One of the biggest lies fostered on humanity was the need for it to impose genocide on itself. That was what the myth of “overpopulation” ultimately decreed: that humans are becoming too many for the planet and thus need to be reduced either before (i.e., through contraceptives or abortion, or destroying the institutions of marriage and the family) or after (euthanasia or assisted suicide) they come into existence.
Unfortunately, that Malthusian mindset was completely wrong. The world is not heading towards overpopulation. The world is just simply too big for us. And if a Lancet study (“Fertility, mortality, migration, and population scenarios for 195 countries and territories from 2017 to 2100,” July 2020) holds true, the world’s population may even shrink to alarming levels.
Thus, “the global population was projected to peak in 2064 at 9.73 billion (8.84–10.9) people and decline to 8.79 billion (6.83–11.8) in 2100.” Total fertility rates (TFR) for several countries are expected to fall drastically: “By 2050, 151 countries were forecasted to have a TFR lower than the replacement level (TFR <2·1), and 183 were forecasted to have a TFR lower than replacement by 2100. Twenty-three countries in the reference scenario, including Japan, Thailand, and Spain, were forecasted to have population declines greater than 50% from 2017 to 2100.”
Even more disconcerting is the expected aging global population: “with 2.37 billion (1.91–2.87) individuals older than 65 years and 1.70 billion (1.11–2.81) individuals younger than 20 years, forecasted globally in 2100.”
China, the supposed upcoming superpower, is seen to have its population halved by 48% by the end of this century, with India (expected 1.09 billion by 2100) and Nigeria (791 million) overtaking China’s predicted 732 million. Because of its deranged one child policy and a preference for boys, China, forecast to become the largest economy by 2035, will gratifyingly see it returning to second place again to the US by 2098.
So, “while the world was expecting a baby boom driven by the COVID-19 pandemic as people locked down in their homes for several months, the supposition came crashing down. The reality is much soberer and the pandemic has actually led to a baby bust rather than a boom. Research shows that the US is facing the biggest slump in births in a century, France has recorded its lowest birth rate since World War II and China has received 15% fewer registrations for babies.” (“The World is Heading Towards Population Collapse and it’s a Matter of Concern — and Celebration” by Shweta Sengar, India Times, Jan. 19, 2022)
Pew Research Center, meanwhile, points out that “other advanced countries have also begun to experience declining birth rates. Italy, Japan, France and Belgium are among the nations that have reported sudden drops in births about nine months after the start of the pandemic, compared with the previous year” (https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2021/05/07/with-a-potential-baby-bust-on-the-horizon-key-facts-about-fertility-in-the-u-s-before-the-pandemic/). Also, as mentioned in this column previously: “Official figures for England and Wales reported a record 50.1% of women being childless by the age of 30.” Finally, this is complemented by the Lancet study: “A sustained TFR lower than the replacement level in many countries, including China and India, would have economic, social, environmental, and geopolitical consequences” (https://www.thelancet.com/article/S0140-6736(20)30677-2/fulltext).
And what is the prime cause for the shrinking birth rates? The Lancet study says this: “access to contraception will hasten declines in fertility and slow population growth.”
Because once you introduce into society the idea that having children and the family are burdens, it becomes very difficult to reverse and the population slide becomes a long continuous downward spiral.
Which brings us to the wisdom (or complete and utter lack of it) of the RH Law. As pointed out by the Supreme Court (Imbong vs Ochoa, GR 204819): “The population of the country kept on galloping at an uncontrollable pace. From a paltry number of just over 27 million Filipinos in 1960, the population of the country reached over 76 million in the year 2000 and over 92 million in 2010. The executive and the legislative, thus, felt that the measures were still not adequate. To rein in the problem, the RH Law was enacted.”
Wisely, the Supreme Court saw through the deception and lies propagated by RH Law’s supporters: “Despite efforts to push the RH Law as a reproductive health law, the Court sees it as principally a population control measure. The corpus of the RH Law is geared towards the reduction of the country’s population.”
Unfortunately, all that did not prevent the Court from making the appallingly inexplicable mistake of ruling in favor of the RH Law. Nevertheless, it did make this quite prescient remark: “At any rate, population control may not be beneficial for the country in the long run. The European and Asian countries, which embarked on such a program generations ago, are now burdened with ageing populations.”
Let’s hope the next Administration will be wise enough to get rid of the RH Law before it causes more damage at taxpayers’ expense.
Jemy Gatdula is a senior fellow of the Philippine Council for Foreign Relations and a Philippine Judicial Academy law lecturer for constitutional philosophy and jurisprudence