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Population control

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'''Population control''' is the practice of limiting population increase, usually by reducing the birth rate. The practice has sometimes been voluntary, as a response to poverty, or out of religious ideology, but in some times and places it has been government-mandated. This is generally conducted to improve quality of life for a society or to prevent a “Malthusian catastrophe”. [“Malthusian catastrophe” is a return to subsistence-level conditions as a result of agricultural (or, in later formulations, economic) production being eventually outstripped by growth in population. Theories of “Malthusian catastrophe” predict over several generations or centuries]. "Population control" has also been conducted in the name of eugenics, racism, and the economic self-interest of corporations to exploit citizens of poor countries. Given the nature of human reproductive biology, controlling the birth rate generally implies one or more of the following practices: sexual abstinence, contraception, same-sex relations, sterilization, abortion, or infanticide.
Contemporary concern about population growth would appear to be a direct contradiction between the Orthodox Christian ethical imperative to “be fruitful and multiply.” In the fourth century St. John Chrysostom, noted the population question and related it to the need that the sexual drive be fulfilled in marriage. "It was for two reasons that marriage was introduced; so that we may live in chastity (sophrosyne) and so that we might become parents. Of these the most important is chastity...especially today when the whole inhabited world (he oikoumene) is full of our race." Chrysostom's arguement argument is equally relevant today. Humanity has been obedient to the divine command and has been “fruitful” and has “multiplied” and “has filled the earth” (Gen. 1:28). This raises the question for Orthodox ethics regarding the appropriate means for population control. Coercion of the individual couple's choices regarding their obligation to procreate does not seem ethically appropriate. Also, Orthodox ethics opposes the use of abortion as a birth control method. Advocating widespread abstinence from sexual relations by huge numbers of married people without contraception control methods violates some of the purposes of marriage as understood in the Orthodox Church. The use of contraceptives within marriages to space and limit offspring seems to be the appropriate ethical response. Persuasion and education are appropriate means to encourage smaller families. All Orthodox ethicists, however, would hold that respect for the freedom of each couple to decide must be considered an important and significant factor of population control policy.
President Ronald Reagan gave his position on international population policies in the following remarks to Right to Life activists (1987) -- “as you may be aware, some international organizations have chosen to support abortion as a means of population control. Well, the United Nations Fund for Population Activities, or UNFPA, for example, works with Chinese population programs, which include abortion. Our response to that? We cut off American funds from UNFPA and from overseas organizations that support or promote abortion. We believe population programs can and must be truly voluntary, cognizant of the rights and responsibilities of individuals and families, and respectful of religious and cultural values. Well, that means no coercive measures such as involuntary sterilization and no use of abortion for population control.”
These days the population bomb hysteria that was all the rage in the 1960s and 1970s has largely subsized. Every prediction of massive starvation, eco-catastrophe of biblical proportions, and $100 a barrel oil has been discredited by the global economic and environmental progress of the past quarter century. Intellectually, the “Malthusian limits to growth" menace is stone dead. But within the Clinton State Department, “Malthusianism” flourished. The Clinton administration allocated almost $300 million a year to international population control -- or what is euphemistically described these days as "family planning." In countries ranging from India to Mexico to Nigeria to Brazil, the basic human right of couples to control their own fertility and determine their own family size has been trampled upon by the state, thanks in large part to flows of dollars and deluges of false limits-to-growth propaganda supplied by the American government. The UNFPA, however, has had a particularly demon-like presence in developing nations. Back in the Reagan years, Congress sensibly pulled out of the UNFPA because of its complicity in some of the most inhumane forms of population containment. Today the UNFPA maintains the fiction that the agency has fought coercive policies. How does one explain, then, that UNFPA once gave an award to the Chinese government for the effectiveness of its genocidal one child per couple policy? To this day no one knows precisely how many babies and women have died at the hands of the population control fanatics officials in China. What we do know is that this program will go down in history as one of the greatest abuses of human rights in the 20th century. The Chinese government's ongoing birth control policy has already claimed an estimated 5-10 million victims. An estimated 80-90 percent of the victims have been girls. UNFPA still spends millions each year on population control programs in China.
The following is UNFPA's overview of China as found on their website: “The Law of Population and Family Planning of the People's Republic of China went into effect in 2002, introducing client-centered and service-oriented approaches to reproductive health services. Introduction of the law has been considered among the most critical factors influencing the future direction of population policy as well as the provision of family planning services. The law spells out rights and responsibilities for clients, service providers and family planning officials, as well as providing for sexual health education for students. Most provinces have also formulated their own regulations. A client-centered, quality reproductive health approach, pioneered in 32 counties with UNFPA assistance, has been replicated in over 800 other counties (one third of the country's total), resulting in its incorporation into national policy. With a total fertility rate of about 2 lifetime births per woman, China has sustained a reduction in population growth over the past three decades. However, the current total population of 1.3 billion is still a key concern. The government views population issues as critical to the country's development.”
-Moore, Stephen. 'Don't Fund UNFPA Population Control'. Cato Institute (, 1999
-Richmond, Sheldon. 'The United Nations and Global Intervention'. Cato Institute (, 1997
-Gingrich, Newt. 'Warnings for a Shrinking WarWorld: Geopolitics, Environment and World Economy Affected'., (, 2004
-Reagan, Ronald. 'Public Papers of President Ronald W. Reagan'., ( 1981-1989
-United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). 'Population, Health and Socio-Economic Indicators/Policy Developments- China', (