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  • Adam Butler

Responding to the Overpopulation Argument for Abortion

“Elective abortion should be permissable, because the world is overpopulated.”

The late Dr. Mike Adams satirically responded to this line of reasoning by saying, “you’re right, the world is overpopulated. You first.” It is an incredibly weak argument for abortion (as are many of the arguments espoused by pro-aboriton advocates), but nevertheless, is one to which many abortion proponents hold. Therefore, we must dismantle the line of reasoning.

Before we delve into the lack of support for the aforementioned slogan, it is important to revisit the central argument against abortion. A more in-depth argument can be read here.

  1. It is wrong to intentionally kill innocent human beings.

  2. Abortion intentionally kills innocent human beings.

  3. Therefore, abortion is wrong.

Once we have established these premises and conclusion, we can evaluate poor arguments more succinctly. After all, if the unborn is not human, then no justification for abortion is necessary. If, however, the unborn is human, then no justification for abortion is adequate.

So, returning to the argument at hand, is overpopulation a good reason for abortion? Here are 3 reasons why this line of reasoning fails.

The world is not, in fact, overpopulated.

If anything, the world is underpopulated, as it stands. In fact, we produce enough food to produce 10 billion people, despite the world consisting of only 8 billion! Famines do happen, but these are typically the result of wars and political corruption.

Despite plenty of evidence to the contrary, the world is not overpopulated. This is simply a myth which has been long accepted as if it is true.

Human life is still more sacred.

Even if it were the case that the world is overpopulated, humans do not get to “play God” and decide who lives and who dies. Why is it that whenever proponents of elective abortion refer to overpopulation as a reason, they always suggest the death of someone else? The answer is simple: because nobody wants to die.

It is easy to suggest that someone else take the fall, especially those who cannot speak up for themselves. However, babies are human beings with rights, too. They need to be protected. If the world were overpopulated, we would need to go to extreme measures making sure every person is fed, not start killing off our own population.

Murder should never be an option to solve a crisis. This is a common example of an “ends justify the means” line of reasoning. It is often a faulty way of thinking, especially in cases such as this one. While there are instances in which a graded absolutism of morality may need to be enforced, such as the common example of lying to the Nazi soldiers about harboring Jews, this situation entirely different.

In that particular scenario, telling a lie is wrong, while protecting the hiding Jews is a higher absolute moral act than allowing them to be subject to a greater evil: murder. In the case of allowing abortion to prevent overpopulation, however, there are not two acts of immorality in question; there is only one. Overpopulation is not an act of immorality; and starvation due to overpopulation is a natural evil, rather than an intentional evil. So, the scenarios differ greatly. In the case of overpopulation, only one act of immorality is being prevented: abortion. And this is the right approach to take, being that we need to protect the innocent lives of children.

So, this argument falls utterly short when it comes to providing an adequate reason to justify abortion. Abortion kills innocent babies; there is no justifying such an egregious act.

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