Update January 13, 2017: LifeSiteNews has published a reaction from life and family experts to Ehrlich at the Vatican here.
VATICAN CITY, January 12, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — The Vatican has invited the undisputed father of the modern, pro-abortion population control movement to present a paper at an upcoming Vatican-run conference.
Dr. Paul Ehrlich, author of the 1968 bestseller The Population Bomb is scheduled to speak in Vatican City during the February 27-March 1 conference that will discuss “how to save the natural world.” The Stanford biologist champions sex-selective abortion as well as mass forced sterilization as legitimate methods to curb population growth.
In his 1968 book, Ehrlich went so far as to defend forced abortion, writing: “Indeed, it has been concluded that compulsory population-control laws, even including laws requiring compulsory abortion, could be sustained under the existing Constitution if the population crisis became sufficiently severe to endanger the society.”
Titled Biological Extinction, the February conference will address what Vatican organizers call an unsustainable “imbalance” between the world’s population and what the earth is capable of producing. The event is jointly sponsored by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.
Organizers of the Vatican-run conference predict that if effective steps are not taken to reverse so-called man-made “global climate change,” then up to 40 percent of “all biodiversity on Earth” will be destroyed “by the end of this century,” including a “majority” of species of plants.
“[T]here is no possibility of improving our situation without the widespread adoption of social justice, both as a matter of morality and as a matter of survival,” the event brochure put out by the Vatican states.
With the invitation of Ehrlich to address the conference, how the Pontifical Academies understand “social justice” takes on a sinister aspect.
In The Population Bomb, Ehrlich forecasted “an utter breakdown in the capacity of the planet to support humanity” that would result in starvation for hundreds of millions, predictions that have proved to be false while his theories have been debunked. The biologist predicted in 1968 that half of Americans would die by 1990. India and China would simply die out. By the year 2000, England would also cease to exist. Ehrlic mentioned in his book sex-selection abortion as a potentially effective tool for conserving the world’s resources by reducing population, a position he continues to defend.
In a 2011 interview with Mara Hvistendahl, Ehrlich defended sex-selection abortion, stating that “it would be a good idea to let people have their choice so that they could have fewer children and could have what they wanted,” adding that a sex-selection abortion and possibly even infanticide might be a better fate for females than what awaited them in an overpopulated world.
“You can be aborted as a conceptus, you can be killed at birth, or you can be sold into slavery and die in a slum someplace,” he said. “It would be interesting to know how many females you’re keeping out of hideous situations [when they are not] killed or infanticided.”
In the same interview, Ehrlich also defended the principle behind mass forced sterilization, a concept mentioned in a 1977 book he co-authored titled Ecoscience: Population, Resources, Environment, suggesting that mass sterilization working in tandem with sex-selection technology would be particularly effective for population control interests.
Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute, criticized the Vatican’s choice of Ehrlich as a suitable speaker.
“Ehrlich’s opinions on biological extinction rates are just as exaggerated as his failed predictions of a human population explosion. Why the Vatican should be giving a platform to this secular prophet of doom is beyond me,” he told LifeSiteNews.
“There are plenty of credible Catholic scientists around whose fact-based opinions should be highlighted by their Church. What's next? Inviting Raúl Castro to speak on human rights?” he added.
The Catholic Church not only condemns abortion but coercive population control methods as well.
Instead of seeing people as “mouths to feed,” “pollution producers,” or “carbon footprint makers,” the Church sees each person as a unique and unrepeatable gift from God.
In his watershed 1968 Encyclical Humanae Vitae that taught about the moral evil of using contraception to space birth, Pope Paul VI warned rulers of countries against using illicit methods of birth control to solve the “demographic problem.”
“Do not allow the morality of your peoples to be degraded; do not permit that by legal means practices contrary to the natural and divine law be introduced into the fundamental cell, the family,” he urged at that time.
Paul VI warned the people of the world then that if contraception became a societal norm it would provide governments with a “dangerous weapon” to manipulate population sizes.
“Who will stop rulers from favoring, from even imposing upon their peoples, if they were to consider it necessary, the method of contraception which they judge to be most efficacious? In such a way men, wishing to avoid individual, family, or social difficulties encountered in the observance of the divine law, would reach the point of placing at the mercy of the intervention of public authorities the most personal and most reserved sector of conjugal intimacy,” he wrote.
Pope Francis has also explicitly rejected population control as a method to combat climate change, writing in his encyclical Laudato Si’ that to “blame population growth instead of extreme and selective consumerism on the part of some [for lack of resources] is one way of refusing to face the issues.”
Given the Church’s outright condemnation of abortion, contraception, and the use of coercive population control measures to curb demographics, it remains to be seen why the Pontifical Academies viewed the famed proponent of population control as a suitable speaker for their conference.
This is not the first time an advocate for positions contrary to the Catholic faith has been invited to attend Vatican conferences. The leaders of both Pontifical Academies have, under Francis’ pontificate, surprisingly given prominent platforms to some of the world’s foremost proponents of abortion and population control, including Ban Ki-moon and Jeffrey Sachs.
In 2015, Professor Margaret Archer, president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, slammed the Centre for Family and Human Rights Institute (C-Fam), an American pro-life research institute that monitors the United Nations, after it raised concerns about abortion and population control proponents being given a platform at a Vatican conference on climate change. “I am appointed by the Pope and responsible directly to him. I’m afraid that leaves you and your cohort out in the cold,” she told the organization at that time.
Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, also has a history of inviting abortion and population control proponents to Vatican events. He has been criticized by pro-life advocates for unreservedly endorsing the United Nations’ controversial Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which pro-lifers warn include a not-so-hidden abortion and population control agenda. Last year, Sorondo defended inviting then-Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, an abortion advocate, to address a “social order” conference.
Also attending the Vatican conference is African Cardinal Peter Turkson, who in a BBC interview in 2015 said “birth control” could “offer a solution” to the impacts of climate change. Turkson, who has since become the prefect of the Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development, later revised his statement, saying that when he used the term “birth control,” what he actually meant was spacing of births or “responsible parenthood.”