In my time as a pro-lifer, I've heard a number of arguments from the crowd who is ostensibly in favor of a woman's "right to choose." These so-called pro-choicers have an array of arguments, from saving the woman from the trauma of rape (apparently, two victims are better than one) to claiming that the pre-born child isn't human (what is it then?). However, there is one argument which seems to be used more frequently each time that I participate in a protest/demonstration/memorial for life. I call this argument the "Save the Planet" argument. It essentially states that we are running out of natural resources, and that we need to keep the population in check; apparently, abortion (and its sidekick, contraception) is the only way that we can do this.
In the past, I would usually make three counter-arguments. The first is that abstinence accomplishes the same thing (fewer births); my efforts here only really garnered me the label of being "anti-choice." Second, I would mention that the birthrate in many western countries (especially in Europe) are rapidly approaching or have already approached rates that would cause a decline in the native populations, thus causing immigrant populations to overrun these nations and their cultures; for this I would often be shouted down as a bigot (for wanting these cultures to survive) or told that this only proves that abortion and contraception work nicely for controlling the population. My third argument would point to the unknown and overabundant natural resource of humanity: our ingenuity; this argument was often successful but would usually effectively derail the debate by going off on a tangent.
However, there is a fourth argument against the "Save the Planet" justification of abortions. This last argument is so obvious that it tends to be overlooked: simply put, the "Save the Planet" argument discredits anyone who calls himself pro-choice. The rhetoric used by the pro-choice has always been that getting an abortion should be the woman's "choice" because it is her body. But the "Save the Planet" argument only works if the woman "chooses" an abortion: if she keeps the child, then she is contributing to overpopulation.
If overpopulation is a problem, then there's simply no way around this. In order to remedy the problem, we must drastically reduce the number of children born, and we must do so now. This means that women can't "choose" to carry their unborn children to term, but wait! The logical conclusion is that women must either cease to get pregnant or they must have an abortion if they do get pregnant and their "child-quota" has been met. Such is the case in countries like China and India, which have mandated maximum child quotas with severe governmental penalties attached for families choosing to exceed those quotas.
It is therefore obvious that the "Save the Planet" argument cannot be considered "pro-choice," because its logical end is that more children should not be born, and thus that pregnant women should have abortions. Whereas there are a variety of pro-life choices (from adoption to choosing to the mother's choice to raise the child), there is only one option available to "Save the Planet": abortion.
That this argument is growing in popularity does not help the cause for people who claim to be pro-"choice." Furthermore, the fact that there has been no widespread attempt by pro-choicers to disavow this argument and disown those who use it is perhaps more incriminating to the pro-choice cause. This pervasiveness shows just how many pro-choicers really are pro-abortion only. As I mentioned earlier, this line of reasoning can only lead to one place: a program of forced abortions. Given that the original defense of legalizing abortions in America (one which is still used today) is an appeal to a woman’s right to “privacy,” and to “have control over her own body,” it would seem a bit odd that this is the path down which a large part of the pro-“choice” abortion industry and its apologists are headed.
Thus, on the one side are the pro-lifers, who offer a variety of choices to pregnant women, from adoption to parenthood. These defenders of the innocent unborn receive as thanks the vitriol and hatred of the abortion industry, including, of course, charges that they are anti-choice and that they infringe upon women’s rights, most notably the rights to privacy. On the opposing side are the abortion-lobbyists, many of whom are self-styled pro-choicers who would prefer to offer women two choices: abortion by consent or by force; privacy, and choice, indeed.
To anyone who knows anything about the historical roots of the so-called pro-choice lobby, this should come as no surprise. Margaret Sanger, a founder of Planned Parenthood (the nation's largest abortion provider), would certainly approve of this direction. She once stated that "The most merciful thing that a family does to one of its infant members is to kill it ;" she also proposed that "No woman shall have the legal right to bear a child… without a permit for parenthood," and "The undeniably feeble-minded should, indeed, not only be discouraged but prevented from propagating their kind ." So much for choice.
 Oddly enough, in my experience this argument is most often used by men, though women are increasingly beginning to use it. This would also seem to lend some credit to the idea that too many "pro-choicers," particularly men, are arguing for economic reasons, and not for women's rights.
 Margaret Sanger (editor). The Woman Rebel, Volume I, Number 1. Reprinted in Woman and the New Race. New York: Brentanos Publishers, 1922.
 Margaret Sanger, quoted in Charles Valenza. "Was Margaret Sanger a Racist?" Family Planning Perspectives, January-February 1985, page 44.
If you found this post helpful, some related posts may be found here:
The Shame of Silence: Men and Abortion
Abortion and So-Called "Lebensunwertes Lebes" (Catholic America Today)
Speaking Up, If Painfully
Social Services and Blood Money
Righteous Fear of the Lord and the Pro-Life Movement
How to Lose the Culture War