Advocate of Forced Abortion and Sterilization Invited to Vatican

News has broken that Paul Ehrlich, a thoroughly discredited scientist and advocate of gross injustices against the poor, has been invited to speak at a Vatican conference in late February hosted by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.

For obvious reasons, this causes great concern to anyone who cares about the poor and marginalized in the developing world. These vulnerable brothers and sisters of ours have long been targeted for extinction by those who think that, when it comes to poverty and the environment, people are the problem.  Mr. Ehrlich is foremost among the false prophets of doom who consistently pit the future of the world against its poor, the latter being the obstacle to progress and environmental “sustainability.” The fact that Ehrlich has been so spectacularly wrong in his doomsday predictions about the supposed threats of “overpopulation” has not slowed him down in the least, he still claims after all his failed prophecies that unless we can more drastically reduce population, that the environmental apocalypse is just around the corner.

We ask that Paul Ehrlich not be given a platform at the Vatican which he can use to bolster his own diminished scientific and moral credibility. His views must be directly confronted and denounced in no uncertain terms.

Much more could be said about Ehrlich and his destructive campaign against the poor and disempowered, but we will let him speak for himself below. Following are quotes from just some of his works, in which he directly attacks the Catholic Church and the pope, and advocates for forced abortion, forced sterilization, and other crimes that, in large part due to his past success, are widespread today.


ecosciencecover “One way to carry out this disapproval might be to insist that all illegitimate babies be put up for adoption — especially those born to minors, who generally are not capable of caring properly for a child alone.  If a single mother really wished to keep her baby, she might be obliged to go through adoption proceedings and demonstrate her ability to support and care for it.  Adoption proceedings probably should remain more difficult for single people than for married couples, in recognition of the relative difficulty of raising children alone.  It would even be possible to require pregnant single women to marry or have abortions, perhaps as an alternative to placement for adoption, depending on the society.”

– page 786, Paul R. and Anne H. Ehrlich and John P. Holdren.  Ecoscience:  Population, Resources, Environment [San Francisco:  W.H. Freeman Company], 1978.]. (emphasis added)

“Involuntary fertility control A program of sterilizing women after their second or third child, despite the relatively greater difficulty of the operation than vasectomy, might be easier to implement than trying to sterilize men. … The development of a long-term sterilizing capsule that could be implanted under the skin and removed when pregnancy is desired opens additional possibilities for coercive fertility control. The capsule could be implanted at puberty and might be removable, with official permission, for a limited number of births” [pages 786-787].

“Adding a sterilant to drinking water or staple foods is a suggestion that seems to horrify people more than most proposals for involuntary fertility control. Indeed, this would pose some very difficult political, legal, and social questions, to say nothing of the technical problems.  No such sterilant exists today, nor does one appear to be under development.  To be acceptable, such a substance would have to meet some rather stiff requirements: it must be uniformly effective, despite widely varying doses received by individuals, and despite varying degrees of fertility and sensitivity among individuals; it must be free of dangerous or unpleasant side effects; and it must have no effect on members of the opposite sex, children, old people, pets, or livestock” [pages 787-788].

“Indeed, it has been concluded that compulsory population-control laws, even including laws requiring compulsory abortion, could be sustained under the existing Constitution if the population crisis became sufficiently severe to endanger the society” [page 837].

“If some individuals contribute to general social deterioration by overproducing children, and if the need is compelling, they can be required by law to exercise reproductive responsibility — just as they can be required to exercise responsibility in their resource-consumption patterns—providing they are not denied equal protection. … In today’s world, however, the number of children in a family is a matter of profound public concern. The law regulates other highly personal matters. For example, no one may lawfully have more than one spouse at a time.  Why should the law not be able to prevent a person from having more than two children?” [page 838].

“If this could be accomplished, security might be provided by an armed international organization, a global analogue of a police force.  Many people have recognized this as a goal, but the way to reach it remains obscure in a world where factionalism seems, if anything, to be increasing. The first step necessarily involves partial surrender of sovereignty to an international organization.” [page 917].

“Toward a Planetary Regime … Perhaps those agencies, combined with UNEP and the United Nations population agencies, might eventually be developed into a Planetary Regime — sort of an international superagency for population, resources, and environment.  Such a comprehensive Planetary Regime could control the development, administration, conservation, and distribution of all natural resources, renewable or nonrenewable, at least insofar as international implications exist. Thus the Regime could have the power to control pollution not only in the atmosphere and oceans, but also in such freshwater bodies as rivers and lakes that cross international boundaries or that discharge into the oceans.  The Regime might also be a logical central agency for regulating all international trade, perhaps including assistance from DCs to LDCs, and including all food on the international market. … The Planetary Regime might be given responsibility for determining the optimum population for the world and for each region and for arbitrating various countries’ shares within their regional limits. Control of population size might remain the responsibility of each government, but the Regime would have some power to enforce the agreed limits” [pages 942-943].

“Humanity cannot afford to muddle through the rest of the twentieth century; the risks are too great, and the stakes are too high.  This may be the last opportunity to choose our own and our descendants’ destiny.  Failing to choose or making the wrong choices may lead to catastrophe.  But it must never be forgotten that the right choices could lead to a much better world” [page 944].

“With its dramatically slowed population growth and a jump in food production, China’s recent record far outshines that of other developing nations.”

― Anne H. Ehrlich and Paul R. Ehrlich (founder of Zero Population Growth (ZPG)).  “Why Do People Starve?”  The Amicus Journal, Spring 1987, page 45.

“[China’s coercive population‑control program is] remarkably vigorous and effective [and China should be acknowledged] as a leader in a grand experiment in the management of population and natural resources.”

― Paul Ehrlich.  National Geographic Magazine, December 1988, page 922.

“First priority must be given to population control.  We deliberately use the term ‘family planning.’  Family planning all to often means planning to have too many children, but spacing them more evenly.”

― Paul R. Ehrlich and Anne H. Ehrlich.  The Population Explosion [New York City:  Simon and Schuster], 1990, page 190.

“It would be a good idea to let people have their choice so that they could have fewer children and could have what [gender] they wanted. … It may be better for girls to be aborted because you can be aborted as a conceptus, you can be killed at birth, or you can be sold into slavery and die in a slum someplace.  It would be interesting to know how many females you’re keeping out of hideous situations [when they are not] killed or infanticided.”

― Paul Ehrlich, commenting on sex-selective abortion, in a chapter entitled “The Doomsayer” in Mara Hvistendahl.  Unnatural Selection:  Choosing Boys over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men [PublicAffairs, 2011], page 108.

“To our minds, the fundamental cure, reducing the scale of the human enterprise (including the size of the population) to keep its aggregate consumption within the carrying capacity of Earth, is obvious but too much neglected or denied.  There are great social and psychological barriers in growthmanic cultures to even considering it.  This is especially true because of the ‘endarkenment’ — a rapidly growing movement towards religious orthodoxies that reject enlightenment values such as freedom of thought, democracy, separation of church and state, and basing beliefs and actions on empirical evidence.  They are manifest in dangerous trends such as climate denial, failure to act on the loss of biodiversity and opposition to condoms (for AIDS control) as well as other forms of contraception.  If ever there was a time for evidence-based (as opposed to faith-based) risk reduction strategies, it is now.” …

“If foresight intelligence became established, many more scientists and policy planners (and society) might, for example, understand the demographic contributions to the predicament, stop treating population growth as a ‘given’ and consider the nutritional, health and social benefits of humanely ending growth well below nine billion and starting a slow decline.  This would be a monumental task, considering the momentum of population growth.  Monumental, but not impossible if the political will could be generated globally to give full rights, education and opportunities to women, and provide all sexually active human beings with modern contraception and backup abortion. The degree to which those steps would reduce fertility rates is controversial, but they are a likely win-win for societies.”

― Paul Ehrlich, quoted in “Can a Collapse of Global Civilization be Avoided?”  Proceedings of the Royal Society B (Biological Sciences), January 9, 2013.

“Think of the influence on sex of the big unethical monotheisms that run much of our Western world and believe themselves to be above criticism.  Prior to their dominance, the pagans in the Roman Empire let each other live and let live — as long as you helped protect your fellow citizens by doing the proper sacrifices to the local deities.  The pagans weren’t interested in converting others.  Of course, the most unethical thing going on now with one of the monotheisms, Catholicism, is opposition to the use of contraception.  The main source of that is the Vatican and its bishops.  Yet Catholics use contraception as much as non-Catholics, and they have abortions with even higher frequency.  But the reason that the hierarchy fights against both is that the higher-ups in the church don’t want to admit that the Protestants and Jews were right.  The picture with Islam is more mixed and not remotely as injurious as the Catholic position.  Islam, like Protestantism and originally henotheistic Judaism, generally permits contraception, and since the Pharisees, Judaism has had little interest in proselytizing.  All are unethical since their leaders often attempt to dictate the behavior, especially sexual behavior, of others with at the very least threats and at the worst torture and murder.  All of them, with trivial exceptions, tend to oppress women.  Much of this is an evolutionary continuation of male dominance, based now often on dictates received from imaginary entities.  And, of course, in most societies criticizing the ridiculous ideas of religion cannot be part of reasonable social discourse.

“Thus you have ‘God-fearing’ people trying to maintain their rigid positions, especially trying to control the lives of women.  I consider that their rigid opposition to something so basic, so critical to the future of life on Earth, as controlling reproduction to be just as unethical as any major affront to the environment or terrorist act.  They’re working to kill people — women who need safe abortions now, and our descendants who are likely to have much higher death rates related to the decay of human life-support systems as a consequence of overpopulation.

“The pope and many of the bishops are one of the truly evil, regressive forces on the planet, in my opinion, interested primarily in maintaining their power.  What other collective conclusions should one reasonably draw from the outrageous lawsuits that have been filed on behalf of so many victims of pedophilia and other crimes against humanity, all covered up by the church?

“Consider the bishops assaulting nuns for trying to be good Christians and helping people, while turning their backs on the child abuse that has become one of the defining attributes of the church.  And it’s not just the Catholic Church.  Think of the state of women in general.”

― Paul R. Ehrlich and Michael Charles Tobias.  Chapter 4, “Getting One’s Priorities Right.”  In Hope on Earth:  A Conversation [University of Chicago Press], 2014.

“Pope Francis needs to heed his own comments on the Church’s ‘obsession’ with contraception and abortion, and assume a leadership position in support of women’s rights and family planning.  There is little chance that the existential challenge facing humanity will be met if the call for dramatic change in society is not expanded to embrace the global demographic dilemma.”

― Paul Ehrlich and John Harte, quoted in Nature Climate Change, October 2015, page 904.

“We will soon be asking, ‘is it perfectly okay to eat the bodies of your dead because we’re all so hungry?’… It’s moving in that direction with ridiculous speed.”

― Paul Ehrlich, quoted in Tim Worstall.  “Paul Ehrlich Predicts Cannibalism, Plot Finally and Irretrievably Lost.”  Forbes, May 23, 2014.


About HLI Staff

HLI staff writers bring you stories from the mission field and the latest information on life and family issues. All HLI articles are true to Catholic teaching.

Leave a Comment