “Afterwards the husband was holding his wife and crying loudly and saying, ‘What kind of man am I? What kind of husband am I? I can’t even protect my wife and child. Do you have any sort of humanity?'” Luckily for her soul, Mrs. Gao repented, saying “I want to repent and say sincerely that I’m very sorry, sincerely sorry. I want to be a real human being.”4This, according to the Chinese government, is not a use of coercion, as contradictory to reason as that may be. Another form of coercion, which the Chinese government denies as being coercion, is the use of targets, or “quotas.” The quotas are imposed at the local level, often using force, to ensure that national quotas are met. Also incentives, such as bribes, and disincentives, such as fines, are used in China. It is recorded that in one China village a hot-water heater was put in the middle of the village. Those who cooperated with the government’s family plan were rewarded with hot water. This is another type of disincentive, and this is what the Chinese are forced to undergo throughout the entire country. 4

When, in 2000, the Bush administration withdrew their funding from the United Nations Population Fund, the UN decided to push through legislation a bill allocating $25 million towards population control. The UN stated that the United States “has deprived 870,000 women in developing countries of modern contraception, leading to half a million unintended pregnancies, 200,000 abortions and “thousands of maternal and child deaths.” 3

From this quote, it seems as if the United Nations is trying to prevent the deaths of mothers and babies. But if we take a closer look at what the UN is doing in these developing countries, namely, forcing contraception and abortion on poor women, we will find that there is a much better and safer way of saving lives. The real problem is not the birth rate, but the conditions in which the births are occurring. Because of the conditions in these third-world countries, especially Africa, diseases are rampant and medical aid is sometimes out of reach; for only 15% of all births are attended by skilled personnel in nine African countries. Therefore the best remedy would be improving the conditions in which these women live. Consider this example: The UN says that $25 million dollars will prevent 500,000 pregnancies, thereby reducing maternal mortality rates. If this money is used in Africa, where there are about 1,030 maternal deaths per 100,000 births (the highest maternal death rate in the world), then the average cost per life saved is a little under $5000. A more cost effective way of saving mothers and babies would be to immunize the mothers with tetanus shots, which would save forty times the number of babies than if the $25 million had been used on contraceptives. This saves about 198,400 babies! 3

What the developing countries also need is economic help from the leading countries of the world. Over the past thirty years, the United States, Japan, Canada, Sweden, and Denmark have contributed over $100 billion to population control! Instead of population control, this money could have been used in third world countries for building roads, hospitals, grain storage facilities, electricity, running water, and schools for over 50,000 towns and villages containing 25 million people.3 This is just one consequence of the beliefs taught by the Anglican clergyman, Thomas Malthus.The practice of population control as practiced by modern man is clearly condemned by the Church most recently in the encyclical of Pope Paul VI, Humanae Vitae. He states that the Church, through doctrine and teachings, holds that “each and every marriage act must remain open to the transmission of life.”‘ Each partner must return each others’ conjugal fidelity and to oppose this reciprocal act of love is to go against the natural law of man and against God’s will. This includes the primary purpose of marriage, procreation. Pope Paul VI said that the interruption of the generative process is “absolutely excluded as a licit means of regulating birth.” Also excluded are the immoral practices of sterilization and all other forms of artificial birth control. Pope Paul VI says here, that although it is tolerable to accept a lesser evil to avoid a greater evil or to promote a greater good, “it is not licit, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil so that good may follow therefrom.” He proceeds to say that the consequences of artificial birth control are a lowering of morality and loss of respect for woman, for if the purpose of marriage is not to procreate, man will use marriage as a selfish means of pleasure. Also population control would be a dangerous thing to put in the hands of the government, for if they have no care for the lives and well being of the community, who is to stop them from enacting immoral laws? This is shown through the example of China given above.As shown here, population control is a rampant evil, used as an immoral answer to real problems. Instead of killing human beings, morally correct methods must be used to save the lives of both women and children who are in danger of death from those advocating population control. This can be reached by both common sense and the study of the moral teachings of the Catholic Church.

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