Sunday, August 14, 2005

Beyond Roe versus Wade

In 1973, Roe versus Wade legalized abortion in the the US, bypassing the politics courtesy of an appointed for life elite of jurists. Others have opined at length about the appropriateness of this legislation from the bench.

At the time Paul Ehrlich had written The Population Bomb and Malthusian scenarios were all the rage. Thomas Malthus and his followers has a long history of scary predictions that haven't panned out. According to these people, we should have all died sometime in the second term of the Reagan administration.

There was a real fear that overpopulation would be a real problem our society would have to solve. Abortion on demand seemed a reasonable component in solving the overpopulation problem. The fact that it dovetailed with what was then called "women's lib" contributed to its appeal. Today equal rights based on one's sex is acknowledged by all.

And today we're seeing some interesting demographics. In each country of the developed world, birth rates are flat and population growth has stopped. In the near future, nations will have to deal with the problem of population decline.

How can a society encourage population growth? One way is to pay women to have babies. That notion won't see much support in the next century when a large portion of the budget is going to Social Security recipients. It's cheaper to simply to pass laws against contraception.

That's an intrusive measure, but since the geezers of 2020 won't be much affected by laws against contraception, it's sure to get as many votes as those which increase Social Security benefits.

This looks like a bad thing and I think it is. I also think that once this thinking takes hold outside the ranks of the pro-life movement, the first change will be Roe versus Wade.

People want Roe versus Wade because they don't want babies. There are times when a child is a harmful disruption. The mother may not be prepared emotionally, financially, and otherwise for the demands of motherhood. There may be no support system (e.g. family) in place for nurturing the child. Moreover, it takes a lot of money to raise and educate a child. A lot of folks can't afford a large family.

Adoption has always existed because there are folks who want children, but cannot. The fact that these people are willing to do almost anything for a child has created a market that governments and lawyers have stepped into. There are legitimate concerns about adoptions and things must be done orderly and carefully. This has put pressure on the system to increase the price of adoption.

It seems that those who have an interest in the demographics of a stable population should put pressure on the system to reduce the price of adoption. Moreover, crisis pregnancy centers successfully discourage abortions. However, they often come with a heavy-handed religious message that some may not like. Perhaps non-church groups could establish homes for wayward mothers (a victorian term) where they'd be encouraged to give up unwanted children for adoption and supported in that choice.

Think of the hordes of unborn Democrat voters who'd be saved.

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