Global Warning: A World Population Crisis Looms

Fr René Bel
Reproduced with permission

For the last fifty years we have been bombarded with warnings about a population crisis which allegedly threatened to overwhelm the world. Politicians and demographers have constantly predicted disaster. The media have been full of talk of ‘unsustainable growth’ and population explosions. World conferences preached doom and gloom. Millions and millions of dollars from western taxpayers, business and enormously rich Ford and Rockefeller Foundations have been poured into agencies like the United Nations Fund for Population Action (UNFPA) and the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF). Western aid to Third World countries has regularly been given on condition that they agreed to mass contraception, sterilisation (male and female) and abortion programmes supervised by the UNFPA and IPPF.

All this has been based on the claim or belief that the threat was of a population explosion - that is, world over-population.

What we now know is that, yes, there is a world population crisis, but it is quite the opposite to the one which the contraception-sterilisation-abortion lobby, the media and so many politicians have been talking about, often hysterically, since World War II; and in large measure it is precisely agencies such as UNFPA and IPPF who are responsible for this new and terrifying crisis, the real crisis, which threatens our world. That crisis is the threat of demographic implosion.

The Demographic Facts

To achieve ‘zero growth’, that is, a static population that is neither growing nor declining, every woman should produce 2.1 children. In the Third World (e.g., Mali, where 1 child in 5 dies under 5 years) the replacement rate has to be higher.

Today, in developed countries the situation can be described as catastrophic. In Italy in 1998 the female fertility rate was a mere 1.19. The Wall Street Journal called the Italian crisis ‘apocalyptic’1. In Spain, the situation is even worse: the average is 1.18 children per woman. In the United Kingdom and France the rate is around 1.75. Not too bad? Better than Spain and Italy (not to mention Greece and Germany). Nonetheless the next generation will be 20 per cent down on the present one. Spain and Italy will be 40 per cent down2. But does ‘less worse’ mean ‘all right’?

The European Union as a whole has a 1.4 child/woman rate. Do we really think that the EU has a bright future?

Now look beyond Europe. Canada’s rate is 1.6 (Quebec’s much worse). Even the US has only 2.0 and this largely because of Hispanic immigration. And on the other side of the Pacific is Japan, ‘desperate for a baby-boom’, and China, where the law restricts each family to one child per woman - with enforced abortion and sterilisation and female infanticide resulting in a society which has some 120 boys for every 100 girls3. So much for women’s liberation. And what will this lead to - polyandry (women having several husbands), sex wars?

Between the Pacific and Western Europe lies enormous Russia - which is shrinking fast thanks to a female fertility rate of a mere 1.3 (in 1997)4. The situation is even more serious in some parts of the former Soviet Empire - like Latvia and Lithuania.

Developing countries are heading towards a similar crisis. For example, Thailand’s female fertility rate has dropped from 2.2 in 1993 to 1.9 in 1997. In Peru the birth-rate has fallen by 50 per cent in fifteen years, thanks not least to a sterilisation programme that is being pushed hard (the target for 1998 being 150,000)5. As long ago as 1979 the bishops protested in a pastoral letter about UNFPA’s involvement in population control and I myself have been told by a distinguished cleric that food aid included powdered milk, laced with some unknown but powerful chemicals, which seemed to ‘castrate’ the young6. Is there a future for Peru? And what about Brazil, where there has been an enormous female sterilisation programme?

There is no need to continue with this catalogue. The crucial fact is this: in 1996, 51 countries were already falling below the replacement rate, often dramatically. These included almost all industrialised countries and a growing number of key developing countries.

There is now some concern about this in high places. For example, in November 1997 there was a UN-sponsored meeting in New York of experts on ‘Below-Replacement Fertility’. Professor Antonio Golini (La Sapienza University, Rome) spoke about the grave demographic situation in Italy: a fertility rate of 1.2 for the whole country; a staggering 0.8 for Bologna. The Pope has appealed to the prime minister for a pro-family policy, but little is being done and attempts to remedy the situation in Sweden have failed.

The question is: even if generous help were given to young couples would they produce the many more children needed to secure the future of their communities? The problem is much deeper than mere demographics!

If there were no moral constraints maybe the only way out would be to start baby factories modelled on the one which Aldous Huxley described in that prophetic book Brave New World (1932) - the ‘Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre.’ Perhaps, until technology improves, we should have women who specialise in reproduction (as is already done, on a small scale, with surrogate motherhood). Or maybe there are still many infants in their mothers’ arms! But to which countries do we go?7

Would large-scale immigration be feasible? The same Italian Professor Antonio Golini pointed out that Italy alone would need an input of 300,000 each year, which is politically impossible, even if there were people available8.

AIDS--The Unknown Factor

In fact the world’s demographic situation is much more serious than I have described it, because, in the wake of fast-declining female fertility comes the terrifying scourge of AIDS - something which, as we shall see, is closely associated with population control policies.

Speaking in Paris in late 1992, Professor W Haseltine, an AIDS specialist from Harvard, stated: ‘My personal estimate is [that] more than 1 billion people will be infected and will die from AIDS within the first decades of the next century.’ One billion9.

At the time he was speaking, the US had already paid a big price: 230,000 notified AIDS cases, 150,000 deaths, 1 million HIV positive people. By December 1997 the number of reported cases was nearly three times as high and the total of deaths had reached 385,000. Estimates suggest that 650 to 900,000 Americans are now living with HIV10.

Much of Asia and Africa is now being ravaged. In Thailand, for example, where drugs and child prostitution have helped to affect the population drastically, nearly half a million full-blown AIDS cases are forecast by the year 2000. Many drug users and tens of thousands of prostitutes, many of them young girls (and boys), have become an easy target. The situation is worsening in India. As for Africa, we are told that in places like Botswana and Zimbabwe more than 25 per cent of the adult population is HIV-infected - and this could be true for many other parts of the continent11.

This means that, unless an improbable cure or vaccine reaches those millions of people quickly, all those infected will be dead in 10 years. This means, in turn, many millions of orphans, with only the elderly left to care for them.

Why This World Crisis?

Professor Haseltine spoke of one billion people being carried off by AIDS. Some European demographers, like the Frenchman Bourgeois-Pichet, have been busy with their computers and have come up with dire predictions, based simply on the widespread decline in fertility rates, that the whole population of the Globe, first in the so-called developed countries, then in the developing ones, will have disappeared by the year 2400!12

The outlook may not be as bleak as that. But even without AIDS our world is spiralling into a very dangerous situation. Why? What is really behind all this?

The answer to that question would make a very long story. We could even go back as far as Biblical times when the Hebrews were slaves in Egypt and their masters wanted to keep control over them. The Pharaoh ordered midwives to kill all male infants at birth. This is the first known example in history of politically motivated and organised population control13.

Several thousand years later, in 1948, the US State Department Planning Chief, George Kennan said the following:

‘Our country has about 50% of the world’s wealth, but only 6.3% of its population... In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task... is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position if disparity... To do so, we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and daydreaming... We [cannot] afford today the luxury of altruism and world benefaction... We... have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are hampered by idealistic slogans, the better.’ 14

Frank Notestein, an American demographer, had stated earlier:

‘Other regions [with available resources] may emerge with sufficient political unity and industrial strength to give their growing numbers power... By launching a program of modernisation, the now dominant powers would create a future world in which their own people would possess a progressively smaller proportion of the world’s wealth and power. The determination of national policy toward the underdeveloped regions must be made in the light of this fact... [Hence education should] involve propaganda in favour of controlled fertility...’15

And still earlier, Bertrand Russell had stated:

‘It cannot be expected that the most powerful military nations will sit still while other nations reverse the balance of power by the mere process of breeding.’16

These quotations make crystal clear what has been happening since the end of World war II. It is what Professor Jacqueline Kasun has called The War on Population. It is a global war which has been raging - quietly - for half a century.

The war reveals great fear on one side: that of losing a privileged position in life and having to share the Earth’s resources and riches equitably among all peoples. It is a war against the poor everywhere, though pretending to be a war against poverty and malnutrition and deprivation, etc.

The war is directed by two major agencies: the Population Council of the United Nations and the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), which executes the Council’s policies worldwide through national Family Planning Associations. Backed by huge funding, especially by Western Governments, these two agencies really got to work in the sixties to impose population control worldwide as fast as possible. In their dealings with the Third World they have unleashed a deadly neo-colonialism (masquerading as relief)17.

To see how they have operated let us compare two documents setting out their programmes. One was produced by a Frederick S Jaffe, vice president of the American Family Planning Association, in early 1965, setting out 28 proposals for reducing US fertility18. The other is a set of 29 proposals made by the President of Population Control, Dr Bernard Berelson, to an IPPF conference in Dacca (today the capital of Bangladesh) in January/February of the same year. His paper was entitled ‘Beyond Family Planning’ - by which he meant going beyond provision of mere contraception for the Third World19.

So we set Jaffe alongside Berelson thus:

Jaffe, proposal 5: fertility control-agents to be added to water supplies

Berelson, proposal B1: mass use of fertility control agents... in water supplies in urban areas or staple food

Jaffe, proposal 6: women to be encouraged to go out to work

Berelson, proposal F2: women to be encouraged or required to join the labour force ... as an alternative or supplementary to marriage

Jaffe, proposal 6: married people to be taxed more heavily than single

Berelson, proposal G5: tax policies to be reversed, favouring the unmarried and parents with small families

Jaffe, proposal 7d: tax relief for parents to be discontinued

Berelson, proposal E3: punitive taxes after the Nth child to be imposed

Jaffe, proposal 16: compulsory abortion for unmarried women

Berelson, proposal B4: compulsory abortion of all illegitimate pregnancies

Jaffe, proposal 18: childbearing to be allowed to only a limited number of adults

Berelson, proposal F4: ‘two types of marriage, one of them childless and easily dissolved, the other licensed for children and designed to be stable,’ to be promoted

Jaffe, proposal 19: permits (certificates) to be issued allowing children

Berelson, proposal B2: ‘marketable licenses to have children’ for women and perhaps men, each maybe worth a ‘decichild’, i.e. accumulating ten ‘by purchase, inheritance or gift’ would permit a woman in maturity to have one legal child

Jaffe, proposals 21-2: people to be paid to be sterilised and use contraceptives

Berelson, proposal D1: payment or equivalent (e.g., gift of transistor radio) for contraception or sterilisation

Jaffe, proposal 24: abortion and sterilisation on demand

Berelson, proposal A2: readily available abortion

Jaffe, proposal 26: contraceptive technology to be improved

Berelson, proposal H3: increased research to improve contraceptive technology

All these proposals set out so brazenly in 1969 have come to fruition. One form of contraceptive has followed another: many kinds of pills, IUDs, implants, RU486, anti-pregnancy vaccine (still at an experimental stage). Abortion has been legalised in most countries. Millions of men and many more women have been sterilised. In China the one-child policy is accompanied by forcible abortion and sterilisation. Disobedience can result in punitive taxation or having your house burnt down.

The IPPF and its branches, national Family Planning Associations, have brought about enormous changes during the last 30 years. They have been integrated into Health Services and dominate sex ‘education’ in schools. They generate intense propaganda in favour of ‘love without children’ and ridicule all who do not align themselves with their ideology.

Two Specific Measures

Two proposals from the Jaffe/Berelson catalogue deserve special mention.

Berelson, proposal G1: the US should insist on ‘population control as the price of food aid,’ using all necessary diplomatic and economic pressures on governments and religious groups impeding the ‘solution’ of the population problem. We know that the policy has been implemented. We know that the Catholic Church is the only international body to have refused to yield.

Far more important is Jaffe proposal 3: encourage homosexuality.

We know what happened. The 'homosexual liberation movement' was born a few months later, in June 1969, after a riot at the Stonewall Inn, a bar patronised by homosexuals in Greenwich Village, New York. Almost ten years later the American homosexual movement was such that the 1978 Gay Freedom Day Parade in San Francisco was attended by some 375,000 participants20.

Three years later, in June 1981, the first scientific article appeared describing several cases of a rare form of pneumonia. This was the first sign of the terrible disease which would soon be called AIDS.21

As the French historian of AIDS, Professor Mirko Grmek, has argued powerfully, there is a close link between the appearance and fast spread of AIDS and the recent increase in the practice and social acceptance of homosexuality (and bisexuality). As he wrote: ‘The American homosexuals produced the conditions which, by going beyond the critical threshold, rendered the epidemic possible. They created a kind of "culture medium" which allowed the virulent strains of the HIV virus to develop.’ They have paid dearly for this. Out of a total of 386,000 adolescent/adult deaths in the US in 1997, probably more than 250,000 were gay deaths. The use of multitherapy has reduced the death-rate now, but new infections continue unabated at around 40,000 a year22.

And unfortunately the epidemic is eating away many societies in the Third World where therapy is totally beyond the reach of people. Where will we end?


We must face the world as it is today. The future is bleak. The ostrich’s policy of hiding heads in the sand cannot be right.

There is much to do. And it can be done. The priority of priorities is the family - the fundamental community of every society in which all members - unborn child, baby in arms, teenager, the spouses, the elderly, all relate to each other, each according to his/her stage in life, with love and commitment.

Despite everything, our world still thirsts for idealism and vision. It yearns to become more human. We pro-lifers have so much to offer that empowers, raises up, promotes the dignity of every human being, in stark contrast to all that the IPPF and their allies stand for. We must have hope. Sooner or later the world at large and governments in particular will have to wake up to the demographic catastrophe, with all its social, political and economic implications, which is overtaking us.

Perhaps this is even now beginning to happen. I want to tell you an interesting story. Professor John Billings of NFP fame and his wife Evelyn went to China three times last year at the invitation of the Chinese government. For years they have been setting up NFP centres in medical schools and the like. They have been warmly received. I quote a letter from him:

‘... there were appeals for the development of a method of Family Planning which will be free from the serious complications which occur with so many women using the present techniques, and also be more effective in providing for the avoidance of pregnancy. It seems to Lyn and myself that only a short further intellectual step is required for them to see that we are offering them exactly what they are asking for.’

If the Chinese can take the plunge there is hope for all of us!

Suggested Reading

Notes and References

1 Avvenire, 23.1.99. pp 1 and 3 [Back]

2  Le Monde, 5.2.99, p32. But La Croix (4.2.99, p6) gives 1.71 for France and the UK; 1.22 for Italy; 1.15 for Spain[Back]

3  Greg Flakus, ‘Japan’s Population Problem’, Voice of America, 16.12.97; Chinese Academy of Sciences reported in Shanghai Express, 7.1.99[Back]

4  Population et Sociétés, 326, (7.8.97) predicts a fall from 147 million in 1997 to 131 million by 2025. [Back]

5  Ibid; Sunday Telegraph, 10.1.99[Back]

6  My informant, Mons Louis Dalle, recorded this testimony on 4.12.70. Cf Lozere Novelle 24.1.80, which lists flour, milk and ‘apparently harmless’ drugs. The Peruvian bishops’ pastoral letter ‘Charla Familiar’ was issued on 15.8.79[Back]

7  There is a Japanese alternative: sending old people overseas to be cared for by willing populations – for a fee. [Back]

8  As reported in Avvenire, 17.5.98[Back]

9  His speech was given to the French Académies des Sciences on 16.11.92. I obtained a tape from the Secrétariate. Astonishingly, his address was ignored by the media.[Back]

10  See CDC Report, Trends in the HIV and AIDS Epidemic, 1998.[Back]

11  Population et Sociétés, 326 (7.8.97); UNAIDS Factsheets.[Back]

12  Population, Jan-Fev 1988. Earlier, as director of the French National Demographic Institute (INED), he had played an important role in securing contraception and then abortion legalisation passed by de Gaulle’s government. In a crucial report INED had made calculations which were based on ‘pregnant’ men having abortions and dying subsequently! I took his successor to court for more untruths in defence of the Report. I hardly need say I was unsuccessful. [Back]

13  Exodus 1, 8-22[Back]

14  Quoted in Convergence, Christie Institute, Winter 1991, p12[Back]

15  Quoted in Excessive Force, pp60-1[Back]

16  Quoted ibid, p1[Back]

17  The huge annual IPPF budget includes £11 million from the UK and similar amounts from the USA, Japan and Sweden. Canada and Norway are also major contributors.[Back]

18  ‘Activities Relevant to the Study of Population Control Policy for the US’ delivered on 11.3.69, published in Family Planning Perspectives Special Supplement (IPPF, New York, 1970)[Back]

19  Published in Population Control, Implications, Trends and Prospects, pp67-97[Back]

20  Randy Shilts, And the band played on (Penguin books, 1988) p16. Shilts, a gay journalist for the San Francisco Chronicle, died of AIDS in February 1994.[Back]

21  ‘Pneumocystic Pneumonia – Los Angeles’, in the Weekly Bulletin of Morbidity and Mortality, 5 June 1981.[Back]

22  Grmek, History of AIDS, 2nd Ed., Paris 1990, pp259-60.[Back]