Population - Archive

Fall 2005: Population

Having a Third Baby Really Pays Off For French Women

Europe is Losing 2 Million People per Year

China Population Control Workers Arrested Over Forced Abortions 

Kenya; Total Fertility Rate (TFR); Africa is Growing

A Condition for U.S. Loans

Russian Abortions Outnumber Births

Second Indian State Drops Coercive Two-Child Norms

Human Rights Triumph Over UNFPA Population Controllers

HAVING A THIRD BABY REALLY PAYS OFF FOR FRENCH WOMEN — Middle-class French women will be offered cash incentives to have a third child amid growing concerns that professional couples are having too few children. Although France’s fertility rate of 1.9 for each couple is relatively high among European countries, family lobbyists are dismayed by a fall in the number of babies born to better-educated women.

The government announced its proposals 21Sept05 when Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, the father of 3 children, presided at a conference on family life. A big increase in allowances has been widely predicted.

France’s National Union of Family Associations, which is known by its French acronym UNAF and is playing a key role in shaping policy, said the figure should be set at up to $1,250 a month for women with three children, double the present maximum, and should be set according to the woman’s salary.

Despite the budgetary implications in a country that is already accused of living extravagantly, the government agrees with the principle and is said to be finalizing the details of a “very significant” initiative.

“The poor current level of compensation appeals only to those on lower incomes,” said UNAF President Hubert Brin. “This is not just a French problem but affects Europe in general. In Germany, as many as 40 percent of professional women turn their backs on maternity. Ask a professional woman these days to make a definitive choice between having a career and having babies, and she’ll choose the former.” 

Demographic trends in Muslim and non-Muslim communities are rarely mentioned in public debate. France has the largest Muslim community in Europe, estimated at up to 10 percent of its 60 million population.

“Though French law prohibits the census from any reference to ethnic background or religion, many demographers estimate that as much as 20 [to] 30 percent of the population under 25 is now Muslim…Given current birthrates, it is not impossible that in 25 years France will have a Muslim majority. The consequences are dynamic: Is it possible that secular France might become an Islamic state?” Ms. Amiel wrote.

A 2004 study on European population trends sponsored by the Pew Research Center said the demographic shift affects all of Europe, which receives 1 million legal immigrants, most from Muslim nations, each year.

“At the same time, Muslims already living on the continent are having three times as many children as their white, European neighbors,” the Pew report said.

French parents with three children already benefit in a number of ways, including family allowances of nearly $360 a month, a $360 annual contribution to out-of-school activity costs and generous reductions on train and bus fares. There are plans to extend the “big family” advantage card beyond public transportation to a range of other services.

At present, women are entitled to six months of maternity benefits for the first child and three years for the second. The new allowance will last for a year and be available to any French mother who elects to have a third baby and stay at home.

But UNAF says linking benefits to the woman’s salary level will make it more attractive to high-fliers. The one-year limit would be aimed at reducing pressure on social security spending and prevent women becoming detached from the world of work they leave to have families. Caps also might be placed on spending in other areas of family support.
Corinne Baconnet, 36, a Parisian vascular surgeon who is expecting her third child in a month, said, “I do not think the government does enough to encourage women who want to have bigger families. I come from a family with three children and always wanted three of my own, but I am also from a generation of women for whom just staying at home was never an option,” Dr. Baconnet said. [Colin Randall LONDON DAILY TELEGRAPH September 21, 2005 http://www.washtimes.com/world/20050920-115211-8871r.htm; N Valko RN, 21Sept05]

 

CHINA POPULATION CONTROL WORKERS ARRESTED OVER FORCED ABORTIONS –Linyi, China (LifeNews.com) — Several Chinese population control officials in Linyi have been arrested or fired after reports surfaced that they were involved in forced abortions and sterilizations. The surprising actions came after a local advocate who exposed the problems was detained under house arrest for 30 hours.
An official Chinese media outlet reports that the abuses were taking place in the eastern province of Shandong. Chen Guangcheng, the detained activist, told Time magazine in an interview before the arrest that 7,000 area people had been sterilized against their will.

China’s National Population and Family Planning Commission said it had received “successive complaints” about the sterilizations and abortions in Linyi, a city of 10 million people 400 miles southeast of Beijing.

“Some persons concerned in a few counties and townships of Linyi did commit practices that violated law and infringed upon legitimate rights and interests of citizens while conducting family planning work,” the commission said in a statement.

Yu Xuejun, NPFPC spokesman, said “Initial investigation indicates illegal family planning practices that violate people’s legal rights and interests do exist.”

“Those who are responsible have been dismissed from duty. Some are under investigation, some in detention. Further measures will be taken by government departments concerned according to legal competence and procedure,” he said.

Guangcheng told Reuters that couples having more than the one child allowed by Chinese law were subjected to the sterilizations and women having a third child were forced to have abortions.

When he was arrested, Chen, a 34 year-old blind peasant had been preparing a class-action lawsuit challenging abuses in his eastern hometown.

President Bush on Monday decided to revoke funding for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) for a fourth time because of the international agency’s involvement in supporting China’s population control program.

“This decision means that this organization will not receive the $34 million earmarked for its activities by Congress for the current fiscal year,” State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said.

The president first revoked funding for the pro-abortion agency i
n 20
02 and has continued to call on UNFPA officials to end their involvement in China’s programs and to ask the Asian country to undertake new policies to curb human rights abuses. [LifeNews.com September 20, 2005]

 

KENYA – Still, there is an average family size of 5 children per woman. Nearly half the population is under 15 years of age, and the average age of Kenyans is only 18. The population density is about 153 people per square mile [about the same as NH, GA, & TN]. In 1985, the annual population growth rate was 3.8%; but by 2005, that has decreased to about 2.2%. The average family size in Kenya has also dropped from 7 to 5 children in that time period. [HLI Special Report, no.248, 8/05]

TOTAL FERTILITY RATE (TFR) – is the number of children each woman in a nation or continent must have in order to maintain a stable population. Thus, women in any nation must have an average of 2.1 children per completed population in order to maintain a constant population.

AFRICA has the highest TFR in the world. In 1950, the average African woman had 6.7 children. In 2004/05, African women still have an average of 5 children each, far higher than any other continent. (Latin America is a distant second at 2.55 children per woman.) [HLI Special Report, no.248, 8/05]

EUROPE is now losing 2 million people per year. Not one of the 47 nations of Europe has replacement fertility; the entire continent averages 1.2 children per woman [UN Population Information Network (POPIN)].

In 1950, Europe possessed one-fifth of the world’s population, and Africa had only one-tenth of the earth’s people. In 1997, they were equal at 15 percent. By the year 2050, the reversal will be complete: Africa will have one-fifth of the world’s population, and Europe will have only about one-tenth of it. Africa’s people will be an average of 31 years old, and Europeans will be an average of 52 years old. [HLI Special Report, no.248, 8/05, 5/05]

A CONDITION FOR U.N. LOANS, too often, is the promotion of contraception.

Here are 2 examples: Beginning in 1999, the …United Nations began to squeeze Kenya to legalize abortion. UNFPA put pressure on the Kenyan gov’t to push population control. Soon, Pres. Moi began to aggressively promote condoms; one day after he first did this in public, the Central Bank of Kenya announced that Kenya had fulfilled all the conditions demanded by the UN Int’l Monetary Fund to negotiate poverty reduction loans. 

An int’l pro-life congress was held in Argentina in 2005; one of the key themes of the conference was the anti-life pressure coming as a direct result of their national debt. The gov’t owes more than the entire Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the nation and cannot even pay the interest on it. Concretely, this has led to the World Bank and Int’l Monetary Fund having a direct influence on domestic policies.

The writer was told of a pro-life minister of health in one of Argentina’s provinces who spoke out repeatedly against the safe sex condom message, until he was named National Minister of health. His friends asked if he had changed his mind, and the telling response he made was that 80% of his national health budget was financed by int’l institutions, and they wanted the condom to be promoted. [HLI Special Report, no.248, 8/05]

RUSSIAN ABORTIONS OUTNUMBER BIRTHS – Financial pressures are pushing Russian women to abortion at a much higher rate than was previously thought.

The abortion rate shows no sign of slowing.  The economic condition for most in Russia is dire, and, says Kulakov [V-P, Russian Academy of Medical Sciences] the birth of a first child can push young couples into poverty.

With a population half the size of the US, in 2004, Russian women had 24% more abortions than their American counterparts.

About 1.6 million women had abortions last year, a fifth of them under the age of 18, and only about 1.5 million gave birth [Kulakov].  Rampant abortion and environmental damage have also rendered huge numbers of Russians infertile: ~6 million women & 4 million men (7%) of the population are sterile.

The birth rate and the life expectancy of Russians are so low that Vladimir Putin called it a “national problem” in a televised address in 4/05. Life expectancy for men is ~age 58; coupled with extremely high infant mortality, the warned demographic collapse in most parts of Europe is coming much sooner in Russia.

Russia’s population is declining by 750,000-800,000/yr. A pro-life minister, writing from Siberia, describes conditions of almost unimaginable suffering, where some women have had as many as 30 abortions because of a lack of hope for the future. The Russian gov’t continues to allow abortion with few restrictions, and sterilization is legal. The gov’t also severely restricts working visas to those seeking to enter the country to do religious work, including pro-life work & education. [24Aug05, LifeSiteNews.com;http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=10000085&sid=a_b.qA0CYFx0&refer=Europe]

2nd INDIAN STATE DROPS COERCIVE 2-CHILD NORMS  Chattisgarh & neighbouring Madhya Pradesh: will not require the 2-child norm for candidates in local elections.

The change is in response to sharp criticism of the 2-child norm by federal gov’t leaders, who object to policies that use coercion/quotas to curb population growth. Several Indian states have enacted laws that bar families with 2+ children from receiving housing loans, holding gov’t jobs, or attending public schools. [New Delhi, 29Aug05 CWNews.com; LifeSiteNews.com, 29Aug05]

 

Human Rights Triumph Over UNFPA Population Controllers

Population control forces lost a battle 16June05 when the U.S. House voted by a substantial margin not to restore U.S. funding for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).  In this case, “population control forces” is particularly suited to identify those pushing UNFPA funding, since “pro-choice” can in no plausible way describe them.

UNFPA assists Communist China in her population control efforts.  No one disputes this.  China’s population control program is coercive.  Just about no one–outside of Chinese government officials–disputes this either.  So when UNFPA assists and subsidizes China’s population control program, it at least indirectly helps China coerce women into having no more than their government-allotted quota of children.

Obviously, when you give someone money to do one thing, this frees up funds that can be used to do other things.  So when UNFPA distributes contraceptives and performs other services in China, this frees up Chinese population control money to go to the coercive aspects of China’s program. But UNFPA’s involvement goes further than this.

In China, women-and their husbands-who have more than one or two children (depending on their situation and the area in which they live) face heavy fines (called “social compensation fees”), loss of medical coverage, denial of educational benefits for their children, and loss of employment, policies that UNFPA has assisted in various ways.

As recently as 2001, UNFPA officials have said nice things about China’s population control program.  Time-Asia on August 29, 2001, quoted Sven Burmester, the United Nations Population Fund representative in Beijing, as saying: “For all the bad press, China has achieved the impossible.  The country has solved its population problem.”  AFP had the same fellow saying on Oct. 11, 1999: “China has had the most successful family planning policy in the history of mankind in terms of quantity and with that, China has done mankind a favour.”

Chin
a has no intention of abandoning her population control policy, despite her dramatically depressed fertility rate.  The State Commission for Population and Family Planning said in January that, though the average number of children per family has gone from 5.8 in the early ’70s to 1.8 today (replacement rate fertility would be 2.1), it wanted to continue its population control program for “a long period.”  “The big population remains a major issue for China in the present stage and a key factor obstructing the country’s economic and social development,” said a commission official, according to the state-owned People’s Daily.

“Family planning will continue to be a basic state policy that we must adhere to in a long period.”  Apparently, Chinese families would choose to have more children if they were left alone, because the official said, “If the family planning policy is loosened, the country is very likely to experience a boost in population growth.”  The People’s Daily editorial page went even further, calling for the population control program to be made permanent.

Despite all the evidence of abuses, UNFPA shows no signs of wanting to leave China.  Nor are pro-UNFPA forces in Congress urging it to do so. UNFPA and its supporters simply claim that UNFPA does not operate in Chinese counties where coercion exists, and that its presence in China has had a moderating effect on China’s Draconian practices.  The evidence contradicts the first claim, and there is precious little support for the second, given the continued pervasiveness of coercion in China and that country’s ongoing decline in fertility.

A year after a 2001 PRI investigation determined that UNFPA’s efforts in China were closely tied to those of the Chinese government, the U.S. Department of State came to the same conclusion.  This prompted the Bush Administration to invoke a legal provision called Kemp-Kasten and direct international family planning money away from UNFPA. 

Secretary of State Colin Powell reaffirmed that decision in a July 15, 2004 letter.  “In July 2002, I determined that UNFPA’s support of, and involvement in, China’s population-planning activities allowed the Chinese government to implement more effectively its program of coercive abortion. . .,” he wrote.  “[A]s in 2002, UNFPA continues its support and involvement in China’s coercive birth limitation program in counties where China’s restrictive law and penalties are enforced by government officials.”

Referring to the defeated amendment introduced by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D.-N.Y.), which would have restored $34 million in UNFPA funding, pro-life human rights champion Rep. Chris Smith (R.-N.J.) said, “As violations of human rights go, coercive population control in China is among the worst and most degrading systematic abuse in human history.

Last December, I chaired a hearing focused on Mrs. Mao Hen Feng-a Chinese woman who has been imprisoned and tortured because of her resistance to coercive population control.  The UNFPA was nowhere to be found in her defense. . . Mrs. Mao-and millions of women like her-needs advocates, not accommodators and enablers of abuse.  We must stand with the victims-the oppressed, not with the oppressor.  At a minimum, we should not lavish millions of dollars on the friends of the oppressor like the UNFPA.”

When we sent an investigative team headed by Josephine Guy into Sihui County, Guangdong Province, China in the fall of 2001, we found the local UNFPA official working hand in glove with Chinese population controllers. “The investigative team was told by officials that UNFPA’s representative in Sihui and Chinese family planning officials work from the same office, the Sihui County Office of Family Planning,” we reported. 

“PRI investigators spoke to Chinese officials in this office, and inquired about UNFPA.  PRI investigators were shown by these officials the UNFPA desk.  Photographic evidence of the UNFPA office desk within this office was obtained by PRI’s photographer.  Local officials told PRI investigators that there is no distinction between UNFPA’s program in Sihui and the Chinese family planning program in Sihui.”

And what was going on in Sihui at that time?  “By many victims and witnesses of coercion, PRI investigators were told that. . . coercive family planning policies in Sihui include: age requirements for pregnancy; birth permits; mandatory use of IUDs; mandatory sterilization; crippling fines for non-compliance; imprisonment for non-compliance; destruction of homes and property for non-compliance; forced abortion and forced sterilization.”

Chinese officials claim to have gotten out of the demolition business since then, and that coercion is a thing of the past, but pregnant women, on the run from population control officials, continue to seek sanctuary in PRI’s Chinese safe houses because they fear being forcibly aborted. Even Chinese officials admit that tactics such as “social compensation fees,” loss of employment, and the denial of other benefits continue. These “fees” range from one-half to ten times the average annual household income in China.

This time around, the move to restore UNFPA funding went down to defeat on the House floor 192 to 233, a much larger margin (41) than the tiny three to five votes in the recent past.  Maybe even a few pro-choicers are starting to believe Chinese women should have the right to choose to bear children.
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PRI Weekly Briefing 17 June 2005 Vol. 7 / No. 23, Joseph A. D’Agostino Population Research Institute. Permission to reprint granted. Credit required.