Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

News

Venerable Royal Society issues report calling for population control

Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

LONDON, May 8, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – One of the world’s oldest and most venerated scientific institutions has joined the chorus of the population control movement, calling for a “stabilisation” of the human population, “reduction of fertility” in Africa and reduced consumption of energy in the developed world.

Meanwhile, the report is being blasted by critics who say it is nothing more than the same population-paranoia that has been sold for decades by the radical environmentalist movement, fuelled by bad science.

Launched two years ago, the Royal Society’s review of human population issues was to be “a comprehensive and scientific review of the evidence,” by a panel of 23 academics in economics, population studies and conservation sciences.

The report says that the world is headed for a “vortex of economic, socio-political and environmental ills,” if the developed, western countries do not reduce the energy they consume, and if the human population overall is not “reduced.”

“The number of people living on the planet has never been higher, their levels of consumption are unprecedented and vast changes are taking place in the environment,” the report says.

“We can choose to rebalance the use of resources to a more egalitarian pattern of consumption … or we can choose to do nothing and to drift into a downward spiral of economic and environmental ills leading to a more unequal and inhospitable future.

“Reproductive health and voluntary family planning programmes urgently require political leadership and financial commitment, both nationally and internationally. This is needed to continue the downward trajectory of fertility rates, especially in countries where the unmet need for contraception is high.”

The Royal Society is one of the oldest continuously running scientific organizations in the world, having been founded at the dawn of the modern age by a royal charter in 1660 by King Charles II. British governments have been using the Society as the lead consultant on scientific issues since 1775, and today the Society serves as the country’s national science academy, funding research fellowships and scientific start-up companies. The influence of the Royal Society is without peer, and its recommendations to governments are taken up not only in Britain but around the world.

Jules Pretty, a member of the working group that developed the population report, said there is a need to “reduce fertility” in poorer nations, particularly in Africa and to reduce the production of CO2 gases in the rich countries.

“When we slow down population growth we empower women and provide more money for least developed countries to invest in education. The majority of women want fewer children,” Pretty said.

The Royal Society has not revealed the background of all the members of the working group, but at least one is associated with an extremist population reduction organization. Jonathon Porritt is the former chair of Britain’s Sustainable Development Commission and a member of the Optimum Population Trust, the notorious pressure group that campaigns for governments to adopt enforced population reduction policies like China’s One Child policy.

Tom Worstall, a Senior Fellow at the Adam Smith Institute in London, lambasted the report as a “dismal failure,” arguing that it failed to take into account the complex relationships between population, resource availability, and economic growth.

“These sorts of errors would lead to a marking down in an undergraduate essay and to the failure of a PhD defence. The Royal Society should withdraw this report and work on fixing both the factual and logical errors before trying to tell the rest of us how to live our lives.”

The report drastically oversimplified the relationship between population and consumption of resources, he said. Far from being a simple matter of “handing out condoms to all and sundry,” the population issue is “actually a complex interaction of rising incomes, falling child mortality rates and even opportunity costs”.

He also accused the report of failing to take into account the fact that handing out condoms will not significantly slow down population growth in the most fertile countries that have not adopted the contraceptive mentality. Ninety percent of the world’s fertility, he said, is intentional. Demographers have noted that the countries that have embraced contraception as a lifestyle, those in North America, Europe and the Far East, are already experiencing negative population growth.

But it is in “the discussions of economic growth and resource consumption” that the report becomes “almost schizophrenic,” he said. The report calls for the transition to a “steady-state” economic model, but fails at the same time to understand what that means, Worstall said.

“A steady-state economy is not one in which growth stops: it is one in which resource use is limited but economic growth carries on indefinitely as we find new ways to add value to our limited resources.”

The report, in demanding the cessation of economic growth, fails also to make a distinction between “quantitative” growth, the simple increase in production of goods and services, and “qualitative growth,” what Worstall describes as “making better things out of those limited resources”.

“In fact,” he writes, “there is no environmental or resource limit to such growth at all – and that’s the same as growing GDP by increasing the value rather than the quantity produced.”

Raheem Kassam, a writer for the Wall Street Journal and an anti-extremism activist, wrote on The Commentator website, “Based on what can only be described as the irresponsible usage of population growth predictions, the Royal Society has sanctioned a report that both undermines its credibility and attempts to dupe Western consumers into remorse over our ‘lavish’ lifestyles.

“The Royal Society boasts that Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Ernest Rutherford, Albert Einstein, Dorothy Hodgkin, Francis Crick and James Watson were life members. It is my contention that these innovators and pioneers would be embarrassed of the pessimistic approach taken by modern scientists, many of whom see themselves as activists and are indeed children of ideology rather than professionals with a commitment to the scientific method.”

Demographers maintain that the current rate of growth of the human population is set to decline rapidly over the next few decades. The experts say that the rate of growth is slowing markedly around the world and will level off at 8 to 9 billion by 2050 then start to decline. Among many governments in Europe, particularly those of former Soviet Bloc nations, there is increasing alarm at the demographic prospects. Fewer babies inevitably means fewer workers and consumers for goods and services with consequently shrinking economies.

Some countries, like Italy and France, are starting to look at ways of propping up the birth rate by creating government baby bonuses while retaining legalized abortion and widespread use of artificial contraceptives. In other countries, like Russia, where the problem of population shrinkage is already being seen, are looking at limiting abortion access.



Share this article

Advertisement
Featured Image
Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben

News

Planned Parenthood closes rural Iowa abortion facility because of low business

Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben

DUBUQUE, Iowa, May 3, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Planned Parenthood closed an Iowa abortion facility on Friday, noting low business that left the facility unsustainable from a financial standpoint.

Although Planned Parenthood of the Heartland announced in January that it planned to close the Dubuque, Iowa, office, pro-life sidewalk counselors were overjoyed on Friday to read the sign in the window that read: “Our office is closed, effective April 28, 2016.”

The office did not perform surgical abortions but did provide medication abortions to the community of about 58,000.

“Rejoice with us for the lives of unborn children saved!” Iowa Right to Life said in a statement after the closure.

As with numerous other closures, Planned Parenthood, which styles itself a provider of “care no matter what,” emphasized it was closing its doors to preserve its bottom line.

“After assessing the shifting health care landscape, changing demographics, and the challenges of operating in areas with low patient volumes, we made the tough decision to close the Dubuque Health Center,” the group said in an announcement. “This change allows us to expand hours and see more patients in Cedar Rapids, where there is unmet demand due to lack of clinician hours.”
“While we regret making this change, we know it is a necessary step in order to continue our mission to provide, promote and protect reproductive and sexual health through health services, education and advocacy. Patients have been notified, and if they wish, they can receive a broader array of services at our health center in Cedar Rapids, where we have expanded hours to accommodate more patient,” Planned Parenthood said.

American Life League’s vice president, Jim Sedlak, remembers speaking to the county right to life group nine years ago.

“I told them at the time that they needed to protest outside Planned Parenthood at least once a week,” he said. “They told me they would do better than that. Over the last eight years, these dedicated pro-lifers were outside Planned Parenthood every hour it was open. And now...it’s closed for good.”

That aligns with advice that David Bereit, the founder of 40 Days for Life, once told young people who wanted to know how to end abortion.

Be loving and compassionate, he said.

Your peaceful, loving presence out there flies in the face of all the stereotypes they want to throw onto us,” he added. “When you show them love instead of condemnation, when you show them peace and joy instead of anger and judgment, that will begin to break down the walls.”

Iowa Right to Life credited just such tactics with closing an office in Red Oak that performed webcam abortions. “Planned Parenthood shut down in Red Oak in large part because of the constant, prayerful presence outside their clinic,” the group said.

Upon hearing of the latest abortion facility shuttering, the Dubuque County Right to Life said that Planned Parenthood isn't the only group that will move its base of operations. “We will probably put our efforts in Cedar Rapids and will continue to spread the pro-life message,” said Executive Director Marian Bourek.



Advertisement
Featured Image
Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben

News, , ,

Ted Cruz confronted by mom who supports aborting disabled babies…just like hers

Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben

MARION, Indiana, May 3, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Senator Ted Cruz was met on the campaign trail by a mother who strongly opposed a state pro-life law that would have protected children with birth conditions – like her own.

Andrea DeBruler, a 41-year-old nurse, confronted the presidential hopeful in the city of Marion as Cruz campaigned with Gov. Mike Pence.

DeBruler first asked Cruz, then Pence, about House Bill 1337, which bans abortions performed due to the child's race, sex, or disability, such as Down syndome.

DeBruler held up a picture of her daughter, Jania, who was born with cerebral palsy. “This was a choice,” she said.

She asked Sen. Cruz if he supported the bill, which made Indiana the second state in the nation to ban abortion for Down syndrome, after North Dakota.

“I'm not Governor Pence,” he replied. “But I'll tell you this: I believe in protecting human life.”

Pence, who endorsed Cruz in today's make-or-break Indiana primary, listened to her objections.

“I'm not here as a Republican, I'm not here as a Democrat. I'm here as a woman, a woman with choices, choices that you guys should not make,” DeBruler said.

After hearing that she felt many families lacked sufficient resources to care for children, especially in an area like Marion, Gov. Pence offered to connect her with social services.

“God bless her,” he said, looking at Jania's picture, “and God bless you.”

Though it may be unusual to encounter a woman arguing for the right to abort her own child, the governor handled it calmly. Pence had specifically reflected on “precious moments” he spent with “families of children with disabilities, especially those raising children with Down syndrome” when he signed the bill into law in March.

"We are truly thankful for the passage of this historic legislation by the Indiana House and applaud the new civil rights protections this bill creates for unborn children, as well as the new provisions this bill establishes for the humane final disposition of aborted babies," Indiana Right to Life President Mike Fichter said at the time.

DeBruler told the UK media outlet The Independent that H.B. 1337 “means you can no longer have an abortion based on deformity. I’m against this law, because I think it should be a woman’s choice” to abort for any reason.

Congressional Democrats made similar statements during hearings last month for Rep. Trent Franks' federal Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA), with Congressman John Conyers saying the bill is “patently unconstitutional,” because a woman has the right to abort a child before viability for any reason.

Both leading contenders for the Democratic nomination expressed their displeasure with the law, which protects unborn children from racial or sexual discrimination, as well as discrimination on the basis of an inborn trait like mental capacity.

When Gov. Pence signed the law, Sen. Bernie Sanders tweeted:

Hillary Clinton later said, “I commend the women of this state, young and old, for standing up against this governor and this legislature.”

DeBruler told The Independent, despite her comment about not being a Democrat or a Republican, she is in fact a Democrat and will vote for Hillary Clinton in today's primary. 



Advertisement
Featured Image
This year, as Notre Dame prepares to confer an honor on Vice President Joe Biden, the silence from the Catholic hierarchy is deafening. Drop of Light / Shutterstock.com
Phil Lawler

Opinion,

The moral challenge to Cardinal Wuerl in pending Notre Dame outrage

Phil Lawler

Ask Notre Dame not to honor pro-abortion Vice President Joe Biden. Sign the petition!

May 3, 2016 (CatholicCulture) -- In 2009, when the University of Notre Dame invited President Barack Obama to deliver a commencement address, dozens of American bishops lodged loud public protests. Yet this year, as Notre Dame prepares to confer an even greater honor on Vice President Joe Biden (together with former House Speaker John Boehner), the silence from the hierarchy is deafening.

Back in 2009, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Houston said that Notre Dame’s invitation to President Obama was “very disappointing,”, while then-Archbishop Timothy Dolan termed it a “big mistake.” The late Bishop John D’Arcy, then leader of the Indiana diocese in which the university is located, spoke of “the terrible breach which has taken place between Notre Dame and the Church.” For the first time in his 25 years of service to the Fort Wayne-South Bend diocese, Bishop D’Arcy declined to attend the Notre Dame commencement exercises; instead he addressed a protest rally organized by pro-life students, faculty, alumni, and staff.

These prelates and others explained their dismay by referring to the statement “Catholics in Political Life,” released in 2004 by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. In that document, the bishops reflected on the need to maintain a consistent public witness in defense of human life, and therefore to distance themselves from public officials who support legal abortion. The statement set forth a clear policy that Catholic institutions should not give public honors to “pro-choice” politicians:

The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.

By giving President Obama an honorary degree and offering him an opportunity to speak at graduation, Notre Dame clearly violated that policy. University officials could offer only garbled partial defenses, claiming that they were honoring Obama not because he supports unrestricted abortion, but because he is President of the United States.

This year the university cannot offer even that lame defense of the decision to award the Laetare Medal to Vice President Biden. Unlike Obama, Biden is a Catholic, and by granting him this award the university is explicitly saying that the Vice President has “illustrated the ideals of the Church and enriched the heritage of humanity.” In other words, Notre Dame is honoring Vice President Biden as a Catholic political leader despite his unwavering support for abortion and same-sex marriage.

Give credit to Bishop Kevin Rhoades, the current leader of the Fort Wayne-South Bend diocese, for raising a lonely voice of protest. “I believe it is wrong for Notre Dame to honor any ‘pro-choice’ public official with the Laetare Medal, even if he/she has other positive accomplishments in public service,” Bishop Rhoades said. But if any other bishops have joined him in that rebuke to Notre Dame, I must have missed their public announcements.

Some observers, of liberal political sympathies, have argued that it is wrong to honor John Boehner, too, because the former Speaker disagreed with the US bishops’ stand on immigration. This is a tired old argument, conflating disagreement with the bishops on a prudential political decision with defiance of Church teaching on a fundamental moral principle. But it is noteworthy that Notre Dame officials saw fit to make a joint award, no doubt in a cynical effort to dodge political criticism by choosing one honoree from each side of the political spectrum.

“We live in a toxic political environment where poisonous invective and partisan gamesmanship pass for political leadership,” said Father John Jenkins, the president of Notre Dame, in announcing the Laetare Award recipients. (Notice the pre-emptive suggestion that those who criticize the school’s choices may be engaged in “poisonous invective.”) He went on to make a tortured argument that although Notre Dame is honoring two politicians, it is not honoring them for what they have done in their political careers:

In recognizing both men, Notre Dame is not endorsing the policy positions of either, but celebrating two lives dedicated to keeping our democratic institutions working for the common good through dialogue focused on the issues and responsible compromise.

By now we all know the familiar dodges. The politician claims to oppose abortion personally, but to feel a delicate reticence about imposing his views on others. He says that we must be willing to compromise (even on life-and-death decisions). He insists that he is not “pro-abortion” but “pro-choice.”

That last bubble of rhetoric was unceremoniously burst by Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, DC, when he celebrated Mass at Georgetown after Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richard had delivered a lecture there. “The word ‘choice’ is a smokescreen,” he said, “behind which those killing unborn children take refuge. Every chance you get, blow that smoke away!”

Now Cardinal Wuerl himself has a chance to “blow that smoke away.” As things stand, he is scheduled to celebrate Mass at the Notre Dame commencement, and to receive an honorary degree. He could pull out; he could absent himself from the ceremonies, to ensure that he does not become part of an event that pays homage to a “pro-choice” Catholic politician.

And there is a precedent. Back in 2009, the Harvard legal scholar (and former US ambassador to the Holy See) Mary Ann Glendon was chosen to receive the Laetare Award. But when she learned that President Obama would be speaking, she announced her decision to decline the award. Clearly annoyed that her presence might be used to quiet the critics of the honor for Obama, Ambassador Glendon wrote that she did not want to be used as a counterweight, nor did she see the Notre Dame commencement as an appropriate venue for a genteel debate about legal abortion:

A commencement, however, is supposed to be a joyous day for the graduates and their families. It is not the right place, nor is a brief acceptance speech the right vehicle, for engagement with the very serious problems raised by Notre Dame’s decision—in disregard of the settled position of the U.S. bishops—to honor a prominent and uncompromising opponent of the Church’s position on issues involving fundamental principles of justice.

Could Cardinal Wuerl do this year what Ambassador Glendon did in 2009? Even at this late date, his withdrawal would send a powerful message of support for the right to life: an unmistakable rebuke to politicians who hide behind the smokescreen that the cardinal himself identified. To be sure, if he did withdraw, the cardinal would be caught in an avalanche of public criticism; he would suffer for his public witness. But there is a reason why cardinals wear red.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at CatholicCulture.org. Reprinted with permission from Catholic Culture.



Share this article

Advertisement

Customize your experience.

Login with Facebook