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Kristof’s Error: Population Control is an Easy, but Wrong Solution

LifeSiteNews.com
LifeSiteNews.com

Commentary by Bryan Clowes, Research Manager, Human Life International

October 1, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Nicholas Kristof’s entire article “Birth Control over Baldness” [New York Times, Sept. 25, 2010] is constructed around a single sentence:  “It’s impossible to fight poverty effectively when birthrates are sky high.”

His answer to this problem, of course, is the simplistic, short-sighted and dangerous solution that many others seem to endorse:  Put everyone on birth control.  He thus falls into the pit occupied by so many others - the fallacy that complex social problems have a “quick fix” that will make everything better, or at least greatly improve the situation. 

Let us get one thing straight before proceeding:  The goal of the developed nations is not to improve the standard of living of the people in developed nations.  If it were, we’d see billions going toward building schools, investing in business, and other proven methods of helping the people of Africa and Asia flourish. The true objective of population control efforts is neatly summed up by the 1974 top-secret U.S. National Security Study Memorandum 200, revealingly subtitled “Implications of Worldwide Population Growth for U.S. Security and Overseas Interests,” which said that:

The U.S. economy will require large and increasing amounts of minerals from abroad, especially from less developed countries. ... Wherever a lessening of population pressures through reduced birth rates can increase the prospects for such stability, population policy becomes relevant to resource supplies and to the economic interests of the United States. 

We must also be clear about another thing:  The ultimate objective of the population controllers is not to ensure the widespread availability of contraception, but the worldwide availability of abortion. 

NSSM-200 said that, “No country has reduced its population growth without resorting to abortion.”  Shortly after NSSM-200’s release, Malcolm Potts, former Medical Secretary of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), and perhaps the most knowledgeable person in the world about population matters, said that “No developed country has brought down its birth rate without a considerable recourse to abortion, and it appears unlikely that developing countries can ever hope to see any decline in their fertility without a massive resort to induced abortion, legal or illegal.” 

Today, the most powerful population control groups in the world are quite frank about their desire to legalize abortion worldwide.  For example, in its 1996 Charter on Sexual and Reproductive Rights, the IPPF claimed that “All women have the right to information, education and services necessary for the protection of reproductive health, safe motherhood and safe abortion and, which are accessible, affordable, acceptable and convenient to all users.”  The 1994 Program of Action of the United Nations International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) demanded that all nations make abortion available and free to all women by the year 2015. 

Perhaps this impending deadline is goading these groups into getting more and more extreme in their rhetoric; in 2008, one United Nations “expert group” ludicrously claimed that “Withholding legal abortion is a form of gender-based discrimination and violence against women.” 

Trampling the Rights, Laws and Traditions of Developing Nations

In their rush to legalize abortion worldwide, the population controllers have no trouble with trampling on the laws of pro-life nations.  In its 1984 document The Human Right to Family Planning, the IPPF baldly stated that “Family Planning Associates and other nongovernmental associations should not use the absence of law or the existence of an unfavorable law as an excuse for inaction; action outside the law, or even in violation of it, is part of the process of stimulating change.”  Other population control groups, including Marie Stopes International and Medecins Sans Frontieres, have admitted to committing illegal abortions in nations with pro-life laws.

When the only objective is to meet population control quotas, human rights are the first thing to go out the window.  NSSM-200, which has never been officially repudiated as United States population policy, outlined the possibility of forced population control programs and the withholding of food as coercion: 

… mandatory [population control] programs may be needed and that we should be considering these possibilities now. … On what basis should such food resources then be provided?  Would food be considered an instrument of national power?  Will we be forced to make choices as to whom we can reasonably assist, and if so, should population efforts be a criterion for such assistance? 

Most of us are familiar with the hideous Chinese one-child and forced-abortion program, which “celebrated” its 30th anniversary this week.  It is telling indeed that no population control organization has ever condemned or criticized this inhumane program.  In fact, many of them have actually praised it.  Nafis Sadik, former Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), has said that

China has every reason to feel proud of and pleased with its remarkable achievements made in its family planning policy and control of its population growth over the past 10 years.  Now the country could offer its experiences and special experts to help other countries. 

This slavish dedication to suppressing the population has inevitably led to horrible abuses all over the world.  Forced abortion and sterilization programs have been exposed in many countries, including Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, Czechoslovakia, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru, the Philippines, Sweden, Switzerland, Tibet, Vietnam, and even the United States.

This trend seems to show no signs of slowing down. John Holdren, President Barack Obama’s “Science Czar,” wrote a 1977 book entitled, Ecoscience:  Population, Resources and Development, with Paul and Anne Ehrlich [Paul Ehrlich is the author of the thoroughly debunked but still influential The Population Bomb].  In this book, Holdren and the Ehrlichs said that minority women and other undesirables should be forced to have abortions against their wills; that sterilizing agents should be put in the water supplies of the United States to help hold down the population; and that a “Planetary Police Force” should enforce population control measures.

This callous attitude is reflected in the public statements of countless population controllers around the world.  After a number of Bangladeshi women died due to the side effects of injectable “contraceptives,” gynecologist Josas Kon said that “In order to have a good thing there is always a price to pay. If two or three women die — what's the problem? The population will be reduced.” 

This kind of uncaring attitude led Indian citizen Amartya Sen, winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize for economics, to remark that "Promoting a "family planning first" strategy can send a message to poor people: `Wish you weren't here’.”
Having traveled to nearly forty poor nations in the Southern Hemisphere, this writer can confirm from personal experience that nothing contributes more to the image of the “Ugly American” than our attempts to compel the citizens of other nations to adopt our values ? particularly in the most sensitive area of deciding how many children they should have. 
  
The Poor of the World Need Plows, Not Pills

What the poor people of the world need is not pills and condoms, but authentic economic development.  Studies have demonstrated that, when the standard of living of poor people is raised, they tend to have fewer children.  Urbanization, the education of women, increased consumerism, and job opportunities for women outside the home are among the factors that influence people to have smaller families.

But correcting such deficiencies is too difficult and complex for the population controllers.  They prefer the simpler and more direct policy of “Find ‘em, bribe ‘em, neuter ‘em and forget ‘em,” which does nothing more than make large poor families into small poor families. 

The world’s richest nations, led by the United States and the United Kingdom, have poured more than $75 billion into population control over the past two decades, wreaking havoc in the families and cultures of the developing world. Imagine how many tens of millions of people could have been raised out of poverty to a higher standard of living had all that money been invested in the future of these nations’ future rather than in eliminating their future, their children. 

See the LifeSiteNews Feature Page on NSSM 200
http://www.lifesitenews.com/waronfamily/nssm200/index.html

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PBS defends decision to air pro-abortion documentary ‘After Tiller’

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By Dustin Siggins

Under pressure for showing the pro-abortion documentary "After Tiller" on Labor Day, PBS' "POV" affiliate has defended the decision in response to an inquiry from LifeSiteNews.

The producers of the film say their goal with the documentary, which tells the stories of four late-term abortion doctors after the killing of infamous late-term abortionist George Tiller, is to "change public perception of third-trimester abortion providers by building a movement dedicated to supporting their right to work with a special focus on maintaining their safety.” 

POV told LifeSiteNews, "We do believe that 'After Tiller' adds another dimension to an issue that is being debated widely." Asked if POV will show a pro-life documentary, the organization said that it "does not have any other films currently scheduled on this issue. POV received almost 1000 film submissions each year through our annual call for entries and we welcome the opportunity to consider films with a range of points of view."

When asked whether POV was concerned about alienating its viewership -- since PBS received more than $400 million in federal tax dollars in 2012 and half of Americans identify as pro-life -- POV said, "The filmmakers would like the film to add to the discussion around these issues. Abortion is already a legal procedure."

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"This is an issue that people feel passionately about and will have a passionate response to. We are hopeful that the majority of people can see it for what it is, another lens on a very difficult issue." 

In addition to the documentary, POV has written materials for community leaders and teachers to share. A cursory examination of the 29-page document, which is available publicly, appears to include links to outside sources that defend Roe v. Wade, an examination of the constitutional right to privacy, and "a good explanation of the link between abortion law and the right to privacy," among other information.

Likewise, seven clips recommended for student viewing -- grades 11 and beyond -- include scenes where couples choose abortion because the children are disabled. Another shows pro-life advocates outside a doctor's child's school, and a third is described as showing "why [one of the film's doctors] chose to offer abortion services and includes descriptions of what can happen when abortion is illegal or unavailable, including stories of women who injured themselves when they tried to terminate their own pregnancies and children who were abused because they were unwanted."

Another clip "includes footage of protesters, as well as news coverage of a hearing in the Nebraska State Legislature in which abortion opponents make reference to the idea that a fetus feels pain." The clip's description fails to note that it is a scientifically proven fact that unborn children can feel pain.

The documentary is set to air on PBS at 10 p.m. Eastern on Labor Day.

Kirsten Andersen contributed to this article.

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He defended ‘real’ marriage, and then was beheaded for it

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By Pete Baklinski

A Christian man was executed during the night by a high-profile ruler after making an uncompromising defense of real marriage.

The Christian, who was renowned for his holiness, had told the ruler in public that his relationship with his partner was “against the law” of God. The Christian’s words enraged the ruler’s partner who successfully plotted to have him permanently silenced.

John the Baptist was first imprisoned before he was beheaded. The Catholic Church honors him today, August 29, as a martyr and saint.

While John’s death happened a little less than 2,000 years ago, his heroic stance for real marriage is more pertinent today than ever before.

According to the Gospel of Mark, the ruler Herod had ‘married’ his brother’s wife Herodias. When John told Herod with complete frankness, “It is against the law for you to have your brother’s wife,” Herodias became “furious” with him to the point of wanting him killed for his intolerance, bullying, and hate-speech.

Herodias found her opportunity to silence John by having her daughter please Herod during a dance at a party. Herod offered the girl anything she wanted. The daughter turned to her mother for advice, and Herodias said to ask for John’s head on a platter.

Those who fight for real marriage today can learn three important lessons from John’s example.

  1. Those proudly living in ungodly and unnatural relationships — often referred to in today’s sociopolitical sphere as ‘marriage’ — will despise those who tell them what they are doing is wrong. Real marriage defenders must expect opposition to their message from the highest levels.
  2. Despite facing opposition, John was not afraid to defend God’s plan for marriage in the public square, even holding a secular ruler accountable to this plan. John, following the third book of the Hebrew Bible (Leviticus 20:21), held that a man marrying the wife of his brother was an act of “impurity” and therefore abhorrent to God. Real marriage defenders must boldly proclaim today that God is the author of marriage, an institution he created to be a life-long union between one man and one woman from which children arise and in which they are best nurtured. Marriage can be nothing more, nothing less.
  3. John did not compromise on the truth of marriage as revealed by God, even to the point of suffering imprisonment and death for his unpopular position. Real marriage defenders must never compromise on the truth of marriage, even if the government, corporate North America, and the entire secular education system says otherwise. They must learn to recognize the new “Herodias” of today who despises those raising a voice against her lifestyle. They must stand their ground no matter what may come, no matter what the cost.

John the Baptist was not intolerant or a bigot, he simply lived the word of God without compromise, speaking the word of truth when it was needed, knowing that God’s way is always the best way. Were John alive today, he would be at the forefront of the grassroots movement opposing the social and political agenda to remake marriage in the image of man.

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

If he were alive today he might speak simple but eloquent words such as, “It is against God’s law for two men or two women to be together as a husband and wife in marriage. Marriage can only be between a man and a woman.” 

He would most likely be hated. He would be ridiculed. He would surely have the human rights tribunals throwing the book at him. But he would be speaking the truth and have God as his ally. 

The time may not be far off when those who defend real marriage, like John, will be presented with the choice of following Caesar or making the ultimate sacrifice. May God grant his faithful the grace to persevere in whatever might come. St. John the Baptist, pray for us!

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The Wunderlich family Mike Donnelly / Home School Legal Defence Association
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German homeschoolers regain custody of children, vow to stay and fight for freedom

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By Thaddeus Baklinski

One year to the day since a team of 20 social workers, police officers, and special agents stormed a homeschooling family’s residence near Darmstadt, Germany, and forcibly removed all four of the family’s children, aged 7 to 14, a state appeals court has returned custody of the children to their parents.

The reason given for the removal was that parents Dirk and Petra Wunderlich continued to homeschool their children in defiance of a German ban on home education.

The children were returned three weeks after being taken, following an international outcry spearheaded by the Home School Legal Defense Association.

However, a lower court imposed the condition on the parents that their children were required to attend state schools in order for them to be released, and took legal custody of the children in order to prevent the family from leaving the country.

In a decision that was still highly critical of the parents and of homeschooling, the appeals court decided that the action of the lower court in putting the children in the custody of the state was “disproportional” and ordered complete custody returned to the parents, according to a statement by the HSLDA.

The Wunderlichs, who began homeschooling again when the court signaled it would rule this way, said they were very pleased with the result, but noted that the court’s harsh words about homeschooling indicated that their battle was far from over.

“We have won custody and we are glad about that,” Dirk said.

“The court said that taking our children away was not proportionate—only because the authorities should apply very high fines and criminal prosecution instead. But this decision upholds the absurd idea that homeschooling is child endangerment and an abuse of parental authority.”

The Wunderlichs are now free to emigrate to another country where homeschooling is legal, if they choose, but they said they intend to remain in Germany and work for educational freedom.

“While we no longer fear that our children will be taken away as long as we are living in Hessen, it can still happen to other people in Germany,” Dirk said. “Now we fear crushing fines up to $75,000 and jail. This should not be tolerated in a civilized country.”

Petra Wunderlich said, "We could not do this without the help of HSLDA,” but cautioned that, “No family can fight the powerful German state—it is too much, too expensive."

"If it were not for HSLDA and their support, I am afraid our children would still be in state custody. We are so grateful and thank all homeschoolers who have helped us by helping HSLDA.”

HSLDA’s Director for Global Outreach, Michael Donnelly, said he welcomed the ruling but was concerned about the court’s troubling language.

“We welcome this ruling that overturns what was an outrageous abuse of judicial power,” he said.

“The lower court decision to take away legal custody of the children essentially imprisoned the Wunderlich family in Germany. But this decision does not go far enough. The court has only grudgingly given back custody and has further signaled to local authorities that they should still go after the Wunderlichs with criminal charges or fines.”

Donnelly pointed out that such behavior in a democratic country is problematic.

“Imprisonment and fines for homeschooling are outside the bounds of what free societies that respect fundamental human rights should tolerate,” he explained.

“Freedom and fundamental human rights norms demand respect for parental decision making in education. Germany’s state and national policies that permit banning home education must be changed.

"Such policies from a leading European democracy not only threaten the rights of tens of thousands of German families but establish a dangerous example that other countries may be tempted to follow,” Donnelly warned.

HSLDA Chairman Michael Farris said that acting on behalf of the Wunderlichs was an important stand for freedom.

“The Wunderlichs are a good and decent family whose basic human rights were violated and are still threatened,” Farris said.

“Their fight is our fight," Farris stressed, "and we will continue to support those who stand against German policy banning homeschooling that violates international legal norms. Free people cannot tolerate such oppression and we will do whatever we can to fight for families like the Wunderlichs both here in the United States and abroad. We must stand up to this kind of persecution where it occurs or we risk seeing own freedom weakened.”

Visit the HSLDA website dedicated to helping the Wunderlich family and other German homeschoolers here.

Contact the German embassy in the U.S. here.

Contact the German embassy in Canada here.

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