Another roundup of culture war news from around the interwebs:
This is very sad news:
The French National Assembly has approved a number of amendments to the nation’s bioethics law, one of which would legalize abortion-on-demand up to birth.
By a vote of 60 in favor and 37 opposed, the legislators agreed to permit abortion at any time for a mother undergoing “psycho-social distress,” a nebulous term that allows healthcare workers total leeway to approve the procedure.
French law distinguishes between l’Interruption volontaire de grossesse (voluntary abortion), which must take place no later than the twelfth week of pregnancy, and l’interruption médicale de grossesse (medical abortion), which may be performed without restrictions up to birth.
Currently, late-term abortions require medical approval limited to cases of severe malformation of the fetus or when a pregnancy puts the mother’s life in danger, but the new law would expand this second form of abortion to include cases where the mother suffers “psycho-social distress.”
Personally, I’m rooting for a pro-life politician like Marion Maréchal (who I interviewed earlier this year) to take a stand against abortion in French politics.
Christian parties in the Netherlands are pushing back against a new euthanasia proposal. From BioEdge:
A Dutch legislator has submitted a private member’s bill to allow “completed life” euthanasia. Pia Dijkstra, of the D66 party, was ready to table her proposal earlier in the year — but it seemed tactless to do so in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. The bill would allow people over 75 who feel that they have come to the end of their life and have a persistent wish to die to ask for euthanasia.
“There is a group of elderly people who have finished their lives. They say: I go to sleep every night with the hope that I won’t wake up again. I want to make euthanasia possible for that group under strict conditions,” Dijkstra told the media. “The problem is getting bigger now that the difference between your biological and your biographical life is increasing thanks to advancing medical conditions.”
Two of the Christian parties in the governing coalition are strongly opposed to the idea. ChristenUnie leader Gert-Jan Segers said: “I find it extremely painful that at a time when older people feel extra vulnerable, D66 is submitting a proposal that we know will lead to increased anxiety in many older people. If corona has made anything clear to us, it is that real attention and good care make the difference in a human life.”
Harry van der Molen, of the CDA party declared: “As far as the CDA is concerned, there will be no completed life law, but we will tackle the causes of loneliness. Especially when people feel alone, abandoned or lost, they need attention or care.”
According Ms Dijkstra, fears that more elderly people will take their own lives are baseless. “It is a small group, someone must be at least 75 years old. … I put extra emphasis in my law on the professional end-of-life counsellor, who enters into discussions with people about their wish to die. He does not assess whether it is possible, but looks where that wish comes from and whether there are alternatives. I also pay more attention to the family and the general practitioner or treating doctor.”
This is where it inevitably ends: Suicide on demand.
The demographic implosion continues, with abortion, contraception, and the breakdown of the family becoming key reasons for what amounts to a population collapse. From Euro News:
New research has forecast the European Union’s population will plummet by millions more than previously predicted. The United Nations has said the number of people in the bloc will drop to 365 million by 2100, down from 446 million today. But a new study, published in the medical journal The Lancet, predicts it will fall more sharply, to 308 million by the end of the century.
Scientists, mostly from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, forecast the fertility rate — the number of children per woman on average — will drop to 1.41 in the EU. Previous UN estimates had put the figure at 1.75. The new analysis predicts that Earth will be home to 8.8 billion people by 2100, with global growth peaking in 2064 at a population of 9.7 billion. Previous UN projections forecast 10.8 billion. Global fertility rates have steadily declined since the 1960s. According to the online publication Our World in Data’s study, this can be put down to three factors: “The empowerment of women (increasing access to education and increasing labour market participation), declining child mortality, and a rising cost of bringing up children (to which the decline of child labour contributed).”
The authors of the new study add another reason for the global trend of declining fertility: “Educational attainment and access to contraception.” Women in the EU27 are generally now having fewer children when they are younger, choosing to have them when they are older, which reduces the potential number of children possible on a biological level, according to Eurostat.
By 2100, 21 out of the 27 EU Member States will see their populations decline, the study predicts. Some countries like Bulgaria, Latvia, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, and Spain will probably even see their populations reduce by more than half by 2100 — up to a 77% decline for Latvia. The figures show that 15 of the EU’s countries, including Italy, Greece, Hungary, Poland and Portugal, are already experiencing a decline. Five countries (Belgium, Denmark, France, Ireland, and Luxembourg) will gain in population size by 2100, despite a reduction in speed of growth. Scientists attribute these small rises to a relatively steady fertility rate and positive net migration forecast in these countries.
Alongside mortality and migration, fertility is a significant figure for demographers. “Many variables have an effect of this rate,” says Catherine Scornet, an Aix-Marseille University lecturer in sociology and demography. “They can either be direct: the marriage age, the access to birth control methods, the right to abortion” or indirect. “Providing school education to women will also lead them to be fulfilled other than through their role of mothers,” she says, and therefore impact the fertility rate.
This too is a worldwide trend. By 2100, 183 countries out of 195 in the study will have a fertility rate lower than the global replacement level (2.1), it predicts. The replacement level is the total fertility rate (the average number of children born per woman) at which a population exactly replaces itself from one generation to the next, without migration.
As many as 23 countries are forecast to have their populations reduced by more than half between 2017 and 2100. Globally India, Nigeria, China, the U.S. and Pakistan are predicted to have the largest populations in 2100 with 1.09 billion, 791 million, 732 million, 336 million and 248 million inhabitants respectively.
A society without children is a society without a future. That is true for an increasing number of societies these days.