Quick Response #25: The World Is Overpopulated, So We Need Abortion

In this Quick Response video, Emily Albrecht debunks the idea, floated by some prominent politicians like Bernie Sanders (and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, to a lesser extent), that the world is at a critical stage of overpopulation, so we need abortion as a means of population control.


For at least a couple hundred years, certain people have complained that the Earth has too many people and foretold the collapse of civilization if we don’t stop having children. Now, these predictions have been completely wrong every time so far, but people still take the overpopulation idea seriously. What’s worse, they often use it as a justification for active evil, such as abortion on a mass scale as a means to limit population growth.

(intro sequence)

The overpopulation argument is unfortunately trendy now because of a certain set of politicians. Bernie Sanders, for example, considers abortion necessary to control the population and avoid “climate catastrophe.” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez does a lot of hand-wringing over whether it’s ethical to have children at all.

Of course, their ideas, and the whole overpopulation argument as a whole, just assume that unborn humans aren’t persons, that they lack any rights against the state. What happens if you were to demonstrate personhood? Well, if the unborn are persons, then abortion to control the population is morally the same as infanticide to control the population, which is condemned by almost everyone.

Overpopulation itself isn’t actually carrying any weight in the argument. It’s used as a justification, but since it only works as a justification if the fetus lacks rights, it’s not adding anything. If the fetus lacks rights, then you don’t need an overpopulation crisis or “climate catastrophe” to justify abortion; it should be completely acceptable to kill the fetus for any reason whatsoever because the fetus isn’t a person. So the best way to counter someone who brings up overpopulation is to argue for fetal personhood using the Equal Rights Argument. Then, trot out ALL of the toddlers. It’s immoral to kill toddlers because of overpopulation, so the same would hold true if unborn humans have the same status and value as toddlers.

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