Thursday, January 22, 2015

Three Things Thursday

Today is the March for Life, so I figured I'd do a Three Things Thursday on various life-related issues.

1. We're still waiting for the 2014 population data to be released, but the 2015 fertility rate in the United States is projected to be at 1.97. Estimates say that out country will stay at this rate, with a possible slight increase, for the next 35 years. If those numbers are correct, we'll hit 400,000 citizens in 2050.

China's fertility rate has hit a low of 1.66. That's because their country is actively working to lower the population. The forecasts say that China's efforts will finally take effect in the 2030's. Their population will actively decrease due to many deaths and fewer births, and India will steal China's title as "country with the most people".

Japan is still in bad shape. Not only is the population getting older, but each year, the number of babies born hits a new record low. The average age in Japan, in 2014, was 46.2 years old. It's expected that the average age in Japan will hit 50 in the early 2020's.

2. Recently, I've seen some arguments that say that abortion and contraception are good, because they eliminate poverty. I am disturbed at how similar this is to the arguments for eugenics. "Make sure poor people don't reproduce" is not an ethical or a viable solution for poverty.

Of course, it's possible that I'm oversensitive to this issue, because I plan on having a child with Katie, after we get married. I only made $15,000 last year, and people say I am too poor to have any children. I find that to be offensive, and none of their business!

3. I think the debates on birth control will radically change, once male contraceptives are introduced. Right now, Vasagel is looking like the first male contraceptive that will be publicly available. It works by injecting a polymer into the vas deferens, which prevents sperm from exiting. The polymer lasts for many years, and the effect can be reversed with a second injection. The estimated cost is about $300 per shot. The tests on rabbits and baboons have been successful, and they plan on doing testing on humans later this year.

How would male birth control change things? Well, I expect our society will pressure most men into going on birth control, in the same way that our society pressures women to get on birth control. I suspect that the percentage of men who never have kids will greatly increase, which will, in turn, make the fertility rate go down. I also suspect an increase of sexual activity would cause a rise in STDs, since male birth control doesn't stop HIV.

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