Abortion and the Birth Rate
By Jim Penman
October 25, 2015
Claims that Planned Parenthood clinics have sold the organs and tissues of unborn children have caused widespread revulsion, and re-opened the debate about abortion. This debate is usually phrased as ‘pro-life’ versus ‘pro-choice’, which is an question of ethics. But I believe behind this lies a question of psychology: how much do we love and want children?
The evidence is that in recent times, we want them less and less. One hundred and fifty years ago, when abortion was a despised and criminal act, populations were growing fast. Today, with abortion legal and supported by government, the birth-rate has dropped below replacement level in every developed country except Israel. But the fall in birth-rate started more than a century ago, long before the legalization of abortion or even the invention of the Pill. The rise of abortion is best seen as a result of the fact that we do not value children as much as we used to.
As a society we lean towards economic explanations for behaviour, and in some ways this makes sense. People are guided by money in their choice of job. Thus, while tax accountant or actuary might not be most people’s first career choice, society manages to find enough of them to fill its needs. Women also tend to be drawn to men with money, which is why Cinderella wanted to marry the prince rather than the local dustman.