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India’s looming two-child policy

Family | Population control efforts would hurt more than they help
by Kiley Crossland
Posted 9/06/19, 03:45 pm

Population control is gaining momentum in India. While politicians point to environmental issues as the impetus, there are other forces behind it, including religious purity. And an inevitable increase in abortions will likely follow any policy changes.

Jonathan Abbamonte, a research analyst with the Population Research Institute, told me that India’s Hindu nationalists see population control as a way to reduce the county’s birthrate among religious minorities such as Muslims and Christians: “They want to preserve India for Hindus. They want India to be a Hindu nation.”

Some supporters of decreasing the number of people in the country also hold up China’s one-child policy as a model, a fact that is especially troubling, said Abbamonte, given that Indian politicians know about China’s resulting demographic crisis. He and others predict India will soon institute a nationwide population control policy, which could lead to disastrous consequences. Such a policy could pressure low-income women to seek an abortion to keep their families eligible for government benefits and worsen the widespread problem of sex-selective abortions.

“A population control law would only deepen the problem as some parents who have strong son preference would seek to abort second daughters in order to keep their quota open for a son,” Abbamonte said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a staunch Hindu nationalist, publicly pushed for couples to have fewer children in a speech last month, calling it an act of patriotism. He promised health and happiness to those who kept their families small. “Your family will be away from disease, will have more resources,” he said on Indian Independence Day.

Many Indians share the misconception that problems such as water shortages, air pollution, soil erosion, and congested cities result from the size of the population, and politicians like Modi play on those fears. In his speech, Modi said “population explosion” was occurring at an unrestrained pace in India and “creating innumerable challenges for us and the coming generations.” But the country’s population growth has slowed over the past several decades. The number of people in India is estimated to peak by 2059 and then start shrinking, according to population figures projected by the United Nations. Fertility is also declining, with many Indian states already below replacement level.

This week, an influential politician on the other side of the political spectrum from Modi echoed his call. “There should be a nationwide discussion on population control,” Indian National Congress party leader Jitin Prasada said on Sunday. “A law should be made in this regard.”

Last month, a member of Modi’s party presented a bill in Parliament that would impose a two-child policy, barring people who have more than two children from holding public office, increasing the interest on their bank loans, and penalizing large families with reduced food and kerosene rations. Individual states have already passed similar laws.

“The writing is on the wall,” Abbamonte said. “What the contours of this policy might look like and how much political support it receives still remains to be seen.”

Associated Press/Photo by Rachel Leathe/Bozeman Daily Chronicle Associated Press/Photo by Rachel Leathe/Bozeman Daily Chronicle Juniper Eastwood

Gender at the finish line

A runner at the University of Montana became the first transgender athlete to compete in an NCAA Division I cross-country meet last week. Juniper Eastwood finished seventh in the women’s 4-kilometer race Saturday in the Clash of the Inland Northwest meet in Cheney, Wash. The Montana women’s team placed second overall.

Eastwood, 22, is a redshirt senior who competed for three years as Jonathan Eastwood in both cross-country and track. As a high school runner, Eastwood won the Class A Montana cross-country championship and swept the 800-meter, 1,600-meter, and 3,200-meter state titles in track and field, according to the Missoulian in Missoula, Mont. Eastwood took a break from competition last year to start hormone therapy. The NCAA, which governs the sport, requires male-to-female transgender athletes to take testosterone suppression pills for 12 months before competing, but it does impose a maximum testosterone level. Eastwood claims to have lost muscle mass, endurance, and speed as a result of hormone suppressants and clocked a slower time than normal last week.

“I am not in a position to know if June will gain an unfair advantage,” University of Montana athletic director Kent Haslem told The Daily Caller. “It is not my area of expertise and therefore we rely on the policies as set by the NCAA.”

But critics are pushing the NCAA to reevaluate its policies, especially considering science is finding hormone therapy does not level the playing field. A recent study found male-to-female transgender athletes who maintain suppressed testosterone levels still have a significant advantage over female athletes because hormone therapy does not eliminate the performance benefits of going through puberty as a man. —K.C.

Associated Press/Photo by Audrey McAvoy (file) Associated Press/Photo by Audrey McAvoy (file) Fruit-flavored e-cigarette products

Michigan to ban flavored vaping

The governor of Michigan announced on Wednesday she plans to outlaw the sale of flavored e-cigarettes in her state. “Companies selling vaping products are using candy flavors to hook children on nicotine and misleading claims to promote the belief that these products are safe,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, said. “That ends today.”

The governor’s office said the new rules will take effect in the next few weeks, and businesses will have a month to comply. Under Michigan law, Whitmer may implement state laws without legislative action if they protect public health or respond to a health emergency.

Health officials across the country recently started reporting cases of severe breathing illnesses associated with vaping, adding to mounting evidence that vaping—even without nicotine—harms users, especially young people.

Vaping advocates argue the ban will close hundreds of small businesses, send thousands of ex-smokers back to combustible cigarettes, and create a black market for flavored vaping cartridges. Gregory Conley, president of the American Vaping Association, said he estimated every Michigan vaping shop would lose at least 90 percent of its sales. The vaping industry is expected to file a lawsuit to fight the ban. —K.C.

Parenting on the backburner

Fewer Americans today value having children than did 20 years ago, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey. About 43 percent of those surveyed said they placed a high value on having children, down 16 percentage points from 1998. Among those ages 18 to 38, it was even lower, at about 32 percent, an attitude that jives with plummeting U.S. birth and fertility rates.

Fewer Americans also said patriotism (down 9 points to 61 percent) and religion (down 12 points to 50 percent) were very important to them. —K.C.

Kiley Crossland

Kiley is a former WORLD correspondent.

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  • OldMike
    Posted: Sun, 09/08/2019 02:29 pm

    I am very confused by this excerpt from the article on India and population control efforts:

    “Many Indians share the misconception that problems such as water shortages, air pollution, soil erosion, and congested cities result from the size of the population...”

    I also share that “misconception,” if I have correctly understood what I read. 

  • Andy Knudsen
    Posted: Sun, 09/08/2019 06:36 pm


    Obviously, population growth and some of those problems seem to correlate. However, with every additional person in the world also comes another person created in the image of God that can work, love and serve others, and  find ways to solve those environmental concerns. I think that "overpopulation" is one of the least concerning "problems" in the world - it's actually a good think that more people are surviving birth, disease, etc. and living longer.

  • VolunteerBB
    Posted: Mon, 09/09/2019 09:43 pm

    Corruption, lack of infrastructure, allowing people to own land, the necessary bribes it takes and barriers to starting and owning businesses, etc.  Many of these countries make it harder to live and prosper.  They need more freedoms, not forced abortions or birth control or whatever they want to call it.

  • JerryM
    Posted: Sun, 09/08/2019 06:38 pm

    “I am not in a position to know if June will gain an unfair advantage,” University of Montana athletic director Kent Haslem told The Daily Caller. “It is not my area of expertise and therefore we rely on the policies as set by the NCAA.”

    What is in this coach’s and, indeed, everyone’s area of expertise is the ability to acknowledge that Jonathan/Juniper is and will always be male.  

    It is statements like the above that lay bare the level of delusionary thinking that has infected our culture.