Would People Be Pro-Abortion if They Knew About Population Collapse?
The false idea that the earth is overpopulated tried to reframe abortion as virtuous. Meanwhile, nations worldwide are experiencing population collapse.
“There are too many people on the planet” is a common refrain used to justify abortion. In this view, abortion is a moral good, because less people means less resources used, and a happier planet.
But this view of abortion rests on a false narrative. Nations around the world are actually in danger of population collapse — not overpopulation.
Propagators of the “too many people on the planet” belief are misinformed about the reality of population trajectories today. In most nations, birth rates are at below replacement levels. Populations are collapsing, not growing out of control.
The “overpopulation” meme serves to reframe abortion as virtuous while fundamentally weakening civilizations by contributing to population collapse.
Birth Rates Around the World At Historic Lows
Nations around the world, include the U.S., are experiencing historically low birth rates.
In the U.S., we are now below replacement levels — more people die every day than are being born. In 2007, the U.S. fertility rate was 2.1 children born per woman. By 2016, it dropped to just 1.8.
It’s the same situation in Europe and many Asian countries, with nations around the world facing below-replacement fertility rates and aging populations. Average ages are increasing in many nations, and there are not enough children being born to replace the old.
By the end of the century (2100), Italy is expected to see its population plummet from 61 million to 28 million people. A total of 23 countries, including Spain, Portugal, Thailand and South Korea, are expected to see their population more than halve.
Among Elites, Only A Few Sound the Alarm
We don’t hear about below-replacement fertility at all from our politicians — instead, we hear an endless drumbeat about abortion being a woman’s right. Elon Musk and Jordan Peterson have been pretty much the only high-profile people to speak to this reality and dire issue.
"Most people in the world are operating under the false impression that we've got too many people. This is not true,” Musk said in an interview. “Earth could maintain a population many times the current level. And the birth rate has been dropping like crazy. We have these ridiculous population estimates from the UN that need to be updated because they just don’t make any sense.”
“Take Japan for example,” he continued. “I’m going off memory here. I think the population is roughly 110 million. But last year, if you take the number of children born times the life expectancy, which is 85 years — it’s a very impressive life expectancy — then Japan would have, I think around 68 million people, roughly half of the current population.”
Why Less People is a Bad Thing
As populations decline, there simply will not be enough people around to maintain civilization as we know it.
Imagine not being able to receive hospital care, having a shortage of firefighters in your town, or not having enough people to pave the roads. Imagine severe labor shortages and plummeting standards of living as there will not be enough people around to maintain infrastructure or create new products. Things like electricity could become luxury goods; entire towns and cities could become ghost towns.
Travel will become less attractive and available as towns and cities shrink and the services and goods they are able to offer to tourists disappear. Economies depend on young people traveling, consuming products, and using services. Older people, however, are no longer in the same consumption stage and typically only purchase products and goods they need to survive. Younger people spend more and spend more often as they move about the world more quickly, travel, and try new foods and technologies.
Crucially, with an inverted population pyramid in which there are more old than young people, there will not be enough people to care for the elderly.
A healthy population pyramid looks like a triangle. It has more young people than old people. In the United States and nations around the world, however, this is inverting — and as Musk said, it’s not sustainable.
If people knew that overpopulation is actually not an issue, perhaps they would not be so staunchly in favor of abortion.
Population Collapse is Going Ignored
Population collapse and below replacement fertility is vastly ignored by mainstream media and politicians, representing a gross bias by omission. The only media outlets I have seen cover this issue are Foreign Policy, BBC, Foreign Policy News, Deseret News, and MSN.
Failing to shed light on this issue fuels the American cultural attitude that smaller families are better because children suck up resources, make your life worse, limit your freedom, and prevent you from career achievement. Consumerist materialism is clearly correlated with low birth rates. This is ironic, because once the world population declines, we won't get to enjoy as much materialism as we once had, as standards of living will decline with less people around to generate economic growth.
If we don’t populate the earth with new people, entire cities and ways of life will radically change or totally die out. Our economies need people in order for us to sustain our standard of living and to continue the vast civilizations we have created.
There are, of course, major spiritual reasons for having children that are underlooked in the abortion debate. Children shape you to become a better person, encourage you in selflessness, and unlock a transcendent love that mirrors the divine. Abortion, meanwhile, causes serious spiritual and psychological consequences. Both men and women report depression, anxiety, nightmares, and suicidal ideation after having or participating in one. But putting aside all the spiritual reasons that abortion is a moral calamity and looking only at the materialist angle, it’s simply not true that abortion saves the earth from overpopulation. In fact, we’re in danger of the exact opposite scenario.
Perhaps if Americans knew about our impending population collapse and could envision the tragedy of a world without children, they would not point to the false “overpopulation” meme to defend abortion.