At a time when abortion activists are demanding more access to abortion and birth control, new research found that many families across the globe are having the exact opposite problem – accessing resources to help them have children.
New research by The Economist found that families throughout the world said they want more children, not fewer, but many lack the support they need to reach their ideal family size. As the researchers put it, the world is “suffering a shortage of children.”
The findings contradict abortion activists’ claims that women are hurting because they don’t have better access to birth control and abortion. They have used these claims to overturn common-sense abortion clinic regulations and to force religious objectors and individuals to pay for contraception and abortion causing drugs. They’re on a mission to force every American taxpayer to pay for abortions, too.
But that’s not what most people want, according to the research data.
“We also find that access to birth control is seldom much of an issue,” the report states. “Few young people will have more children than they want because reliable contraception was not available to them. The poll also signals a global shift. Judging by the collective desires of parents and would-be parents, more suffering is caused by having too few babies than too many.”
The news outlet polled people in 19 countries and discovered that a majority of families had smaller family sizes than their ideal. They asked people how many children they have, how many they expect to have and how many they ideally would like to have. They also asked people to explain how they were affected by either obtaining or not obtaining their ideal family size.
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In 11 of the 19 countries, family sizes were smaller than people’s ideals, while eight countries reported family sizes that overshot people’s ideal numbers, according to the poll.
The pro-life group Women Speak for Themselves praised The Economist for highlighting the global problem.
“One of the most touching aspects of the article was its reporting on families who went above their ‘ideal family size,’” the group noted on its blog. “Most often, parents worldwide delighted in their extra additions. Those with fewer children had more of a struggle.”
The researchers found:
In America 39% of people who reckon they will exceed their ideal number of children report that they are more satisfied with life as a result, whereas just 8% feel sorry for themselves (see chart 2). Indians and Pakistanis are even more cheerful about overshooting their ideal family size, as many do. (Admittedly, Indians and Pakistanis who have fewer than the ideal number of children are also pleased, suggesting they are just rather sanguine.)
In all but one of the Western countries we polled, though, undershooting is more often felt to be bad than good. In America 15% of those who have fewer than the ideal number of children think that their life is better as a result, whereas 21% say it is worse. Having no children at all is especially painful. A 34-year-old American woman, Angela Bergmann, who has been trying to get pregnant for a decade, moved to a bad neighbourhood to scrape together the money to pay for treatment. An ectopic pregnancy left her severely depressed. “It’s hugely draining on you as a couple,” says Emily Ansell, a 30-year-old university worker in Sheffield who has twice miscarried. Many couples suffer in silence: infertility still carries a stigma.
In addition, only 6 percent of people under 35 said they had larger families than their ideal because of a lack of reliable contraception.
Researchers found that financial problems were the biggest issues for most families who wanted more children. Poverty, the cost of living, economic turmoil in countries like Greece, expensive infertility treatments and other factors played into peoples’ less-than-ideal family situations.
Abortion activists keep claiming that women need better access to contraception and abortion; but it turns out that what people really need is what pro-life organizations, pregnancy centers, adoption agencies, religious institutions and so many others have been striving to provide all along – better financial and societal support for themselves and their children.