March 26, 2001
There is currently a great ambivalence in the pro-life movement, a potent Republican constituency, about immigration reduction. While some pro-lifers such as Phyllis Schlafly have for years had enough wits about them to see through the sophistry, others have been taken in by the line that since immigration reduction is a cause favored by those who oppose population growth, it is therefore part and parcel of the same movement and mentality that produces forced abortions in China and other horrors. This fact has been cynically exploited by pro-immigration lobbyists in the past. The sloppy compassion-worship of corrupted liberal post-Vatican II Catholics has had its go in favor of immigration here, too. The truth, of course, is that the self-interest of the pro-life cause lies in immigration reduction, particularly in the long run. For two reasons:
America, despite its national mythology to the contrary and fast-disappearing heritage of empty spaces, is no more immune to population pressures than any other society. If America remains a country with moderate population density and low net population growth, it will be able to essentially ignore nasty population-control measures. If, on the other hand, it allows its population to grow to 400 million over the next generation, (currently projected for the year 2050) and keeps on after that, it will eventually find itself in the same situation China is in today. Please don't laugh; demographics is, if you hold the political assumptions constant, a fairly sound science.
The problem is not just the raw numbers of immigrants coming in, but the fact that they will then themselves reproduce, and at a higher rate than native Americans. This is particularly so the more they come from high-fertility Third World societies. Native Americans, like other citizens of highly developed societies like Western Europe and Japan, have a fertility rate that is at or slightly below replacement level, which is what a mature society that has found its natural level needs and can sustain, particularly with advancing consumer lifestyles.
Immigrants overwhelmingly vote pro-choice. Despite wishful thinking about how "Hispanic, Catholic" Mexicans are naturally anti-abortion, the cold empirical fact is that they vote for pro-choice Democrats. Nothing the Republican party has done has been able to change this. And take a look at the madly anti-clerical government that has been running Mexico until last week if you think these people put their religion into their politics.
It is also an uncomfortable fact, casting doubt on the idea that these immigrants are somehow truly pro-life even if they don't vote that way, that Hispanics in the U.S. have a higher abortion rate than women at large. This fact, in turn, means that simply allowing them into the country, quite independently of any political or population-pressure effects, necessarily drives up the national abortion rate as a matter of simple math.
A friend of mine once tried (unsuccessfully) to persuade a political candidate he was working for in Louisiana to combine the pro-life, pro-gun, and immigration-reduction positions by adopting the slogan "Arm the Unborn to Guard the Border."
It's about time we did.
Robert Locke (email him) is a former associate editor at FrontPageMagazine.com (archive here).