Mosier leads Right to Life Conference discussion
By ERIN LaRUFFA
Addressing a crowd of students from Notre Dame, Saint Mary's and other universities around the Midwest, Population Research Institute president Steve Mosier used his experiences in China as the backdrop for his keynote address at the Right to Life Confer-ence on Saturday.
The Chinese government, Mosier explained, limits the number of children a couple can have to either one or two in order to control population growth in the country.
"This is an extraordinary thing for a government to do — to dictate how fast a population is to grow," said Mosier.
In the Chinese province he studied in, Mosier saw local officials do a house to house survey to determine which women were pregnant. Officials then decided which women would be allowed to continue with their pregnancies based on a quota system, according to Mosier.
Other women, however, were told they would have to have abortions.
"Women were told that for the good of the country and the economy, they were going to have to sacrifice their children," said Mosier.
While many women simply complied, 18 women in the village Mosier was in refused. Some of them were just days from delivery.
Holdouts were arrested, and if they delivered while in prison, their babies were killed, Mosier said.
Mosier explained that he eventually came to see what he describes as the "barbarity" of forced abortions and other Chinese population-control policies.
"I wasn't a believer when I went to China. I thought China was overpopulated. I was wrong," he said.
Witnessing abortions first-hand was a major part of his conversion.
"You can't witness an abortion without becoming pro-life. You can't see the broken body of the baby and the wounded body of the mother without realizing life is sacred," Mosier said. "I was convinced that human life should be protected from conception through death."
Upon returning to the U.S., Mosier began writing books about Chinese practices. The Chinese government in Beijing declared him an international spy.
"I'm still on the blacklist today," he said.
While Mosier is a harsh critic of the communist Chinese government, he also said that the concept population control is not a Chinese one.
"China didn't invent the idea of population control. That idea was invented in the West," he said.
Teams of researchers from the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank went to China years ago, he explained, and gave the idea to the Chinese government.
"They told them … `you have to control your population growth,'" so that the country's population did not eat up any economic gains China made, Mosier said.
However, according to Mosier, China's economy was not expanding because of communism, not because of too many people.
"What held China back was [its] government," he said. "It was the Communist Party and not the Chinese people that had held people back."
Over the last 20 years, according to Mosier, there has been "remarkable economic growth" in China, while the population has grown at a forced 1 percent.
"What difference does it make if the population is growing at 2 percent or 1 percent … if the economy is growing at 10 percent?" Mosier asked.
The policy not only has no real benefit, Mosier said, it also devalues human life in the minds of some Chinese.
"If you can kill them when they're being born … what's so bad about killing them when they're 1 or 2 or 9 or 10?" he asked.
Mosier also said he disagrees with predictions that humans will face running out of food and other problems if Earth's population grows too large.
"It's demographic nonsense," he said. "Humanity is better off today at 6 billion people than at anytime in human history … As our numbers have grown, so has our wealth."
Based on current world food production, it is possible to feed 12 million people, Mosier said. Admitting that there are "local food shortages" in the world today, he claimed that those "artificial famines" are the result of political and other conflicts.
As a father of nine children, Mosier also criticized proponents of population control, even those who support methods other than abortion and infanticide, as being hypocritical in regards to what populations they want to control.
"It's not their own reproduction they're concerned with. It's the reproduction of others that don't look or think like them," he said.
According to Mosier, many sterilization plans around the world are directed against the poor or a certain minority group.
"Human rights abuses abound with these programs," Mosier said.
In addition, Mosier said that population control efforts take doctors and other scarce resources away from primary health care. He pointed to the African AIDS epidemic as an illustration of this point.
Despite what Mosier sees as problems with population control, the U.S. government and private American donors currently fund population control programs in foreign countries, Mosier said. He added that he hopes to make progress in the next few years to transfer these funds into primary health care areas, thus "ending out government's immoral support for population control."
"Right now we have a president who is pro-life," Mosier said. "We're hopeful that this year we can take money out of population control spending."
Mosier's anti-population control beliefs are rooted in his Christian faith.
"The Christian view has always been that babies are blessings, not burdens," Mosier said. "I've come to see children as the instruments God uses to teach us the virtues."
All News Stories for Monday, April 9, 2001