I'm pro-abortion. I'm not pro-choice; I'm pro-abortion.

Let's get one thing straight. The species homo sapiens is too successful for its own good. In the past few millennia its population has experienced exponential growth. By now, the consequences of overpopulation are becoming serious problems.

We should do something about this. Human population must decrease if we're to survive as a species. To that end, I'm pro-abortion and anti-choice.

I resolve that apparent contradiction by adapting an idea from John Varley's novels. He was talking about crime, but it serves equally well for pregnancy. Here's how it works. When a person becomes pregnant, abortion is mandatory with an automatic appeal. The potential parent(s) then have a chance to prove that they are responsible enough to bring up a child well. If they meet this challenge, then the scheduled abortion is canceled.

If we implemented this policy, every child would be a wanted child; children would be better taken care of; and population growth would finally begin to slow down.

If you consider this proposal too draconian, consider these alternatives:

  1. The author Larry Niven proposed giving (almost) every person two birthrights. It takes two birthrights to have a child. If the population goes down over the year, at the year's end the population difference (in birthrights) is distributed in a lottery. This would have the amusing side effect of breeding for luck, if such a thing were possible.

  2. John Varley used a similar idea, though his was stricter. At birth each person is issued a 3/4 share in a child. When two people got together, they'd have 1.5 shares. One share = one child. After they had a child, they'd have half a share left over. They could sell this half share at the market rate. If they wanted to have another child they'd have to buy another half share.

  3. This person proposed an idea that warms my heart. The names of all people who declare themselves to be against abortion would be added to a national registry. Whenever a child is born to parents that are unfit, abusive, or uninterested, a name is chosen from the registry. That person must either accept the child and raise it, or provide support to the mother.

Don't like these alternatives to unrestrained fertility? Tough. It's either one of these choices or China's "one person, one child" policy. Take your pick. One of these is coming; it's only a matter of time.

In the meantime, I still like mandatory abortion with automatic appeal.

Last updated 25 May 2002
All contents ©1999-2002 Mark L. Irons