We “Need” Abortion Because of Overpopulation? Wrong. Here Are The Facts

Caroline Wharton - 20 Jun 2022
Guest post by Students for Life of America’s Contributing Writer Anna Reynolds

GUEST POST: Abortion, the violent destruction of an innocent human life, is never justified and never medically necessary. That has, of course, not stopped people from trying to justify the destruction of preborn babies for other reasons. One claim that persists: abortion is necessary because without it the world would be overpopulated. 

Even if the world were overpopulated, we could not justify killing people. Such a thing would demand we address issues with resources and innovation, rather than genocide. But data show the world is not in fact overpopulated. In order for a population to replace itself from one generation to the next, the fertility rate, the number of babies born per 1,000 women over the course of their lifetime, must be 2.1.  In the United States, the fertility rate has been below replacement for four decades.  


During those same four decades in which the numbers of babies born were not enough to replace the population, elective abortion became legal in all 50 states. Using the myth of overpopulation, abortion activists have been calling for the killing of preborn babies. Not only are abortion activists ethically wrong in attempting to justify killing innocent human beings, but they are also empirically wrong in claiming there are too many babies in the world.  

Some people have noticed the facts and worked to draw attention to the real crisis looming: population decline.  

Elon Musk has been one of the people warning that population decline, not growth is likely to be problematic in the coming years. However, recent events like the pandemic and an increased focus on climate issues has led young people to be less inclined to have children. 


The pandemic brought sudden economic changes and brought many industries to a grinding halt. In the face of such uncertainty, many Americans chose not to delay having children or reconsidered the number of children they would have in the future. The Brookings Institution estimates that 300,000 babies are “missing” the total of all births in the year following the initial wave of the pandemic. Hundreds of thousands of babies who might have been born were not due to changing plans and revised outlook in the pandemic. 

What did not go down during the pandemic? The number of abortions. Recent data show an eight percent increase in the number of abortions between 2017 and 2020, a reversal of a downward trend in abortion numbers. 


Another significant factor in young adults’ decision to delay or forego having children is an emphasis on climate change.  

The infamous and currently childless Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) claimed when discussing climate change, “There’s scientific consensus that the lives of children are going to be very difficult. And it does lead young people to have a legitimate question: is it okay to still have children?” 

Not only is it okay to still have children, but it is also a very good thing for society. Writing for the Hill, Tara D. Sonenshine asks, “Without enough people, who will farm, feed, work, care for and support a resource-constrained planet? Who will pay taxes? Who will care for the sick and the elderly? Who will make goods and who will buy them?” In an economy built on growth, population decline would have far-reaching effects, many of them negative. 


Sonenshine notes, “America is not alone in its population sag. Close to half the world’s population currently lives in countries with low fertility. By some estimates, 91 countries have demonstrated fertility levels below 2.1, considered the fertility rate needed to sustain our society.” The reasons for population decline are nuanced and different for each country. In the United States, it is undeniable that legal elective abortion has played a role in forming a culture that will not replace its population. 

Since Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that made elective abortion legal in all 50 states, almost 64 million babies have been killed in abortion. Fearmongering about the climate, the economy, and overpopulation have led many to argue for more abortion, attempting to justify the spilling of innocent blood.  


Young people deserve to know the truth. Overpopulation is not a threat to our nation or our world. There is uncertainty about global events and climate change, but that uncertain future is best met with more people to put their heads together and solve problems than fewer.  

Killing innocent people is never a solution to a problem, and, as we have seen in the United States, it has tragic consequences. To be a country with a future, we have to welcome the next generation. Abortion is not necessary; it is time abortion activists stop saying it is. 

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