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Celebrate the Living, But Mourn the Dead

The media is abuzz with news about humanity's numbers. Sometime during the latter part of this year or early next year—the exact date is still a little fuzzy—there will be, for the first time in history, 7 billion people alive on the planet at the same time.

Left-wing pundits are already splashing ink all over this subject. National Geographic is taking the entire year to decry this increase in numbers, spinning off countless articles, sleek videos, and photo sets warning of the “overpopulation” disasters that supposedly await us.

Other organizations are in full panic mode as well. Panelists at an American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting, abandoning scientific objectivity in favor of junk science, railed about the exponential growth of population and its effect on the environment. Within hours of this meeting, the Internet was ablaze with scary headlines. Yahoo News warned us that the “Planet Could Be 'Unrecognizable' by 2050.” The Teheran Times cried out “Can Humanity Survive a Population of Over 10 Billion People?” (That Iran, thanks to a nationwide sterilization campaign organized by the ayatollahs, is now having too few children to maintain the current population seems to have escaped the paper's notice.)

At PRI we have a different take on Baby Seven Billion. While the world's population doubled and then doubled again in the past century, more people has meant more prosperity. Human beings are currently wealthier, healthier, and better educated than ever before. The percentage of people trapped in poverty continues to decline.

In fact, what we worry about is not a future of too many children, but too few. Human birthrates across all continents are collapsing. Not only will our numbers never double again, we are unlikely to even make it much past 8 billion or so.

Were it not for abortion, of course, we would already be at 8 billion. Worse than any primitive tribe, we moderns have developed a bad habit of killing our offspring, and doing so at an alarming rate. According to Alan Guttmacher Institute's latest report, there are 42 million induced abortions a year worldwide.

The 2011 report of the Planned Parenthood think tank also states that the number of abortions was even higher in the recent past: “The number of induced abortions declined worldwide between 1995 and 2003, from nearly 46 million to approximately 42 million. About one in five pregnancies worldwide end in abortion.”

We really don't know how much credence to give these numbers. After all, Guttmacher has no way of getting accurate statistics from many countries with high abortion rates. The Chinese government alone probably performs 10 to 14 million abortions a year on its women. The real global total could be higher than 42 million.

But let's assume that Guttmacher is roughly correct and do some simple calculations. At 40 million abortions a year, it would only take 25 years to eliminate one billion babies.

Since the abortion business really took off around 1960 or so, we have probably eliminated nearly twice that number, or two billion unborn human beings.

Think about it. Over the past half-century, quietly and without fanfare, in ordinary towns and cities, in dozens of countries around the world, perhaps two billion children have been killed. They have died unknown, often unmourned, and acknowledged only from time to time.

The 20th century was violent by any measure. Thirty-seven million people were killed in World War I. Over 60 million perished in World War II. Six million Jews and another six million Catholics died in Hitler's death camps. Twenty million died at the hands of the Soviet authorities. Sixty-five million Chinese were killed by the Communist Party, while forty-two million more starved to death during Mao's Great Leap Forward. And so on.

But these numbers are dwarfed by the sheer volume of children who have been killed this past half-century.

At the very least, this number of abortions is a demographic event of gigantic proportions. As the human race celebrates its 7 billionth member this fall, we should take a moment to remember the billion or two who fell—and are still falling—victim to the abortionists' knives.

May they rest in peace.

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