Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Rejoinder to "pro life" pitch

I wrote this as a letter to the editor (250 word limit) in a local newspaper, in response to a letter by a Catholic couple assailing Planned Parenthood, making all the usual assertions and mistruths about abortion. In this response I chose to sidestep their talking points by making some of my own that I believe trump all of that. The headline also conforms to this local newspaper's length limits (it fits on one line of a typical newspaper column):

Overpopulation reality

Dear Editor: Anti-abortionistas like to flatter themselves with the catchphrase “pro-life” It does describe their good intentions—the kind the road to Hell is paved with.
Their validity depends on overpopulation denialism. Acknowledging the overpopulation crisis would nullify their narrow fixation on abortion. The typical’ rejoinder is that not everyone in every country is having too many children. They’re grasping at straws. Russia’s declining overpopulation doesn’t change the fact that our species would need 1.4 Earths to support its current population at everyone’s current standard of living, including the billion that are starving. And even today’s humongous population isn’t stable—it’s increasing by over 140 people a minute.
Unless anti-abortion zealots can figure out a way for us all not to have to share this one planet, or to add another half-Earth to this one, the pockets of population decline won’t prevent inexorable catastrophe—the collapse of fertilizer/antibiotic-intensive industrial farming/ranching, of trawling-based high tech fishing, potable water resources, and rapid extinction of tropical rainforests (that produce 70% of the oxygen we breathe).
And America isn’t one of those pockets of decline. Our population has quadrupled since 1900—about the same rate as the human race as a whole. Worse yet, the Bay Area has 11 times more people than in 1900, doubling just since 1962. (Yet New Urbanists believe we need more.)
The anti-abortionistas’ philosophy of endless growth is the philosophy of cancer. Slowly but surely it’s dooming us.

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