Something Wicked This Way Comes…Baby 7 Billion before the end of 2011! If you prefer your ghost stories really scary, then you no doubt look forward to each new release from international authors like the United Nations Population Fund (UNPFA). This week, the United Nations tagged October 31 as “The Day of Seven Billion.”
Per their own website, the UNFPA is an international development agency that promotes the right of every woman, man and child to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity. UNFPA supports countries in using population data for policies and programs to reduce poverty and to ensure that every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, every young person is free of HIV, and every girl and woman is treated with dignity and respect…because everyone counts.
Prior to this most recent volume in the U.N.’s ever-increasing “Monster of World Population Growth” series, was the story about an entire generation of unfortunate single men in a far away land, some of whom rely on human trafficking of women from rural areas to find a bride, because of the unfortunate but absolutely necessary state-sanctioned killing of millions of baby girls for the past 25 years…all in the name of defeating this out-of-control evil monster called “World Population Growth.”
Another “good vs. evil” tale the popular U.N. series exposes us to is the battle in third-world countries to replace life-saving anti-malaria drugs and chemicals used to purify water with items such as condoms and contraceptive/abortifacient drugs like Norplant and Depo Provera. In the mind of population alarmists, the life-saving items take up valuable shelf space in clinics, fail miserably at furthering the U.N .’s battle against overpopulation, and at only a few cents each do not make any real money for Western organizations like Planned Parenthood.
For those who would like an even more engaging horror story on the topic of overpopulation, it simply does not get any better than the current state of the Catholic Church in Europe. Most people who have read anything at all on this subject are aware of the significant decline in the Church’s influence in modern-day Europe. Furthermore, if you have spent any time studying the topic of abortion, you understand the single most significant factor directly resulting in most abortions is the separation of the marital act from procreation and from marriage itself. Nowhere is this more obvious than in Europe, which has been in the grip of the anti-life mentality since just after World War.
A total fertility rate (TFR) of around 2.1 live births per woman is considered to be the replacement level; in other words, the average number of live births per woman required to keep the population size constant. The average TFR rates of the nations of Europe have dropped disastrously from 2.58 children per woman in 1965 to an incredible 1.56 in 2005, a decline of 40% in 40 years.
Every one of Europe’s 47 nations is currently under replacement fertility levels. Nine European nations have remained continuously below replacement level since 1965. Thirty-four of the fifty lowest TFRs in the world belong to European countries. Four nations — Belarus, Ukraine, Poland and Bosnia/Herzegovina — have sunk below one child per family. There are currently 29 countries in the world whose population is actually declining and 25 of these are in Europe! Some European countries are trying to reverse their plunging birthrates, but with little success. History shows us that once the people of a nation are conditioned to believe they should live for themselves and that children are a burden, it is virtually impossible to persuade them otherwise.
So what can one person possibly do? The answer is surprisingly simple.
First, take a deep breath and a few minutes to consider the following basic facts:
7 billion people standing two feet apart, side-to-side and front-to-back, would all fit into a space the size of the Kansas City metropolitan area. Granted, that is not a reasonable expectation but it sure puts into perspective what 7 billion people looks like.
Here is a more realistic consideration. If 7 billion people were all placed in the state of Texas and there were no other people anywhere in the world, that would be a population density of 26,120 people per square mile in Texas. The city of Manilla, Phillipines has a population density of 111, 576 people per square mile and today there are over 50 cities in the world with a population density of over 40,000 people per square mile with the rest of the people spread out across the globe. We are simply not running out of room and we are not running out of natural resources.
Next, simply embrace over 2000 years of your Catholic Church’s teaching—the same Church that gave Western civilization art, architecture, education and the university models, law, science, and economics. Embrace the fundamental truth that every human life is a gift from God and the only faithful solution is to start changing hearts and minds, one at a time. This may take as long to do as the population controllers took to destroy the European’s love of children but luckily, there is hope.
The truth about the overpopulation myth is being more widely reported as more and more healthcare organizations realize that population control efforts have crowded out many of the resources needed for disease prevention and treatment. Human rights organizations have seen the tragic abuses by governments eager to meet their population reduction quotas, and many Western organizations now understand the real global effects of decreased birthrates.
Finally, as we embrace hope, let us put down the secular stories and start anew with the knowledge that the victory has already been won; let us instead share the good news of Spe Salvi, the encyclical letter by Pope Benedict XVI promulgated on November 30, 2007 about the theological virtue of hope. The title comes from St. Paul’s letter to the Romans, “SPE SALVI facti sumus”—in hope we were saved. Rom 8:24.
Bill Francis is the Director of the Respect Life Office for the Diocese of Kansas City – St. Joseph.