A baby gestures minutes after being born at a hospital in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Oct. 21. (CNS photo/Edgard Garrido, Reuters)
Research Institute (PRI) is a non-profit research organization with
headquarters in Front Royal, Virginia and a global network of affiliated pro-life
groups. The president of PRI is Steven W. Mosher. He recently spoke to CWR
In a weekly
online poll called “YouCut”where US citizens can vote for the wasteful federal
program they would most like to discontinuethe United Nations Fund for
Population Activities was a candidate in May 2011, and it “won.” Representative
Renee Ellmers introduced a bill to terminate contributions to the UNFPA, which
has been referred to the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Please comment.
Steven Mosher: More and more
Americans are waking up to the fact that the UN Fund for Population Activities
(UNFPA) is involved with some of the most horrific population control programs
the world has ever seen. In China, for example, we at the Population Research
Institute have documented that the UNFPA’s “model country” program is rife with
human rights abuses, including forced abortions and forced sterilizations. Not
only that, but couples who have more than one child are hit with crippling
fines equivalent to three to five year’s income. These “social compensation
fees,” as they are called, are deliberately set high in order to bully mothers
into having abortions.
gets worse. The UNFPA directly supports and helps to manage China’s forced-pace
program by supplying computers and sterilization/abortion equipment to China’s
family planning police. The computers allow the police to track all women of
childbearing age and target those who get pregnant “out-of-plan.” And [the UNFPA]
promotes exporting China’s one-child policies to other countries.
have fought to defund the UNFPA for 30 years, but it has been a seesaw battle
all the way. We won the first round when President Reagan and his successor
agreed that the UNFPA was illegally supporting forced abortions and forced
sterilizations in China, but lost the second when Bill Clinton took office and
turned a blind eye to these abuses.
went on the offensive again with the election of President George W. Bush.
Based largely on evidence that we had gathered, on July 21, 2002 Secretary of
State Colin Powell dropped the ax: “UNFPA’s support of, and involvement in,
China’s population-planning activities allows the Chinese government to
implement more effectively its program of coercive abortion. Therefore, it is
not permissible to continue funding UNFPA at this time.”
matters remained until the election of Barack Obama who, ignoring the evidence,
once again began funneling money to the UN organization. Meanwhile, the population
control agency appears determined to mire itself even more deeply in the muck
of China’s program. The agency continues to expand its program in China, and
has signed a new agreement with the government there that will run through
if this UN organization were not complicit in human rights abuses, it would
still make no sense to fund it. Overpopulation is one of the myths of the
century now past. The reality of our present century is the growing problem of underpopulation. As birth rates continue
to fall worldwide, we need to abolish the UN Fund for Population Activities
before it does any more harm.
estimate that in late 2011 the world’s population will reach seven billion. It
is said to have reached the six billion mark in October of 1999. Doesn’t this
rapid increase vindicate the population control movement?
Mosher: Like other baby
boomers, I lived through the unprecedented doubling of the global population in
the second half of the 20th century. Never before in human history had our
numbers increased so far, so fast: from three billion in 1960 to six billion in
2000. But the population alarmists, I came to see, glossed over the underlying
reason: Our numbers didn’t double because we suddenly started breeding like
rabbits. They doubled because we stopped
dying like flies. Fertility was falling throughout this period, from an
average of six children per woman in 1960 to only 2.6 by 2005.
Life expectancy at birth, on the other hand, was
steadily rising, climbing from 46 years in 1950-1955 to more than 65 years from
2000-2005. The less-developed countries saw the most dramatic increases: life
spans there lengthened from 41 to 63.5 years. You don’t have to be a rocket
scientist to understand that, with everyone living half again as long, there
will be more of us around at any given time. Longer life spans in fact account
for about half of all population growth over the last half-century. The happy
fact that billions of us were cheating death for decades at a time would seem
cause to celebrate, not to mourn.
We will pass seven billion later this year [the UN marked the arrival of "baby seven billion" on October 31], but that
doesn’t mean that human numbers are exploding; in fact, a close look at the
real world reveals precisely the opposite. The unprecedented fall in fertility
rates that began in post-war Europe has, in the decades since, spread to every
corner of the globe, affecting China, India, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin
America. The latest forecasts by the United Nations show the number of people
in the world shrinking by mid-centurythat is, before today’s young adults
reach retirement age. Many nations, especially in Europe, are already in a
death spiral, losing a significant number of people each year. Listen closely,
and you will hear the muffled sound of populations crashing.
In 2010, the UN
Population Division (UNDP) found that 79 countries, including 36 in the less
developed world, had fertility rates that were below the level needed to ensure
the long-term survival of the population. Most of the rest, the agency warns
us, are likely to enter this danger zone over the next few decades. In this
prediction, the UNDP is certainly correct.
According to the
agency’s “low-variant” projection, historically the most accurate, by 2050
three out of every four countries in the less developed regions will be
experiencing the same kind of below-replacement fertility that is hollowing out
the populations of developed countries today. Such stark drops in fertility,
cautioned the UNPD, will result in a rapid aging of the populations of
developed and developing countries alike. With the number of people over 65
slated to explode from 475 million in 2000 to 1.46 billion in 2050, existing
social security systems will be threatened with collapse. It will prove
difficult, if not impossible, to establish new ones.
projections show that the population of the world will continue to creep up
until about the year 2040, peaking at around 7.6 billion people. This is only a
fraction more than the almost seven billion that the planet supports at present.
Then the global population implosion, slow at first, but accelerating
over time, begins. We fall back to current levels by 2082, and then shrink to
under 5 billion by the turn of the next century. That population will be much
older than we are today.
This is the real population crisis. This population
implosion, by reducing the amount of human capital available, will have a
negative and dramatic impact on every aspect of life.
Last summer the
Population Research Institute co-sponsored a Demographic Summit with the World
Congress of Families in Moscow. Were there many delegates from developing
nations? Was there any funding for the event from Western governments?
Mosher: The short
answer is, yes, we had a number of delegates from developing countries. Senator
Kit Tatad from the Philippines attended, for example, and spoke to us of the
efforts by the UNFPA, USAID, and other international organizations to pressure
the Philippines into adopting a two-child policy. We all agreed that the
Philippine archipelago’s most precious resource was its people, and pledged to
help the good senator resist this kind of anti-natal cultural imperialism.
governmentsnot surprisingly given the anti-people bias of their foreign aid
programsdid not find our pro-life, pro-family efforts worthy of support. In
fact, the chief Russian sponsors were private corporations who were concerned
about Russia’s falling population and consequentially dim economic prospects. I
should mention here URALSIB, one of Russia’s largest banks, which offers
low-interest rate mortgages to couples with children, and then reduces the
interest rate on the loan by one-half percent for each additional child the couples goes on to have. Now this is precisely
the kind of pro-natal policy that Russia needs in order to jumpstart its
birthrate and that other countries should adopt.
The purpose of
the World Congress of Families is “to defend the family and to guide public
policy and cultural norms.” What threats to the family were discussed at the
2011 Demographic Summit in Moscow? What policy recommendations were formulated?
Mosher: As always, we started by reaffirming
the natural familya father, a mother, and their natural or adopted childrenas
the basic unit of society, without which civilization would be impossible. We
agreed that the decline of the family was in large part responsible for the
global depopulation that looms before us, where whole peoples with their unique
cultures face extinction over the course of the next couple of generations.
The crisis in
the family has multiple causes, from the weakening of conjugal and parental
roles to the widespread adoption of contraception, from no-fault divorce to the
spread of cohabitation, homosexuality, and abortion.
ended the summit by calling upon all nations to develop a pro‐family demographic policy that would
consolidate family and marriage, protect human life from conception to natural death, increase birth rates, and avert the menace
Soviet Union was the first nation to legalize abortion in 1920. Is Russia ready
now to listen to the pro-life message?
Mosher: Russia was not
only the first Western country to legalize abortion, it was also the country
where the suction abortion machineboth the electric and the manual versionswas
actually invented. Many Russians are now ashamed of this sordid history, and
are working to help Russia recover both its traditional Christian morality and
its reverence for life.
recent action of the Russian Duma in placing, for the first time, restrictions
on abortion is a step in the right direction. Also, the network of crisis
pregnancy centers being established by Alexey Komov, the Russian representative
of the World Congress of Families, will undoubtedly save the lives of thousands
of Russian babies over time.
decades China has been the world’s laboratory for centralized population
planning. Does it deserve good grades for its unprecedented economic
Mosher: The first thing
to say is that there can never be an economic justification for population
control programs. A good end can never justify an evil means, and the forced
abortions, sterilizations, and contraception that have characterized China’s
population control program from the beginning are nothing if not an evil means.
the tragedy of China’s one-child policy runs even deeper. For it is now clear
that China would have modernized over the past three decades without the
one-child policy. By eliminating 400 million of the most enterprising,
intelligent people on the planet, the Chinese Communist Party has actually made
the country poorer. China will soon suffer from a nationwide labor shortage as
a consequence of this cruel and misguided policy.
draconian birth control programs have produced the largest population of
post-abortive women on the planet. Are they beginning to see the medical and
Mosher: I have
personally interviewed a number of women in China who were deeply distraught
over the abortions they had been forced to undergo. Even though the abortions
were not voluntary, they still blamed themselves for not being able to protect
their unborn children.
is a sad fact that China has the highest suicide rate in the world. And whereas
it is most common in other countries for men to end their lives, most of the
suicides in China are women.
Is there any
substance to whispered reports of human trafficking across China’s borders or
within the country?
Mosher: The mass
killing of born and unborn baby girls in China has created a shortage of brides
in that country. So there is now what can be called “bride trafficking,” both
within China and between China and its near neighbors like Vietnam and North
Korea. Young girls in North Korea, a desperately poor country on the brink of
starvation, are often sold by their own parents to a bride trafficker, who in
turn sells the girls to the highest bidder as a wife.
is just one of the many social pathologies that the one-child policy has given
rise to, and which the Chinese people will suffer the consequences of for
decades to come.
PRI has warned
about the growing phenomenon of sex-selective abortion, and not just in
countries like India. Are there any plans to make the procedure illegal in the
Mosher: We have proposed
banning sex-selective abortion in the United States. The 2000 Census produced
compelling evidence that certain immigrant populations, namely Indian-Americans
and Chinese-Americans, were engaging in this practice. We are hopeful that the
next Congress will ban it.
Why has the PRI
taken a stance and mobilized its resources against Obamacare?
Mosher: Because Obamacare
would cede to the government control over the health sector of the US economy.
It would promote abortion, sterilization, and contraception and, worse yet,
force people with conscientious objections to those objectively immoral
practices to fund them. It would take end-of-life decisions out of the hands of
patients and doctors, and invest them in panels of doctors far removed from the
should be moving in the other direction, away from centralized government
control. Take the matter of electronic health records, which the federal
government is spending tens of billions of dollars to develop. We, not the
government, should decide which doctors, health care insurers, and health care
providers are allowed to see our health records, and under what circumstances.
We should be able to prevent the government or drug companies from carrying out
using our data research that we find morally objectionable. We should be able
to specify what kind of care we would like to receive if incapacitated and who
is authorized by us to make those kinds of decisions. The technology exists
today, developed by a Dallas-based company called Jericho Systems, to allow us
to control our own health records. But will we be allowed to? The jury is still
We have to turn back Obamacare and replace it
with a system that gives each and every one of us, not a cold and distant
bureaucracy, but rather control over our health care.