Bernardo M. Villegas
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Rebalancing Strategy
published: Mar 31, 2017



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Horror Stories of Birth Control

            A not too subtle assumption of the RH Bill is the need for population control.  Under the guise of promoting maternal health or limiting illegal abortions, some proponents of encouraging the distribution of artificial contraceptives are at bottom trying to limit the birth rate.  They want to reduce population growth in the country by hook or by crook.

            They have not learned from countries that are suffering from the horror stories of birth control which they promoted in the last century.  A good number of them are frantically trying to reverse their falling fertility rates, such as Japan, Singapore and South Korea.  These countries are rapidly aging and are having   a hard time caring for their senior citizens.  Some of them are suffering from serious labor shortages.  A good number of them have to depend on imported manpower to keep their economies growing.

            Another horror story resulting from birth control has just been the subject of a recent book entitled Unnatural Selection:  Choosing Boys Over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men by Mara Hvistendalh.  In a book review that appeared in the Financial Times (June 13, 2011), Joshua Kurlantzich described the dangerous consequences of an imbalance between the number of males vs. females in countries like China and India.

            As Mr. Kurlantzich writes:  "From China to India, to Eastern Europe and the Middle East, sex ratios--the relative numbers of boy babies to girls--are becoming skewed.  The norm should be around 105 boys for every 100 girls.  But in China the ratio is 121 to 100; in India and Vietnam 112 to 100; in Albania 110 to 100.  Within a decade China could have 30 million men who cannot find wives, with the situation even more skewed in cities, like Lhasa, that attract migrant male laborers.  These imbalances could prove as destabilisizing as climate change, potentially sparking crime, trafficking, and other wider conflicts."

            The proximate cause of such "unnatural selection" is the easy availability of ultra sounds in developing cities which enable parents to find out their child's sex and abort the fetus with few social or legal sanctions.  But the ultimate cause was the propaganda coming from the West in favor of population control, fueled by fears of dwindling resources--fears that proved to be grossly inaccurate.  "Indian doctors received funding and training from American groups, coming home determined to facilitate sex selection in their own country.  Chinese officials also forced women to abort second children."  With the pressure from their Government to have only one child or at most two children, parents succumbed to their cultural preference for male children and aborted millions of female babies. 

            The horror stories of birth control are well chronicled by Hvistendahl:  There is the depressing story of a woman kidnapped in Vietnam and brought to China by a trafficking syndicate and forced into prostitution, having sex with tens of men each day.  This woman is rescued, but returns toVietnam scarred, and infected with HIV.   There are other fearful consequences of a bachelor nation:  According to social scientists marriage makes men more peaceable, lowering testosterone and lessening violence.  It is, therefore, not hard to understand why in China the numerous permanent bachelors are buying up weapons, while crime rates are rising in those Indian and Chinese cities with the most skewed ratios.  It is also very possible that these angry young men, unable to find wives, will turn to guns and drugs.  If they are united, they could spark greater instability--"as in the 19th century, when unequal ratios contributed to rebellions in the countryside that ultimately led to the overthrow of China's last emperor."

            With the current saber-rattling of the Chinese in the Spratleys, there is a very real fear of Southeast Asian countries about the military might of China.   As Kurlantzich warns:  "...in trying to find an outlet for its surplus men, Beijing will utilize another traditional approach:  enlarging the military. One Vietnamese official warned me that of everything he fears about a rising China, a large pool of unmarriageable, itinerant men worries him most.  And with good reason:  from the early Roman republics to the 19th century American west, societies with surplus men often enlisted them into military service, and found new lands to conquer.  And in recent years China has indeed drastically expanded the paramilitary People's Armed Police."

            There are natural causes of a decline in fertility:  increased education of women, later marriages, urbanization and industrialization.  Once the State, as in the case of the RH Bill, introduces unnatural methods of limiting birth, a pandora's box is opened, giving rise to horror stories like those described above.  For comments, my email address is bvillegas@uap.edu.ph.