Ask Chuck: Economic Consequences of New York State’s Reproductive Health Act

Dear Chuck,

The most recent New York abortion legislation is appalling; but besides being morally wrong, won’t a population decline hurt our economy? This seems like a bad direction for us all.

Concerned American

Dear Concerned,

Your concern is well placed. Yes, the long-term economic consequences of abortion are bad for everyone.

New York State’s Reproductive Health Act, which allows late-term abortions performed by “health-care practitioners” when the “patient is within 24 weeks from the commencement of pregnancy, or there is an absence of fetal viability or the abortion is necessary to protect the patient’s life or health” is a tragic legislative decision. Not only is it a moral disaster, but the collective consequences will also have far-reaching effects on our national economy. And it is coming at the worst possible time.

Falling Birthrates

Birth rates are falling around the world and not just because of abortion. Fertility rates around the world have been dropping and The World Bank and others are becoming acutely aware of the troubling trends. Birth rates in Asia, Europe, Russia and Latin America have been plummeting.

The “total fertility rate” (TFR) in the United States, the number of children the average woman will have in her lifetime, dropped from 2.12 in 2007 to an estimated 1.76 in 2017. That is less than the replacement level of 2.1 and less than half of the 1960s number of 3.7. We are approaching the birth rate of the Chinese where they are currently experiencing a 60 year low in TFR. They are concerned too:

“China should not only fully relax the family planning policy, but also introduce policies to encourage births,” said demographer He Yafu. “Long-term low fertility rates will bring a series of negative effects on the economy and society, leading to the increasingly serious aging of the population, a decreasing labor force and a higher dependency ratio.”

Economic Consequences

My friend, Jerry Bowyer, wrote an article for Townhall Finance notes a similar concern:

A very low birth rate is economic death in the long run, but a country can run an economy without babies pretty well (not counting toy makers) for a while. Debt is a big long-term problem. Japan is brittle because of debt. Eventually there will likely be a reckoning, a horrible one, with a full-blown debt crisis and a nation filled with nursing homes unable to work its way out of it.

Jerry and other experts see the writing on the wall. Analysis from Thomas Lee, at Fundstrat.com reveals that America is expected to have a shortage of 8.2 million workers over the next decade.

With too few people adding to the GDP, who is going to fund pension plans, pay into Social Security, support the elderly population, or work in the healthcare industry? The diaper industry will be spared immediate pain by reducing the production of baby sizes and increasing production of adult sizes.

Toys “R” Us closed reportedly due to debt, rising labor costs, and the inability to compete with Amazon, Walmart, and Target. But, they also offered this chilling reason:

“Most of our end-customers are newborns and children,” the company explained in a recent financial filing, and “as a result, our revenues are dependent on the birth rates in countries where we operate…. In recent years, many countries’ birth rates have dropped or stagnated…A continued and significant decline in the number of newborns and children in these countries could have a material adverse effect on our operating results.”

Andrew Van Dam, of the Washington Post, commented,

And that’s why the company’s demise should worry the rest of us. Toys R Us focuses on kids, so it’s feeling the crunch from declining birth rates long before the rest of the economy. But it’s just a matter of time before the trends that toppled the troubled toy maker put the squeeze on businesses that cater to consumers of all ages.

Interestingly, Toys R Us donated money to Planned Parenthood, an organization that may have helped put them out of business.

When Jerusalem was taken into Babylonian exile, the people were troubled and confused. As refugees, their circumstances were dire: no money, no job, and no hope for the future. But, Jeremiah directed: Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. (Jeremiah 29:6 ESV)

God gave them clear instructions to marry and have children, knowing that their lives would be blessed by trusting Him and faithfully following His plan. The Scripture records that they were able to prosper greatly, even in captivity, while increasing and multiplying the size of their families.

True Riches

In the past one hundred years, our culture has flipped from one of large families in small houses to small families in large houses.

It requires faith to trust Him when the world constantly bombards us with contrary information. Overpopulation, mass starvation, and the terrible expense of raising a child are all lies against God’s plan to bless us as we raise the next generation of stewards to care for the Earth and its vast resources. Without people, there is no economy.

The cries for the freedom to abort a child – right up to weeks before birth – is a prime example of man “doing what is right in their own eyes” (Judges 17:6).  

It is time for us to speak out about the love and joy – the true riches that money cannot buy – that we experience within our families.

Children are the future ambassadors for Christ and believers have the awesome privilege of raising them for His glory.

Parents, if you are weary, humbly seek help. Grandparents, aunts, and uncles, come alongside and assist as you are able. It’s a difficult world to navigate, and your wisdom and experience are needed and treasured.

We must give what we can to help God’s people be fruitful and multiply. When families grow and are strengthened, we are all beneficiaries of God’s true riches.

 

Originally published on the Christian Post, February 8, 2019

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