J Walking

Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) reports on “The Abortion War Abroad,” and optimistically highlights pro-life changes:

This spring, Poland will decide whether to amend the constitution to ban the practice altogether.

In Paris last month, thousands marched to ban abortions outright.

And last year Italy placed import restrictions on RU-486, commonly known as “the morning after pill.”

The difference, CBN reports, between Europe’s abortion “wars” and US conflicts over abortion is motivation – European birth rates have been dropping and that has a lot of people – in government, in churches, in financial institutions – scared. Apparently, this growing move towards restricting abortion is an effort to address that problem. For a fascinating, detailed look at EU population issues (published by the EU), click here.

European birth rates are well below “replacement level” – the rate of birth needed to keep population stable – and have been for a while. Fourteen EU countries, including Germany, Hungary, and Poland, saw population deceases in the last year. Italy is on course to see its population drop by one-third by 2050. Meanwhile, government officials throughout the EU see the population stagnation as hindrance to the EU’s continued economic expansion – the math is easy, fewer people means fewer workers and fewer workers means fewer taxes and on and on.

Further complicating European population issues is the so-called “Muslim issue”. Muslim Europeans have a dramatically higher birth rate than Europeans. That combined with waves of Muslim immigration into Europe is causing even greater tension because European Muslims are overwhelmingly disenfranchised and radical Islam is flourishing.

That, in a simplified nutshell, is the European population “problem.” I’m pro-life, but it is fairly obvious that for these issues, restricting abortion isn’t going to solve any of the enormously serious population problems facing Europe. Europe’s issues are more spiritual than anything else – they are matters of family, love, priorities, tolerance. These are matters to take to God – matters where I believe Jesus does have answers. But they are also matters that government is both ill-suited and ill-advised to address.

That isn’t to say government isn’t trying, however. Italy is starting to pay women up to 10 000 Euros to have second children. Perhaps there is nothing wrong with that and there have been other “birth encouragement” policies in the past. But then again Hitler handed out medals to women with large families – in 1939, 3 million women were awarded medals for having four or more children.

More significantly, it begets a scary question – what if that doesn’t work? What if the population continues to decline? What happens then? Europe is on dangerous ground. This is not about an “abortion war,” this is about fundamental ethics and life itself.

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