November 22nd 2008

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Articles from this issue:

EDITORIAL: How Barack Obama won

CANBERRA OBSERVED: How long will Malcolm Turnbull last?

NATIONAL SECURITY: Executed Bali bombers hailed as martyrs

HUMAN RIGHTS: Beijing's butcher is granted Australian visa

ENVIRONMENT: Arctic melting: don't spoil a good story with the facts

FINANCIAL MARKETS: Regulatory proposals being put to Obama

OPINION: The West's long-running economic malaise

HEALTH CARE: Australian medicine's middle way

AUSTRALIAN POLITICS: A successful conservative party ready to rebuild

RULE OF LAW: The perils of a politicised judiciary

NATIONAL AFFAIRS: Assessing the Australian Christian Lobby

POPULATION: The economic consequences of abortion

MEDIA: The facts behind the 1949 coal strike

AS THE WORLD TURNS: Toxic melamine in the food chain in China / African-Americans from victimhood to responsibility

Abandoning the old and sick (letter)

Institutional corruption in our schools (letter)

Absurd expectations about Obama (letter)

BOOKS: THE FAMILY: Power, Politics and Fundamentalism's Shadow Elite, by Jeff Sharlet

Books promotion page

The economic consequences of abortion

by Steve Mosher and Colin Mason

News Weekly, November 22, 2008
Abortion is an unspeakable crime, but it is also an economic disaster. One US analyst recently conservatively estimated that it has cost the American economy an incredible US$35 trillion dollars. Some analysts go further. They say it has led to America's current downturn. Steve Mosher and Colin Mason, of the US-based Population Research Institute (PRI), report.

Although it would be simplistic to blame the current financial crisis on America's propensity for killing the unborn, it is equally simplistic to pretend, as many do, that the two have absolutely no correlation.

Demographic researcher Dennis Howard predicted the long-term economic consequences of abortion in his 1997 book, The Abortion Bomb: America's Demographic Disaster. He wrote, "I see little hope that we can avoid an eventual crash on Wall Street that will make the 1930s look like cashing in your cards after a bad game of Monopoly."

Well, the US's S&P 500 stock-market index has not quite reached the levels characteristic of the Great Depression, but the most recent charts are beginning to bear more than a passing resemblance to those of that era.

Predicted downturn

Howard, whose background is in market research and investigative reporting, has been tracking the effects of institutionalised abortion on the American economy since 1995, and predicted the downturn that Americans now find themselves in.

"No matter how you slice it," writes Howard in a 2008 piece entitled The $35 Trillion Elephant in the Living Room, "aggressive 'population control' exacts a huge price in future economic growth that can never be recovered. Indeed, it is a loss that reverberates through all future generations. Without an enormous new baby boom lasting another 40 or 50 years, that growth is lost forever."

"We don't have a debt crisis," he continued, "we have a death crisis."

According to Howard, a conservative estimate of America's GDP lost through abortion adds up to an incredible US$35 trillion dollars. If you further take into account the number of babies lost to abortifacient contraception like the pill, IUDs, and RU-486, that number doubles.

"You can estimate the population shortfall based on earlier birth trends," said Howard in an interview with the Virginia-based Population Research Institute (PRI), "and a normalisation of that over a period of time." Howard bases his numbers on the direct economic contribution of individuals to the economy.

In so doing, he turns the overpopulation zeitgeist on its head. Instead of a "population bomb", he writes that we are facing an "abortion bomb". Unlike Paul Ehrlich's bogus predictions, Howard's warnings have actually been coming true.

We are not speaking here of Howard's timelines. For instance, he projected a 50 per cent chance of a dramatic economic downturn by 2000, an 80 per cent chance by the year 2010, and a 100 per cent chance by 2020. By this time, he insisted, the crash would be an economic certainty.

While such a timeline is a little too loose to be considered a prediction, it is true that the birth dearth is making our current economic doldrums worse. To the various factors that have pushed the US into the current economic crisis, from unscrupulous lending practices to homebuyers, to the lack of regulatory oversight of Wall Street, we must add abortion.

Another interesting insight from Howard has to do with America's regional economies. During the economic downturn of 1989-1994, he found that the economy recovered the fastest in those states with low abortion rates. In fact, he asserts that "the low [abortion] rate states suffered virtually no recession at all, while those with the highest rates - mainly Democratic 'blue states' - were still in recession five years later."

How does Howard suggest reviving the economy at present? Educate people on the importance of babies - especially pro-lifers. Howard said to PRI that too often, pro-lifers fail to recognise "the complexity of this issue, and how serious and fundamental it is to our whole society".

While he emphasises the power of pro-life laws and regulations (mentioning specifically the US's 1976 Hyde amendment forbidding federal funding of abortion), far more important to him is the issue of education.

"We have to educate the public," he says. "The problem is, most people are totally uneducated about what this is costing them, and costing the country."

This point is underscored in his article. "We need to restore real power to the people by making government more responsive to the needs of workers and families," he says. "We need to recognise that families are the fundamental social and economic unit of society for the simple, but profound, reason that they are the source of all supply and demand."

It takes considerable courage to make such arguments, as we at PRI well know. The ethic of abortion-on-demand continues to trump all efforts to engage in reasoned debate. Howard complains of a pervasive hostility presented by the demographic intelligentsia, culminating in a situation where "any pro-lifer who saw the connection" between abortion and the world's economic woes "was made to feel like a skunk at a garden party".

We at PRI have noted this phenomenon, as well, in our own work. No matter how many facts, statistics and figures we can marshal to our cause, our arguments will always by dismissed out of hand by the pro-choice extremists.

The connection between robust birth rates and economic growth has long been ignored. Perhaps now, with the US economy collapsing around us, these arguments can receive the hearing that they deserve.

- Steven W. Mosher is president of the PRI and author of the recently published Population Control: Real Costs, Illusory Benefits (available from News Weekly books - see page 21). Colin Mason is director of the PRI's media production. This article is reproduced by kind permission of PRI from its Weekly Briefing, Vol.10, No.45, October 28, 2008.

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