Front Royal, Va.
Kathryn Joyce, in “Missing: The ‘Right’ Babies” [March 3], is upset that during a recent speech in Poland, I encouraged the Poles to be more open to life by saying, “I want to see more Poles!” and infers that I and others are in a “panic for more white babies.” Of course, I would like to see more babies in dying Poland–or anywhere else. I am partial to babies, regardless of how much pigment they have in their skin. Speaking to 5,000 people in Manila, I declared, “I want to see more Filipinos!” And last year at a conference in Colombia, I called for more Colombians. Condemn me for being pro-people, if you will, but don’t condemn me for being racist.
And if race is the subject, let me mention my ancestry, which includes Native American blood, and my wife’s, who is Hispanic. My children range in appearance from little Geronimos to little Bridgets, but apparently Joyce couldn’t see beyond the color of my blue eyes. Who’s the racist here?
At Population Research Institute (PRI) our opposition to coercive population control programs in China, Peru and elsewhere, which has benefited tens of millions of women in the developing world, left Joyce unimpressed as well. I guess she thinks China, not to mention the High Andes, is inhabited by Aryans. Population control programs–which we oppose and many on the left support–overwhelmingly target religious and ethnic minorities. They lead to human rights abuses and undermine primary healthcare, thus raising infant and child mortality rates.
But Joyce’s most amazing misrepresentation concerns my call for pronatal policies to help save Social Security and counter the coming demographic winter. This somehow became a call by me for a world in which women are reduced to the role of helpless breeders. Joyce suggests that I intend Christians, of which I am one, to out-reproduce secular humanists, Muslims and others. We at PRI are said to be engaged in “a new cold war, a ‘clash of civilizations’ to be fought through women’s bodies, with the maternity ward as battleground.”
Feminists suppose that pronatal groups like PRI are conspiring to keep women barefoot and pregnant, but–you have my word–I am quite content to let the readers of The Nation make their own fertility decisions. I would only ask that the left show the same regard for others, in America and around the world.
Surveys show that young American women, for example, express a preference for 2.5 children or so, significantly more than the two they are likely to bear. PRI’s goal is to make it possible for women to achieve their desired number of children. It is emphatically not to treat them as wayward children to be propagandized, aborted, sterilized and contracepted out of their inherently pronatal convictions. That, however, seems to be an apt description of the population control project supported by an unconscionable number of self-declared feminists.