NRL News

Abortion has altered the basic demography and political realities of our planet, authors of new book say

by | Apr 20, 2012

By Randall K. O’Bannon, Ph.D. NRL-ETF Director of Education & Research

When people think of abortion, they naturally focus on the huge impact on the mother and the unborn child. While this is  perfectly understandable, a new book on population demographics shows that abortion’s effects are massive, having a huge impact on societies, economies, and global politics. The book is Population Decline and the Remaking of Great Power Politics, just out.

Two of the book’s authors, Susan Yoshihara, of C-FAM, and Philip Longman, of the New America Foundation, spoke at a April 17, 2012. luncheon sponsored by the Hudson Institute. In crisp, understandable language they laid bare how decades of abortion and other coercive population control policies have already altered the demographics of many of the world’s leading nations and discussed what the future might hold as a consequence.

With its fertility rate falling from an average of 2.58 babies per woman of child-bearing age in the 1950s to 1.28 in the past decade, Yoshihara says that Japan has initiated a trend that could result in a 30% decrease in population in just four decades!  European countries with low birthrates are not far behind, despite government “baby bonuses” to try to encourage at least enough children to replace their parents.

At stake, Yoshihara says, are not simply retirement and healthcare programs for large bubble of seniors that governments will struggle to fund owing to a shrinking tax base, but reduced recruiting pools for manufacturing and military. Russia has been trying to reduce its enormous abortion rate and increase fertility. It has even gone so far as to celebrate a national “Conception Day,” but fertility rates are still dangerously low.

It would be difficult to exaggerate how major a role abortion has played. As NRL News has written there are hundreds of millions of “missing women” lost to sex selection abortion ( Even if there were to be some sudden turnaround, the damage of abortion and population control strategies cannot be made up overnight. 

Population Decline points out, for example, that there are 51.3 million more Chinese males than females, which has many horrendous effects beyond the tragic of babies killed simply because they are female. The book notes that things have gotten so bad that gangs are abducting females from neighboring Russia, Mongolia, Burma, North Korea, and Vietnam and bringing them to China where they are sold and resold to men in “bachelor villages” (p. 160).

The U.S. has largely been spared this population turmoil, but not because we are innocent of unborn blood.  America has aborted more than 50 million of its own since 1973, but retains the advantage of a growing population owing to the influx of immigrants. 

Even so, the U.S. faces challenges in funding its own entitlement programs in the coming years as abortion and reduced fertility rates have reduced the number of workers available to fund the retirement of the aging “baby boom” cohort. (See the Trust Fund’s fact sheet on “The Economic Impact of Abortion” at

While there are other factors at play – reduced fertility rates owing to women delaying childbearing to pursue careers, lower marriage rates, economic factors, etc. – there is no denying that abortion has radically altered the basic demography and political realities of our planet, eliminating hundreds of millions from the world’s population.

In the conclusion to her book, Yoshihara states:

“Nations cannot reverse the course of global aging in the near term.  No public program can bring back citizens who were never born.   But leaders can better protect and defend the children of this generation before passing them the torch and placing on their shoulders the burden of keeping peaceable relations among nations.”

So, pro-lifers, keep up the good work.  You aren’t just saving lives – you’re helping make the world a more productive and peaceful place.

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Categories: Politics