This is the post where I discuss overpopulation, something which is totally misunderstood by the anti-choice movement. I thought this was going to be one post long. This is the third post and counting in a row, clocking at over 5000 words so far just debunking a freaking twelve page publication. Huzzah.
Prepare yourselves. Yesterday it was all about the conspiracy theories. Today it’s about bad science and a fundamental misunderstanding of various terms.
“The Overpopulation Myth” is the next article up. I feel like I’m about to swim in a river polluted with stupid. But let’s get started before I go nuts.
First off, an explanation is in order. Overpopulation, in biological terms, means that the number of individuals in a certain species has outgrown the carrying capacity of the environment that said species has a niche in. The carrying capacity for a species in a certain environment can change, depending on various factors such as weather, disease, technology, etc.
Let me give you a rather nuanced, simplistic analogy pertaining to humans. You can have the most pristine children ever. They could have great genes or whatnot. But if you don’t have enough food to feed them, you’ve exceeded your carrying capacity, and someone’s going to die of starvation. If you don’t have enough coats to keep them warm, someone’s going to die of frostbite. If you don’t have enough fresh clean water to drink, someone’s going to die of thirst. If you don’t have enough medication to treat their illness, someone could very well die of disease. Etc.
Worldwide, this means that if we run out of some essential resource (like, let’s say nitrogen in our soil, or fresh water), we’re screwed. Without said essential resource, humans will die off, until we reach the carrying capacity for that particular resource.
This is the reason why, even though we have more than enough land to house everybody, we don’t actually want to do that. So if anyone tells you that the earth can hold more people since we could put the entire world population in a space the size of Texas ergo overpopulation is a total lie, you can pretty much call them a stupid dumbass.
This is also the reason why conservation efforts are so important. The American lifestyle is EXTREMELY unsustainable. If everyone on this planet lived just like you and me, we’d all be screwed, because we don’t have enough resources to do that. Just the amount of meat that Americans consume alone is excessive, and if we had to raise that much livestock to feed everyone on this planet the same way, we’d need to have a few more Earths standing by just to have enough resources (e.g. land for the livestock to walk around in, food for the livestock to eat, water to drink) to do that. Now imagine if everyone ate grains like Americans, drove like Americans, use energy like Americans, made as much trash as Americans, etc. It all adds up.
This is the overpopulation that biologists refer to. Those in the anti-choice camp put up a straw scientist, however, in order to dismiss the idea of overpopulation in order to justify their “ban abortion for everybody” stance.
Now with that out of the way, let’s get debunking.
[…] the 21st century brought the realization that the increase of population was actually due to dramatically increased life expectancies. Earth 2000 acknowledged that, “World population increased not because people were breeding like rabbits, but because they stopped dying like flies.”
And this disproves overpopulation how? Just because we have more older people to feed doesn’t mean that overpopulation does not exist. Overpopulation refers to being unable to sustain EVERYBODY, not just the young people.
I mean, it’s not like the people in the anti-choice camp is going to say that old people aren’t actually human beings and with absolutely no needs, right?
According to Philip Longman of the New America Foundation. “Global fertility rates are half of what they were in 1972.”
And? Not all of that is going to be accounted for by women being allowed access to birth control and abortion. Especially in the developed world, women are more educated now, more women have access to careers, more women have making the choice to delay and/or not have any children, etc. Getting a better education takes time, and it often causes a lower birthrate. Having a career means less time to devote to kids, which means lower birthrate. People choosing to marry and have kids later will cause a lower birthrate.
Then we get to the fact of industrialization. The more industrialized, the more urban areas there are, and people in urban areas don’t have so many kids. Then we get to the economy. Higher costs of living makes it more difficult to get married and have babies. And so on and so forth.
Not everything is related to abortion, is what I’m trying to say.
To merely maintain its population, a nation’s fertility rate must be at least 2.1 children per woman.
Does that mean that we’re going to force women to get pregnant now, just so that you can get your fertility numbers up? Give medals to women who pop out eight kids? Bar women from access to higher education and jobs so that they’d have no choice but to sit at home and make babies? Baby quotas? Forced artificial insemination? Forced marriages?
And I thought that the anti-choice people hated the idea of people being forced to do something that they didn’t want to do. I guess it doesn’t count if you’re forcing women to make more and more babies.
Also, I did do a search to find out where that 2.1 rate comes from. Apparently, the sub-replacement fertility rate for developed countries is a total fertility rate under 2.1, whereas in less developed countries, the rate has to be higher to account for higher mortality rates. But the Wikipedia page I linked to ALSO says that in many countries with lower fertility rates (e.g. most developed countries), the population is still growing due to immigration, population momentum, and higher life expectancy.
Do I need to mention again that overpopulation affects everybody, not just the young people? Or that overpopulation does not mean “too many people living in an area”? Or that overpopulation does not mean “too little babies in the world”?
In addition, one must consider that 60% of the US population growth since 1990 has come from immigrants and their children.
Is this the subtle tinge of racism that I see here? I feel like this is a dog whistle for white supremacists who claim that we’re killing off the white race by having so many immigrants and how horrible it would be if whites were no longer in the majority.
Given that the next article is “Reproductive Racism”, which talks about how terrible eugenics is and subtly calls Margret Sanger a racist who wanted to kill all of the black people (and which I will go over tomorrow), this is quite ironic.
Global demographic trends are continually studied at the highest levels of leadership […] These studies show that population growth, which supplies an increasing source of workers and consumers, is vital to maintaining a stable economy, national strength and security, and ultimately a free society.
Just how free could you be if you’re starving and unable to eat?
Also, national strength and security is linked to banning abortion now? Considering that much of that requires people to go die out in the battlefields, are you, the anti-choice advocate, calling for women to become incubators for the military? Really?
In addition, our country is still growing population wise. We still have a steady stream of consumers, thanks to immigrants and longer living people. I’m pretty sure that we’ll be okay, even if a woman decides to abort her unwanted pregnancy today.
Maintaining sufficient workers to share the economic burden of providing Social Security and medical care for the elderly proves crucial to a population that exhibits increased life expectancy.
Then increase the retirement age to be around 70 or something you dumbass.
I should also add, before I forget, that economics is not that simple. More people in the job market does not a stronger economy make. You’d still need to have people willing to hire, you still need to have enough demand for your goods and enough raw resources to keep up with demand. Etc. And overpopulation deals with the fact that we don’t have enough raw products to sustain everyone. If we run out of a much needed resource, it’s not just the old people that’s going to be screwed. It’s everyone.
“You can’t have a country where everybody lives in a nursing home.”
You can’t have a country (or a world for that matter) where there’s nothing to eat either.
End of part 3, hold on for part 4.