The whole government mandated birth control debacle in the United States has brought birth control back to the center stage in the global debate. Unfortunately for the debate, neither side argues from a position of holistic facts, but I think the pro-birth control group gets it more wrong than the other.
For example, this Treehugger article makes the point that access to birth control is one of the most important matters for the international community in an effort to control expanding populations and the resulting resource consumption they generate. The only problem is that the article misses the fact that unchecked live births are not the reason the population is growing so quickly.
No, the problem isn’t new babies being born, it’s that the ones already born and grown into adulthood aren’t dying. Does that seem harsh? It may be, but it represents the reason the pro-birth control argument is so fallacitical.
In fact, the fastest growing global population demographic is people over the age of 85 followed by people over the age of 65. In fact, if the current trends in medicine and longevity continue, people over the age of 65 may outnumber people under the age of 65 by the end of this century.
How does birth control solve that problem? What has happened now is that global birth rates are declining, and as they do, the population begins to invert itself. The results have the potential to be catastrophic and unprecedented in human history.
None of this is to say that access to birth control should be limited, but if there is going to be a debate, it should be a debate with all the facts.
We hear a lot about population increases and how much stress that puts on our environment and resources, but what about the potential for population decline? It’s a problem I’ve wondered about for years given the fact that so much of the world’s current population increase, especially in the industrialized world, is as a result of aging rather than children being born. What happens as the population grows by aging even as the working age population shrinks dramatically?