DISCLAIMER: In this article, we will take for granted that the definition of abortion is to deliberately abort a fetus, and that the fetus has no nervous system and is technically not alive. It is no more alive than hair, skin or an umbilical cord, things we have no moral problems with throwing away. Umbilical cords for example ARE used for stem cell research. However, after settling this issue, I want to point out this article is not about discussing the morality of abortion. Religious groups in America would make condoms, the Pill and ALL forms of contraceptives illegal if they were given the chance. This is purely an article which mentions abortion as a form of birth control, and therefore a way of controlling the birth rate of America.
The world population, if it continues to grow at the same rate (it currently grows 6% every 5 years), will grow at the following rate:
In the United States, the population growth rate is currently 0.92% (or 4.69% every 5 years). Its estimated population is 295,734,134 (July 2005 est.).
The US population, at its current rate, is expected to grow like this:
The birth rate in the United States is currently 14.14 births per 1000 people/year (or 4,181,678 births per year). The abortion rate in the United States is over 6 million per year. If abortions were to suddenly become illegal in the United States the birth rate would more than double, and the population growth rate would increase to approximately 2.52% (or 13.25% over 5 years).
Unless people protest to keep abortion legal, and unless they take mass trips to Canada or Mexico to get abortions out of the country, or go to illegal abortion clinics within the US, the population might grow like this:
And so you see, the United States population could dramatically grow if the birth rate received a sudden unexpected boost. As it currently stands, the United States is ALREADY suffering due to overpopulation. If anything, we should have LESS people than our current number. It is only due to rampant growth of the babyboomers and the Generation X that the US population is currently overpopulated.
In comparison, China's growth rate is only 0.58%, less than two-thirds of the United States. Indeed, in China birth rates have been dropping due to increased usage of condoms, the Pill and abortion. It is foreseeable that China will some day have a population growth rate of 0%, a stable growth rate with equal numbers of births and deaths, which will contribute to a stable economy.
In the United States, we support families who decide to have larger families, but what we don't realize is the drain that is on the economy. Overpopulation leads to unemployment, child welfare drains money from political coffers and other economic problems. Families need to be encouraged to have 2 or less children. Right now, women in the United States have an average of 2.08 children. We are very close to reaching a 2.00/female status quo, and maintaining it.
Even at the current growth rate, we are going to start to encounter food shortage problems by 2040. Food companies will have to start producing more "fake food", similar to Soylent Green, Kraft Dinner, McDonalds french fries (its made from fried starch, not potatoes), etc. The idea basically is to have easily creatable food stuffs based on chemicals, and not actually grown in a farmer's field. The problem with such chemically based synthetic foods is that they contain very little nutrients and too much fat.
Already the United States is suffering from the "fastfood complex" in which they consume large amounts of fat and very little nutrients. So technically the United States is not suffering from a food shortage yet, they're suffering from malnutrition and fattening foods. The problem is so bad that 59% of adult Americans are overweight and 26% of them are clinically obese.
Why? Because there is a shortage of nutritious food and an abundance of fast, pre-processed food that has so many chemical additives that it barely resembles the original source.
Hence the saying: "Where does the Chicken Nugget come from?"
And the United States isn't the only place suffering from issues of malnutrition. The problem has spread to Canada, Europe, South America and the first signs of obesity has even been seen in Asia and even parts of Africa, where people traditionally eat the native foods of the region.
Rice is fattening, but at least its real food. Chinese people are dramatically healthier than Americans when you count the obesity rates, overweight problems, smoking problems, etc. The latter, smoking, has started to pick up in China and the favourite fast food in China is fried chicken. Again, fried chicken is not very healthy, but again it is at least real food, and the percentage of chemicals that they add to it is a lot less compared to the United States. It is definitely healthier to eat Chinese Fried Chicken compared to the chemically modified chicken nuggets provided by KFC.
Eating healthy is sometimes considered to be more expensive, but when you add up the bulk of junk food/fast food that an obese/overweight person eats, it is still dramatically more than a healthy person eating wholesome healthy food does.
And by healthy wholesome food, I mean "meat'n'potatoes", salads, homemade hamburgers, oktoberfest sausages, quality pizza (not greasy), fried rice, steamed rice, fresh bread, milk, chocolate milk, etc. Foods that taste great and are nutritious.
And these are the foods I eat on a regular basis, and I weigh a healthy 180 lbs and I am 6'2". If I was 20 lbs heavier and if most of that 20 lbs was fat, I would be officially overweight. If I weighed 40 lbs less, I would be offically underweight. Indeed, according to my life insurance agent, I am EXTREMELY healthy because I don't smoke, I rarely ever drink and I eat healthy foods.
Two years ago, I lived in South Korea and enjoyed sampling the foods there. One thing I noticed however is the hamburgers over there have very little real beef in them. It actually tastes more like SPAM, or even... a veggie-burger. It was quite awful. So I didn't eat the hamburgers there, but what I did find was a "rib-burger", made from ribless strip of beef on a 8" subway style bun. It costed more than a regular hamburger, but at least it was real beef.
In southern parts of Africa, birth control and eating habits are also a big issue. #1. AIDS/HIV has ravaged the society. In some countries, 44% of the adult population has AIDS/HIV. The ONLY solution is condoms.
Abstinence DOES NOT WORK. People will just have sex anyway. Its a fact of life, people will have sex regardless of what you tell them. Condoms are the ONLY way to prevent AIDS from spreading. The Catholic Church disagrees and says condoms are a sin, and so people have sex anyway without a condom, and thus the disease spreads rapidly amongst Christians.
#2. There is agricultural abundance in southern Africa, but many of the people are dying from AIDS and can't work the fields and harvest crops. There is a shortage of farmers to do the work.
#3. Foreign aid from the United States has never arrived. Other countries promised aid to Africa to help buy medical supplies and food for over 4 million orphans, but the United States has reneged on its promises. George W. Bush promised billions of dollars in funding, but has never delivered. Instead he is spending his money in Iraq's oil fields.
#4. The orphan situation in southern Africa is so dire that children are eating things they shouldn't be, being used as slaves for western sweatshops (in exchange for a pittance of food) to make clothes such as Levis, GAP and Tommy Hilfiger. The children are even being used as child prostitutes, which causes AIDS to spread even more.
I want to point out however that southern Africa is NOT overpopulated. They are actually underpopulated, and its becoming worse because their death rate currently outnumbers their birth rate. They need to control the AIDS epidemic and educate the teenagers and children about using condoms so that they will reach adulthood safely. And after they reach adulthood, the country will have to practice "sustainable reproduction" so that they have plenty of people, and equitable number of children being born, and an abundance of quality food.
And while there is desert in Africa where food can't be grown, its a sad truth that the United States is also facing a food shortage in the future due to the fact that the desert in the mid-western United States is growing. Its getting larger due to global warming, increased temperatures and lack of rain. Right now the United States has already endured 5 years of drought. The Colorado River is the lowest it has ever been.
The growing desert means less farmland, which means less food is being grown. Five years of drought has made many farmers nervous that its reverting to the problems they had in the 1930s when the Dustbowl turned the middle of the United States in vast lands of nothing but dust. Whole families starved or went thirsty due to lack of water. Many packed up and left, heading for greener states like California.
Except right now even California is suffering from lack of water. The desert is growing there and the area is already overpopulated. More people will just put more stress on the region. Its not like the 1930s when there was still land available. The sprawling suburbs of L.A. is making it worse too. People aren't building enough condos.
The fact is that in the future, the vast majority of people are going to be living in condos. Houses will become a thing of the past, something that only the wealthy can afford.
Urban renovation will also be a big issue. Supermarkets, grocery stores and shopping malls will start building condos and green houses on top of them, in order to provide housing and food for the people. This technique is already being seen in overpopulated asian countries where the basement/sub-basements are car-parks and subway transit, the ground level is a mall/grocery store, the upper levels are apartments/condos and the top floor is a greenhouse for growing fresh vegetables/fruits.
Energy will also be a key issue, so don't be surprised if we see the price of solar panels/windmills dropping dramatically. In Japan last year, mass production by companies like SONY has started pumping out solar panels at a record rate. The number of solar panels in the world has doubled in the last 2 years thanks to the Japanese mass-production. This mass production in turn is bringing the price of solar panels down. Don't be surprised when you start seeing "Sony Solar Panels" for sale at a hardware store/electronics store near you.
All around the world, as cities grow larger and skyscrapers become taller, people continue to have sex and reproduce at a dramatic level. Without birth control programs in order to insure that families only have 1 or 2 children, the population would explode and there will be mass poverty, mass food shortages and possibly even wars over territory.
We have already witnessed wars over oil and the United States is currently in a very costly trade war against China, which the Chinese are winning. Wars in order to prop up failing economies and gather resources aren't just the way of the future. We're already fighting over land/oil.
And do you really want to raise 3 to 4 kids in a world that is overpopulated and has enough troubles already? One or two children is going to be enough.
Myself, I honestly believe in the value of adoption. My girlfriend and I are already making plans to adopt a baby girl during the next 3 years. We will give her a home in a world which is becoming dangerously overcrowded, where orphans simply are not tolerated.
To some extent it will save her life by giving her a new chance and new opportunities. Few people these days adopt. They're too obsessed with their own genes and afraid that an adopted child will be somehow "inferior" to their own genes. Frankly, I think that is a form of classism/racism. The technical term is "Genoism".
The issue of racism/sexism/etc comes into play often with issues of over-population. People complain about immigrants, about the Chinese, about too many girls being born. Some people deliberately have abortions in order to guarantee they have a son. That too is misogynistic and sexist.
Religious groups praise motherhood and value the ability to create more children, and thus more followers of that religion. But frankly that idea is going to lead to overpopulation, and then to religious wars that incorporate land/resources in an effort to feed/supply that particular religion. We can see this in the current conflicts between Christian states like the United States/Great Britain vs small Muslim states like Iraq and Afghanistan.
I have no doubt that we will see MORE wars in the 21st century than we did in the 20th. Already we have had 2 major wars plus the start of a trade-war in only 5 years, and there is definitely more to come. More trade wars, and more violent wars.
Indeed, the only conclusion to overpopulation IS war. Its guaranteed to happen. People need food to survive and will fight for that food if necessary.
Its a fact of life that will continue until we choose to change our societies towards a more healthy birth-rate.