Monday, May 17, 2004

Sometimes a writer--in this case Mark Steyn--puts into words exactly what I think about a subject, in this case the social and political implications of abortion on demand:
Half the complaints about Bush’s “war on women” revolve around his disinclination to spend taxpayers’ dollars promoting abortion overseas. Which begs the question: leaving aside the moral questions, what is the state’s interest in abortion?

The answer to that is obvious: The most urgent problem facing the western world right now is the big lack of babies. On the Continent, abortion is part of the settled political consensus and its persistence as an issue over here is seen as further evidence – along with guns, capital punishment and functioning militaries – of American backwardness. The result is collapsed birthrates in Mediterranean countries of around 1.1, 1.2 children per couple – that’s to say, about half of what’s called “replacement rate”. Why be surprised that Spanish voters don’t have the stomach for war? To fight for king and country is to fight for the future, for your nation, for its children. But Spain has no children, and thus no future. What’s to fight for?

Even if you subscribe to the premise of Roe vs Wade - that abortion is a privacy issue – society as a whole has no interest in elevating a “woman’s right to choose” to state policy. The government’s interest lies in increasing birthrates, to avoid the death spiral of post-Catholic Italy. If any Democrat understands that, she or he is in no hurry to speak up.

Which leads to the next question: Who will be the first victims of the west’s collapsed birthrates? In Europe, the only country still exercising its “reproductive rights” at replacement rate is Muslim Albania. The rest of the continent is dependent on immigration mainly from North Africa and the Middle East. In other words, by exercising a “woman’s right to choose” to the present unprecedented degree, western women are delivering their societies into the hands of fellows far more patriarchal than a 1950s sitcom dad.

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