The Economic Impact of Abortion

(Vatican Radio) — In his teaching on reaching out to the poor and the marginalized, Pope Francis has stressed that human dignity must not be sacrificed for profits. But some advocates of population control argue that abortion benefits the economy and the common good.

At a conference in Rome on Thursday, Joseph Meaney, the Director of International Coordination at Human Life International, argued that abortion not only attacks the weakest of the weak, it actually harms the economy.

Speaking with Vatican Radio ahead of the event, Meaney explained that over the past fifty years, more than two billion babies had been aborted. “So we’re talking about almost a third of the human population which has been eliminated in the last 50 years,” he said, “And that has impacts everywhere, and on all kinds of levels, and on one of those levels is the economics.”

Meaney was refuting an argument made popular in the best-selling economics book Freakonomics, which claimed that abortion in US had reduced crime rate by 50%; and offered social benefits of over 30 billion dollars annually from abortion. Meaney said, the authors “made a post hoc ergo propter hoc error — they said that just because something happened afterwards, it was caused by something that happened before . . . It’s a common fallacy.”

“Let’s be very clear,” he continued, “Abortion is never permissible. Even if there was an economic benefit to aborting children, we wouldn’t be allowed to do it. It’s immoral to kill an innocent. But it’s also important to refute negative arguments from people who think that they’re making sense. It’s important to refute those arguments so that people don’t have an additional reason to commit the sin of abortion.”

Pope Francis, Meaney said, has called for the Church “to be present in the margins… to go help the poor… to be a light in the darkest recesses of our world.” The abortion culture, he said, is sending the exact opposite message: “What these economists are saying, basically, is we need to eliminate the poor. We solve our social problems by aborting the children of poor people…. But the Church’s response, and Pope Francis’s response is we need to help the poor. We need to go and shine God’s love to them, instead of taking a cold and ultimately cruel approach to social problems.”

This article was originally posted on Vatican Radio and is republished with permission.


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