Evangelium Vitae #16
Another present-day phenomenon, frequently used to justify attacks and threats against life, is the demographic question. This question arises in different ways in different parts of the world. In the rich and developed countries there is a disturbing decline or collapse of the birthrate. The poorer countries, on the other hand, generally have a high rate of population growth, difficult to sustain the the context of low economic and social development, and especially where there is extreme underdevelopment. In the face of over-population in the poorer countries, instead of forms of global intervention at the international level – serious family and social policies, programmes of cultural development and of fair production and distribution of resources – anti-birth policies continue to be enabled.
Contraception, sterilisation and abortion are certainly part of the reason why in some cases there is a sharp decline in the birthrate. It is not difficult to be tempted to use the same methods and attacks against human life also where there is a saturation of “demographic explosion.”
The Pharaoh of old, haunted by the presence and increase of children of Israel, submitted them to every kind of oppression and ordered that every male child born of the Hebrew women was to be killed (cf. Ex. 1:7-22). Today not a few of the powerful of the earth act in the same way. They too are haunted by the current demographic growth, and fear that the most prolific and poorest peoples represent a threat for the well-being and peace of their own countries. Consequently, rather than wishing to face and solve these serious problems with respect for the dignity of individuals and families and for every person’s inviolable right to life, they prefer to promote and impost by whatever means a massive programme of birth control. Even the economic help which they would be ready to give is unjustly made conditional on the acceptance of an anti-birth policy.