The ‘Eugenics’ Mindset Is Alive and Well

Overpopulation and climate change are leading the drive to remain childless.

By Published on May 14, 2024

Last month, comedian and Real Time host Bill Maher made comments about abortion that shocked those on both sides of the issue. First, he shocked the audience by, in a sense, defending pro-lifers, of which he is certainly not one. According to Maher, liberals need to stop misconstruing pro-lifers as hating women because they don’t. Rather, pro-lifers, he said, think that abortion should be illegal because they think it is murder — which, he stated, “It kind of is.”

And if viewers and guests thought his comments could not get more shocking, he then added:

I’m just okay with that. I am. I mean there’s 8 billion people in the world. I’m sorry. We won’t miss you. That’s my position on that.

To which liberal commentator Piers Morgan, one of Maher’s guests, gasped, “That’s quite harsh.”

When Murder Is Permissible

Maher’s comments are as damning as they are telling, and not only for him but the abortion movement overall. Unlike those who deny that abortion takes an innocent life, Maher acknowledged and owned what science, philosophy, ethics, and the Bible clearly tell us. The difference, however, is that for Maher, murder is permissible if done in the interest of reducing the population.

This view is, of course, not new. The concerns that there are too many people on a planet with limited resources and that some of these people are not “fit to reproduce” have long driven abortion advocates. In 2009, late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who supported the court’s historic decision in Roe v. Wade, told The New York Times:

Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of.

The concern about population growth and the management of undesirable populations is better known as eugenics. Abortion has deep roots in the eugenics movement, especially a la Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood. Although Sanger disliked abortion, she advocated for birth control and forced sterilizations of “undesirable” population groups. Today, abortion is the primary business model of the organization she founded.

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Historically speaking, abortion was not about “women’s reproductive rights.” It was about eugenics. Maher’s comments simply reiterate this.

Sadly, Maher is not an outlier. Today, a growing number of young people say that they are worried about having babies because of population growth and climate change. According to a Free Press article by Suzy Weiss, concerns about climate change are a primary driver of childlessness among members of Gen Z. A 2021 poll found that 39% of Gen Zers are reluctant to have kids due to fears of an impending climate catastrophe.

Driven by a “Eugenics” Mindset

In fact, in addition to justifying abortion, concerns about overpopulation and climate change are leading to an increase in voluntary sterilizations. Recent research has found that post-Dobbs, the number of 18- to-30-year-old Americans — of both sexes — pursuing “permanent contraception” procedures has jumped drastically. For every 100,000 women, the number of sterilization procedures per month jumped by over 20%. The month immediately following Dobbs, there was over a 50% increase in sterilization procedures for men.

Voluntary sterilization is driven by the same “eugenics” mindset as abortion. The active resistance to bringing children into the world is the inverse of the willingness to take preborn children out of the womb. Both are fundamentally opposed to the gift of life in the name of overpopulation and climate change concerns.

Contrary to this antinatalist mindset, Christians believe that children are a gift from God and that, as a recent statement of Evangelicals and Catholics Together put it, “how a society treats children is a vital sign of its health”:

Do we desire them? Welcome them? Do we honor parents and champion their vocations as the primary caregivers, teachers, and mentors of children? Are the basic institutions of our society, including corporations and other places of employment, properly attentive to the care of children and the flourishing of family life? Are government policies oriented to the wellbeing of children? Do our churches support marriage? Are we clear and persistent in our proclamation of the Bible’s sexual norms affirming the fruitfulness of the conjugal union and the joy and responsibilities of family life?

These are important questions for anyone who cares about the future.

 

John Stonestreet serves as president of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview. He’s a sought-after author and speaker on areas of faith and culture, theology, worldview, education and apologetics.

Jared Hayden (M.A., Religion) is a Breakpoint contributor at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview.

Originally published on Breakpoint.org: BreakPoint Commentaries. Republished with permission of The Colson Center for Christian Worldview.

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