Those who insist that Planned Parenthood deserves its sacred claim on federal support ought to consult Chinese demographers about the long-term impact of governmental policies that officially discourage procreation. At a time of soaring budget deficits, catastrophic national debt and a sputtering recovery it makes no sense to invest $300,000,000 of taxpayer money on a private organization committed to slowing population growth and, inevitably, exacerbating each of these economic problems.
The fierce debate over continued support for Planned Parenthood comes at the precise moment that leading analysts of the world’s second largest economy have concluded that China’s long-standing “one child policy” threatens the prospect of continued prosperity. As the New York Times reported (April 6, 2011) “economists contend that China’s low birthrate, once an economic advantage, is now destined to clip the nation’s economic growth.”
The problem involves the declining number of able-bodied workers and the rapidly swelling ranks of elderly dependents. The Times concluded that “by 2040, projections show that the median age of Chinese will be higher than that of Americans, but Chinese will enjoy just one-third of the per capita income, adjusted for the cost of living. Experts say that will make China the first major country to grow old before it is fully economically developed.”
Wang Feng, who heads the Tsinghua Center for Public Policy in Beijing, directly cited the destructive impact of the “one-child policy” that rigorously imposes “family planning,” fertility limits and even forced abortions on nearly all Chinese households. “There are tremendous demographic crises pending, unprecedented in Chinese demography,” he declared. “Very few people are arguing for this policy any more.”
Among other things, restrictions on child-bearing encouraged startling levels of abortion for the purposes of sex-selection, with many parents terminating their female babies so they could legally welcome a son, prized in traditional Chinese culture. In 2009, The British Medical Journal studied the situation and found that Chinese mothers bore 119 boys for every 100 girls, one of the world’s most dangerously skewed sex ratios. In 2005, population statistics showed 32 million more males under age 20 than females, a disparity that has almost certainly worsened in recent years and threatens to become a source of dire social problems.