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Talking about Overpopulation

— Posted by John (October 27, 2006 at 5:08 pm)


Reader Ellen recently alerted us to an entry posted earlier this month on the pro-abortion blog RHRealityCheck — the same blog that also recently included a series of posts by one Tyler LePard, who attended our “Contraception Is Not the Answer” conference last month.

In an entry titled “Rethinking Overpopulation”, Andrea Lynch writes:

Amidst the media hysteria about the U.S. population reaching 300 million this month, it seems an opportune moment to reflect on the deeply subjective nature of the concept of “overpopulation.” One example: how is it that Europe’s low birth rate is a population “crisis,” whereas Africa’s high birth rate is also a population “crisis”? Three guesses.

For this and other food for thought, I highly recommend 10 Reasons to Rethink ‘Overpopulation’ [PDF], a thoughtful new resource from Hampshire College’s Population and Development Program that explores the links between population, reproductive health, human rights, racism, and the environment. Here are some particularly compelling reasons to rethink:

1. Population control targets women’s fertility and restricts reproductive rights.
2. Population alarmism encourages apocalyptic thinking that legitimizes human rights abuses.
3. Conventional views of overpopulation stand in the way of greater global understanding and solidarity.

If I had my way, it would be required reading for all 300 million Americans…

In response, reader KellyR posted a comment that begins:

I was surprised to see this post. I would consider these old arguments to be harmful rhetoric and should be placed as such under that portion of your website. The paper referenced above only harms the family planning/reproductive health movement now that we’ve moved on.

“Now that we’ve moved on?”

On the one hand, there’s some amount of credit due to self-styled “pro-choice” advocates when they recognize the historical connection between racism, eugenics, and population control.

(As an aside: The aforementioned Tyler LePard claimed that the “(not so subtle) undertones” of the presentations at last month’s CINTA conference — demographer Andrew Pollard‘s in particular — “were anti-immigration, racist, and sexist.” These accusations are hopelessly off the mark, of course, but don’t take my word for it. Listen to his whole talk and judge for yourself.)

But to suggest that the so-called pro-choice movement has readily acknowledged the dark history of population control and “moved on” is ridiculous.

Exhibit A: the nation’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, which still, to this day, refuses to come clean about the beliefs of its founder, Margaret Sanger. (For background, LEARN has an excellent article titled “The Truth About Margaret Sanger” here.)

There are any number of examples that could be used to illustrate Planned Parenthood’s rewriting of history about the woman it praises as having gained “worldwide renown, respect, and admiration” for founding the American birth control movement.

The same page on Planned Parenthood’s website also notes, for example, that Sanger:

always believed that reproductive decisions should be made on an individual and not a social or cultural basis, and she consistently and firmly repudiated any racial application of eugenics principles. For example, Sanger vocally opposed the racial stereotyping that effected passage of the Immigration Act of 1924, on the grounds that intelligence and other inherited traits vary by individual and not by group.


It would seem that those at Planned Parenthood today have never heard of — much less read — Sanger’s “Plan for Peace”, published in the April 1932 edition of Birth Control Review, in which she proposed the creation of a “Population Congress”, one of whose goals would be:

to keep the doors of immigration closed to the entrance of certain aliens whose condition is known to be detrimental to the stamina of the race, such as feebleminded, idiots, morons, insane, syphilitic, epileptic, criminal, professional prostitutes, and others in this class barred by the immigration laws of 1924 [emphasis added].

The pro-abortion movement of the early 21st century is the direct descendant of the birth control/population control movement of the early 20th century. Considering KellyR’s comment cited above — that it “harms” the abortion rights movement when the dark history of the population control movement is mentioned — we as pro-lifers must not stop talking about it.

It is inevitable that the widespread availability of contraception will lead to coercive population control.

As a very wise man said in 1968:

Finally, careful consideration should be given to the danger of [contraception] passing into the hands of those public authorities who care little for the precepts of the moral law. Who will blame a government which in its attempt to resolve the problems affecting an entire country resorts to the same measures as are regarded as lawful by married people in the solution of a particular family difficulty? Who will prevent public authorities from favoring those contraceptive methods which they consider more effective? Should they regard this as necessary, they may even impose their use on everyone…

You can “rethink overpopulation” until the cows come home, but until you recognize that abortion and contraception are the problem (and, indeed, that there is no such thing as overpopulation — as Blessed Mother Teresa once said, “How can you say there are too many children? That’s like saying there are too many flowers”), you’re wasting your time.

This entry is filed under Contraception, Culture Wars, Law & Politics, Overpopulation Myth, Planned Parenthood. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

6 Comments on “Talking about Overpopulation”

Please Note: Visitor comments do not necessarily reflect the views of Generations for Life or our parent organization, the Pro-Life Action League.

  1. mary kay says:

    I have that bumper sticker on my car…
    I remember a story I once heard about the difference between Hell and Purgatory.

    In Hell, all the people are sitting around a cauldron filled with stew. Unfortunately, these people have no arms. They do however have a very long spoon which they hold between their teeth that reaches the stew pot. They cannot figure out a way, however, to get the spoon filled with stew and then turned around to feed themselves. As a result they are all very unhappy, frustrated and yes, hungry.

    In purgatory, another group of people are also sitting around a cauldron filled with stew. They too have no arms. They too have the long spoon. But they are not unhappy, or frustrated and certainly not hungry for they have realized that while they cannot bring the spoons to their own mouths, they CAN bring them to their neighbors mouths…

    The problem is not overpopulation. The problem is overemphasis on self. If we would make sure that ALL of our brothers and sisters are cared for and fed, then we would be able to laugh at the idea of overpopulation. It is not too many people. It is too few people who care…


    Comment posted October 27th, 2006 at 5:50 pm
  2. Lauren says:

    That’s a very scary picture you paint Mary lol. I dont like it at all.

    For all practical purposes, nonreligious please, what are the effects of overpopulation? I don’t know much about population or overpopulation so I can’t make an argument… But let’s say for instance we get into a situation where overpopulation IS an issue. how do we deal with it?

    SOYLENT GREEN IS PEOPLE!!! (sorry i had to, man i hate quoting Charlton Heston)

    Comment posted October 28th, 2006 at 11:21 am
  3. mary kay says:


    For me it is impossible not to bring God into the picture. Because I cannot imagine a world without Him. If He wasn’t there, then it wouldn’t make any difference if there WAS overpopulation. I suppose we would revert to a totally selfish, dog-eat-dog, every man for himself mentality.

    But, I believe in God. And I believe that He created this world. And He created us. He loves us. I mean really, really loves us. So why would He put us in a position where there were too many people? I believe that He will ALWAYS provide for us. But we will have to work WITH Him in order to make it work. So I might have to give up a little so there is enough for everyone.

    In one way Christianity can sound a lot like communism. Every one has an equal share. No one is better than anyone else.
    This is very Christian. Except in communism it is forced. In Christianity it is done freely by each individual.

    Bishop Fulton Sheen says: The difference betweent he west and the east is that in the east (communism) it’s all about the cross (sacrifice) without Christ (love). In the west, it’s all about Christ (love) without the cross (sacrifice).

    Christianity is all about the perfect meeting of the cross and Christ. Sacrifice, given in love. Sacrifice given out of love for Christ. So, in my world, there will always be enough. There will never be too many people. As John said, that would be like having too many flowers.

    The question is not “will there ever be too many people?”
    The question is will the people that there are, be willing to answer God’s call?

    Think about this: 300,000,000,000 people all sharing, and believing and giving. The world could go on indefinitely and not feel the least crowed. (ask anyone who came from a family of 10 in a 2 bedroom house.) But 2 people left in the world, that were totally selfish, totally self absorbed, taking, lying, hating…well, that would feel mighty crowded, no?


    Comment posted October 28th, 2006 at 1:40 pm
  4. Mike says:

    Can The Entire World Population Fit Within The Boundries of Texas?


    1 Acre = 43,560 Square Feet

    1 Square Mile = 640 Acres or 27,878,400 Square Feet (640 x 43,560)


    World Population = 6,276,000,000 people

    State of Texas = 268,601 Square Miles or 171,904,640 Acres (268,601 x 640) or 7,488,166,118,400 Square Feet (268,601 x 640 x 43,560)


    Average Size 2-Story Home with 3-4 Bedrooms = 1,500 to 2,400 Square Feet (Thus 750 – 1,200 Square Feet is Needed on the Ground Floor).

    This home would fit 5-6 people per house comfortably!

    Therefore 150-240 (750 to 1,200/ 5 people per household) Square Feet of Ground Space Per Person is needed to fit 5-6 people comfortably in a 2-story home in the state of Texas.


    State of Texas = 7,488,166,118,400 Square Feet/ 6,276,000,000 people in the world = 1,193 Square Feet Per Person is available for the entire world’s population to live in the state of Texas.

    As noted above only 150-240 Square Feet of Ground Space is needed per person to fit 5-6 people comfortably in a 2-story home in the state of Texas!!!


    You can double check my math!

    Comment posted October 28th, 2006 at 9:39 pm
  5. Pansy Moss says:

    You know, the overpopulation myth makes me very nervous personally. There is this underlying philosophy that accompanies it that not only are people reproducing too much, but that certain types of people are the culprit. The Gates Foundation doesn’t focus it’s attention on suburban white americans, but developing countries.

    Even here, if you are lower income, or a minority, or especially a poor minority, having children is associated with being too stupid to grasp the concept of condoms and irresponsible.

    Comment posted October 29th, 2006 at 2:00 am
  6. $arah says:

    Wow, all the commentary here shows great examples of our struggle with attempting to act like the ideal human race but quickly losing out to our animal ego tendencies with fear and fight.

    I am one of many in the generation of females that will not be reproducing this lifespan simply because more is unnecessary now and I like to make good choices. A quick, peaceful, and easy fix to population increase is Polyandry and men can accept or fight this adverse fact. Would that not be like us humans to destroy ourselves while attempting forced population control on eachother, Lol. Truth is, polyandry is more “humane” than waging wars with death, abortion freaks, and child limiting unbalances, all of which have and will fail at population control. Generally humans do not have self control or we would live in moderate peace with a balanced, healthy, spiritual ease. Lose the ego, quiet minds and win. . , or decline & repeat till acceptance humbles your place & understanding of life.

    Comment posted August 18th, 2011 at 3:25 am