We wouldn’t need immigrants if we could just force women to have babies

The racism underlying some of the arguments against abortion is rarely as explicit as the conclusions of a Republican-led Missouri House Special Committee report into illegal immigration released recently. A large number of WASP anti-abortion advocates are disturbed by the lack of white babies being born above all. Our Treasurer’s infamous “one for mum, one for dad, and one for the country” dogwhistling rhetoric is a pale, PC shadow of the blatant bigotry of certain wings of social conservatism. Unsurprisingly, some neocons have looked closely at the US illegal immigrants debate and decided that it’s all the fault of women making their own decisions about reproduction.

“We hear a lot of arguments today that the reason that we can’t get serious about our borders is that we are desperate for all these workers,” Emery said. “You don’t have to think too long. If you kill 44 million of your potential workers, it’s not too surprising we would be desperate for workers.”

National Right to Life estimates there have been more than 47 million abortions since the Supreme Court established a woman’s right to abortion in its 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling. The immigration report estimates there are 80,000 fewer Missourians because of abortion, many of whom now would have been in a “highly productive age group for workers.”

Equally unsurprisingly, the Special Committee chairman, Ed Emery (Rep), added these statements to the conclusion without discussing them in committee, an act which has led Democrats on the committee to refuse to sign off on the report.

All six Democrats on the panel refused to sign the report. Some of them called the abortion assertion ridiculous and embarrassing.

“There’s a lot of editorial comment there that I couldn’t really stomach,” Rep. Trent Skaggs said Monday. “To be honest, I think it’s a little delusional.”

The report also blamed “liberal social policies” for creating “a lack of incentive for those who can work” (sounds like someone’s yearning for the days when Okies knew their place) and “includes short essays by Emery about the history of immigration, the purpose of immigration laws and the importance of a common language. In those, he notes “the issue of illegal immigration does not lend itself to compromise”.

Emery is not alone in this opinion. Mark Steyn totally agrees with him on the problem of liberal social policies contributing to the demographic decline of the West. Our own Danna Vale was pilloried for saying that we were aborting ourselves out of existence and were on the way to becoming a Muslim nation within 50 years, while “convicted Watergate felon and Prison Fellowship Ministries founder” Charles W. Colson made the same point about abortion and US immigration as Emery on his radio show back in April:

But what’s the root of the problem? Why do we have a shortage of workers? Aha, that’s the unspeakable “A” word that the elite dread the most: abortion. The reason we must allow millions of illegal aliens in to fill these jobs is because we have murdered a generation that would otherwise be filling them: 40 million sacrificed since 1973 to the god of self-fulfillment. And Americans are barely maintaining a replacement-level birthrate of 2.1 children per woman.

Remember the compassionate stuff that the abortionists used to tell us: “We are just preventing these poor kids from growing up in deprived, impoverished circumstances”? Hah! False. What happens is that others come in from abroad to live in those deprived, difficult, and impoverished circumstances and at great public cost.

That’s right. If all you selfish women out there would just have more children to become our own homegrown underclass, we wouldn’t have to go to the bother and expense of importing an underclass!

Make no mistake, despite this report’s emphasis on illegal immigration, the real target here is any immigration at all that isn’t white, English-speaking and Christian. The emphasis on English-speaking is also a dogwhistle for those concerned that the Hispanic population of the US is the only group with an above-replacement fertility rate. The obvious corollary that by limiting abortion they will automatically increase the births to illegal immigrants already living in the States passes them by.

They’re wrong about the “illegal immigrant” source of the bulk of NESB births anyway. Those who lament the decline of Anglo fecundity compared to Hispanics always fail to mention that most of the Hispanic population in the USA are either perfectly legal immigrants or are multi-generational birthright citizens descended from Hispanic settlements that pre-date the USA (most of California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, just for starters, were Hispanic territories that English-speaking Americans gained by conquest). Even if they could prevent all illegal immigration tomorrow, there are still going to be more babies growing up speaking Spanish in the home than speaking English, unless Anglophone white women get with the program and gestate (strangely, Anglophone black women don’t seem needed for this duty).

There is no examination of the ‘need’ for an underclass to provide cheap labour, nor the environmental and social crises arising from global overpopulation, in this worldview.

The idea that Big Business has no inherent right to dirt-cheap labour, simply to prop up enormous profit margins that disproportionately benefit the managerial class at the expense of workers and shareholders, in pursuit of some mythical trickle-down wealth creation, doesn’t get a look-in. If the back-breaking dirty work was better paid and regulated, those American employers who are disturbed by the sight of so many NESB brown faces lining up for miniscule paypackets would have ESB white faces beating down the doors for more equitable remuneration (and their increased discretionary funds would help prime the consumerism pump).

Neither does the idea of providing better social infrastructure for families with young children as a solution to the falling birthrate cross their minds as a viable agenda. The fertility rate (births per woman) for the European Union as a whole is 1.47, and it is the countries with the most generous family benefits such as the Scandinavian countries which have the highest fertility rates (between 1.66 Denmark – 1.78 Norway). This of course is still far from the Emery-Colson dream of increasing the American fertility rate from its current level of 2.09 to, well, what? The countries with fertility rates hovering around the 3, 4 and 5 mark are not exactly models of either economic success, social parity or democracy, and their health services tend to be such that many of they children that are born don’t survive to enter the workforce in any case. How do these advocates of increased fertility rates imagine that the USA will manage to cope with such a vast increase in children needing healthcare and education?

Maybe they plan to follow the model of the burgeoning Quiverfull movement, where all checks on natural fertility are eschewed, and children’s needs are all met by their stay-at-home mothers, fonts of wholesome home remedies and sound home schooling of future generations of warriors for Christ. They’re very worried about the the white birthrate as well.

Raising a large family, she replied, was itself her “battle station,” as deliberately political an act as canvassing for conservative candidates, not to mention part of a long-term plan to win the culture war “demographically.”

Population is a preoccupation for many Quiverfull believers, who trade statistics on the falling white birthrate in European countries like Germany and France. Every ethnic conflict becomes evidence for their worldview: Muslim riots in France, Latino immigration in California, Sharia law in Canada. The motivations aren’t always racist, but the subtext of “race suicide” is often there.

Don’t think that “have more children for the country” racist conservatives will stop at making abortion illegal. They want to take away our contraceptives too.

Dr. Joseph B. Stanford, who was appointed by President Bush in 2002 to the F.D.A.’s Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee despite (or perhaps because of) his opposition to contraception, [wrote in] a 1999 essay: “Sexual union in marriage ought to be a complete giving of each spouse to the other, and when fertility (or potential fertility) is deliberately excluded from that giving I am convinced that something valuable is lost.”

When they’re not busy equating contraceptives with abortifacents, they’re just concerned about the broader message that controlling pregnancy sends.

The conservative [viewpoint is] that giving even more government backing to emergency contraception and other escape hatches from unwanted pregnancy will lead to a new wave of sexual promiscuity. An editorial in the conservative magazine Human Events characterized the effect of such legislation as “enabling more low-income women to have consequence-free sex.”

Because if poor women can’t be forced to complete unplanned and unwanted pregnancies, then we can’t shame them sufficiently in later years for being worthless welfare mothers raising hopeless delinquents, and we desperately need their offspring to perform menial jobs to feed the maw of commerce that must be fed or we won’t have enough shiny things to show Jesus when he comes again, or something like that. I’m starting to get lost in the convoluted anti-family-planning “logic” here.

Thankfully for Australia for the moment, our most high-profile “have another baby” advocates do not condone coercing women into unwanted pregnancies by removing the option of abortion, and our most high-profile anti-abortion advocates [pdf] do not condone draconian anti-immigration policies. Long may it stay that way.

Crossposted at Larvatus Prodeo

Categories: gender & feminism, social justice

Tags: , , , ,

11 replies

  1. Hi Tigtog,
    World estimations of the number of terminations carried out each year is somewhere between 20 and 88 million.
    3,500 per day / 1.3 million per year in America alone.
    50% of that 1.3 million claimed failed birth control was to blame.
    A further 48% had failed to use any birth control at all.
    And 2% had medical reasons.
    That means a stagering 98% may have been avoided had an effective birth control been used.
    People have to stop using abortion as birth control.
    I’d like to see effective birth control made available to all who can’t afford it.

  2. Here comes the cut and pasted comments from you on yet another blog discussing abortion, eh ausblog? Do you just google for them every day?
    I’ll leave your comment above to stand, but note that the anti-abortion activists are largely anti-contraception as well, and as you’ve often been told before, not every woman can tolerate the particular hormonal implant contraceptive you continually push. You’re going straight into moderation now, and further cut and pastes from you will be deleted.

  3. They just don’t get it do they? They just can’t put all the stats together with the public policies of the last 20 years to see why women are having fewer children.
    I’m 28, and the kid is due shortly (the Bloke is concerned people may think we’re having it for Costello, obviously that thought is vomit-inducing), none of my friends have kids. What we do all have are enormous HECS debts, uncertain employment prospects, and no chance of buying a house anytime this century. Once upon a time People Like Us (uni educated, professional, all the things they want us to reproduce) used to get full-time jobs when they finished uni. They partnered up, saved money, and bought a house, safe in the expectation that they would still have a job in ten years time. None of my friends has a full-time permanent job. We have casual work, contracts, and self-employment. Even the fairly well-paid friends know they have limited contracts, and no certainty in their ability to get the next gig (or how much it will pay, and how long they’ll have on ‘holiday’ between the two). Several of my friends have had to spend significant time living apart from their partners in order to hold down a job and get ahead. It’s unlikely my best mate will get pregnant (even if she wanted to) when she and her partner live on different continents. Friends who have foreign born partners have spent lots of time apart because our immigration system forces it in the years it takes to make someone a permanent resident in Australia. All of those things slow down the rate at which a relationship progresses, and the longer you put off having the first kid, the fewer you’re likely to have.
    We live without any of the certainty Abbott & Costello, Family First or the US Republicans think we should provide for children, because they removed it from our economic system. The sooner the economic rationalists take the blame for the birth rate, the sooner we can feel safe enough to get breeding.
    Maybe they could increase the middle-class birth rate by employing graduates in the public service and giving them 20 year contracts? It mightn’t make us have more children, but maybe we’d have them younger and save the government that way by having fewer complications and use less IVF.

  4. Incidentally, our kid is also the result of ‘failed contraception’, because no matter how diligently you use any method, there’s a risk of failure.
    My mother worked with a woman who attributed each of her 5 children to different forms of failed contraception.

  5. That whole post was creepy to read. It isn’t every woman’s dream to have a child so it’s a choice we can make in this age.
    I have lesbian friends in WA who are trying everything to have a baby which they will love and nuture but gyno problems are playing havoc with their dream.
    When are they going to get it that women don’t have children for factory fodder or for that matter, gun fodder?

  6. It’s certainly true that not all women want kids, and that some women want them and can’t have them. There always have been. However, I gather the decline in fertility is attributed to fertile women (or rather couples) who do want kids having fewer of them. A ‘normal’ family has shrunk in the last few generations from 4 to 1 or 2. Costello’s remarks about ‘one for the country’ were directly related to the smaller number of families with 3 kids. There are far fewer very large families, which used to make up for the individuals and couples with no kids. My grandparents for example, had ten children, which more than made up for their siblings who were single or infertile.
    One of the reasons we have fewer kids is that we start having them later (at least partly because we partner later) – if you space them out that means having a third child in your 40s, which is not necessarily possible or desirable. Another is that we have higher expectations of what we will spend on kids (they’re far more likely to finish school than their grandparents for a start, so we support them longer) and we have to pay for them with roughly the same amount of money. A third reason is that we have better contraception than previous generations, and therefore fewer surprises (although obviously there are still surprises).
    Why these guys think it’s better to make poor women breed (which keeps them poor) rather than supporting them to get educated and in a position where they can choose children freely (like the security of health and education systems) is a much harder question. And it makes me rather sad.

  7. What society needs is more liberals.
    Warning: Pursuing the implications of that statement in the context of this thread has been shown to cause spontaneous cranial detonation in adherents to nine out of ten political philosophies.

  8. Hi Tigtog, you’d get more traffic if my comments weren’t cut.
    They can at times be like a red rag to a bull…..just a thought.

  9. Hey may be we could team up ? ulookkindacute

  10. Oh that’s not you. and married , sorry:)

  11. ausblog, I don’t blog just to count comments and site-stats. I don’t see any substantive addition to the discussion in just letting cutnpaste boilerplate screeds through to be debunked yet again just like they have been elsewhere. Anyone here who is curious could do a google on your handle and a quote from your first comment and they’ll see everything you usually say on other blogs, should they care to do so.
    Your last couple of comments indicate a genuine sense of humour, by the way. So if you’re going to comment, why not engage in good faith and actually discuss what I’ve posted instead of just riding your hobbyhorse?

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