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This blog is maintained by the Ruth Institute. It provides a place for our Circle of Experts to express themselves. This is where the scholars, experts, students and followers of the Ruth Institute engage in constructive dialogue about the issues surrounding the Sexual Revolution. We discuss public policy, social practices, legal doctrines and much more.
In my last post, I asked, “Where are the libertarians when we need them?” (Metaphorically, by asking about Libertarian icon, Murray Rothbard.) I was looking at the truly appalling Reproductive Health Bill, foisted on the people of the Republic of the Philippines, by the United Nations Population Fund, aided and abetted by the United States government.
When the government is taking such a heavy-handed approach to “reproductive health” as to insist on a “Certificate of Compliance” before couples can get married, or to mandate “age-appropriate” sex education, one naturally wonders: what is the problem this legislation is designed to solve? Is there an over-population crisis in the Philippines?
What are the facts?
In the Philippines, the Total Fertility Rate is (are you sitting down? Are you ready for this shocking over-breeding? Drum roll…..)
3.06 births per woman.
In the US, the TFR is 2.01 births per woman, considered to be exactly “replacement” fertility.
Let’s take some additional factors into account.
The typical “demographic transition” works like this. In pre-modern societies, families have children to help on the farm and care for parents in their old age. People tend to give birth to more children than they may ultimately want, because they expect some of those children to not survive until adulthood. When the infant and child mortality rates decline due to better health care, people begin having fewer children.
Somehow, women and their families figured this out, some centuries ago, even without hormonal contraception, and even without the UN Population Fund looking over their shoulders.
So, what is the infant mortality rate in the Philippines? Within the first year of life, 17.64 children die per 1,000 live births. For the sake of comparison, the infant mortality rate in the United States is a mere 6. 17 deaths per thousand live births.
In other words, Filipina women have just one more baby over the course of their lifetimes than do American women, in spite of the fact that their babies are almost 3 times more likely to die.
In the Philippines, the mothers’ mean age at first birth is 23.1 years old, not dreadfully young. And the life expectancy at birth for the people of the Philippines is 72.48 years of age. By comparison, the median age at first birth in the United States is 25.4 and the life expectancy at birth is 79.56.
True enough, the people of the Philippines have less money income than people in the United States. But the overall picture is hardly a desperate over-population nightmare, or of people dropping in the streets from starvation.
The Reproductive Health Bill is a totally unwarranted intrusion by the Philippine government into the private lives of its citizens. And the interference of the United Nations and the United States in the internal affairs of this sovereign nation, which was absolutely necessary to get this bill passed, is an affront to common decency.
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