This question comes up a lot. On the surface, it seems to make sense: we want future generations to be able to enjoy this lovely earth and all the wonders of nature, without overcrowding and destroying the place. Thus, we shouldn’t create more people than will fit on the earth.
Before considering the topic of overpopulation itself, let’s just correct one assumption in that statement. Often people see abortion as a preventative measure, to stop population growth before it happens. The problem with this is that the unborn child already exists. It’s too late to prevent anything: he or she is nestled happily in the womb, chilling out in the amniotic fluid while his/her cells multiply at an amazing rate. So what is really being advocated here is killing humans in order to make the world better for the ones who are already grown. Do you think someone could use overpopulation as a justification for killing a seven-year-old? Why, then, is it a good reason to kill an unborn child?
If you really want to get into a discussion about overpopulation, Steve Mosher has a wonderful collection of videos. This video highlights the fact that many countries are now below replacement rate, meaning that people aren’t having enough children to replace the current generation. As we see already in China, this puts immense pressure on the younger generation to support a huge amount of retirees, and reduces the young workforce, problems that will only be magnified in future generations.
China’s one-child policy, intended to alleviate overpopulation and crowding, has had other devastating effects. Forced abortion has been taking place there for decades. Government officials routinely abduct women who are seven, eight, even nine months pregnant, and take them to hospitals where they are forced to have abortions against their will. ‘Family Planning Officials’ get monetary rewards for limiting births, so the practice is not likely to end soon. Human rights activist Chen Guangcheng drew attention to this in his village, and was swiftly put under house arrest by the Chinese Government. Even Batman couldn’t save the day: when actor Christian Bale tried to visit Chen and show his support, plainclothes police officers physically prevented him from entering the village. Even if Steve Mosher hasn’t convinced you that overpopulation is a myth, surely you can agree that killing children – especially using the Chinese government’s draconian methods – is not a good solution.