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Last updated on June 15th, 2017 at 12:51 pm

Where have all the babies gone?The Sydney Morning Herald, April 9

Abortion rate hits 91,000 a yearThe Sydney Morning Herald, April 20

Oddly, although the two pieces were published within 11 days of each other, they seem to be talking past the points each raises; the first doesn’t mention abortion, and the second doesn’t mention concern over declining birth rates.

(Via contributor Alan R.M. Jones)

Posted by Tim B. on 04/20/2005 at 07:55 AM
    1. What about the SMH’s own reporting of its decline in readership? yet another ‘random’ event totally unrelated to the quality of the journal itself.

      Posted by Nic on 04/20 at 08:17 AM • #


    1. That kind of decline we can sustain.

      As for the population decline across the western world? It had better be arrested, and soon.

      Posted by Mr Righty on 04/20 at 08:24 AM • #


    1. 91,000 a year. Wow. They wouldn’t report that back here in the states, just because of the reaction the “fundamentalists” and “religious right” would have to it.

      But imagine if that was “Execution rate hits 9,100 a year,” then you’d have the NYT, WaPo, LAT writing 1500 word editorials deploring the state of society while MoveOn and others organized Million Man/Wymnyn Marches in DC.

      Maybe we rebrand murderers as fetuses and see what happens…

      Posted by William Young on 04/20 at 08:40 AM • #


    1. Here in the States they are concerned that liberals aren’t reproducing as fast as conservatives.  They call it the Roe Effect, and the fear is the Left is aboting itself out of existence.

      First the unborn, then the sick, then themselves…

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 04/20 at 08:56 AM • #


    1. I like the first headline … can’t stop singing it to Pete Seeger’s tune … the second headline should have been taken instead be from the last verse which starts “Where have all the graveyards gone?” … Good night …

      Posted by Stevo on 04/20 at 08:57 AM • #


    1. The scary thing is knowing that there are people who look with approval and satisfaction upon high abortion rates, as they consider them a sign of ‘progress.’

      Posted by Ken Begg on 04/20 at 09:06 AM • #


    1. There’s also birth control.  In short, opting not to have kids, where temptation and opportunity were before enough to make the choice for you.  It’s not exactly abortion-specific.

      Kids cost a lot, they start planning their escape starting around age 1, they’re ungrateful, they don’t like you; unlike a dog, which at a fraction of the cost actually enjoys your company.

      I blame dogs.

      Posted by rhhardin on 04/20 at 09:12 AM • #


    1. I think the decline in fertility is connected with the fact that the net tax load is highest during those most fertile years.

      When paying much more than 50% in tax people cannot afford to have children.

      P.S. As a libertarian I beleive forcing women to risk their lives to have children they don’t want is the ultimate in socialism.  I find it odd that the “right” is for it and the “left” is against it, (so you never know the left might switch en-mass).  I also find it odd that the man is forced to pick up the tab for the womans’ decision.

      Posted by Rob Read on 04/20 at 09:13 AM • #


    1. Peter Costello on SBS last night, superb.If the Coalition handle things in similar fashion to what they have done for the past 8 or so years then we are looking at a federal Coalition/conservative government for the next 10 or so years. Costello will defeat Beazley and Labor will have no one left for the forseeable future.If they can hold the line contine to improve the economy, stay conservative on most cultural political issues then the ALP will be losing
      federal elections for at least the next 10 years.

      Posted by slamming mo on 04/20 at 09:37 AM • #


    1. The scale of abortion is truly staggering.

      According to the CIA factbook Australia has a population of about 20 million and annually has 12.4 births per 1000.  That makes about 250,000 births each year.

      This compares with 90,000 abortions.

      As an unborn child that gives you a little less than a 3 in 4 chance of making it to birth if you happen to be conceived in Australia.

      From this perspective the excellent infant mortality figure of under 5 per 1000 births seems somewhat beside the point.

      Posted by rexie on 04/20 at 10:34 AM • #


    1. 91,000 is a lot.  Here in the land of the free, we have over a million annually.  Since Roe v. Wade, the figure that is banded about is 40 million abortions.  About three in every ten pregnacies end in abortion.  Now, there are big problems because older people are becoming an increasingly higher percentage of the population as a whole.  And, surprise – there aren’t enough young people entering the workforce to make expensive social programs, such as social security and medicare, sustainable at present levels.  Is there a connection?  Certainly not in the liberal press.  When will people realize that cutting a fetus off the wall of of a uterus cuts society’s throat at the same time?

      Posted by Ioxymoron on 04/20 at 10:41 AM • #


    1. While I support the existence of abortion, I dislike it’s use. I can understand the use in those who are too young or too poor to raise children properly, when it simply impacts on your European holiday, well, you should have been more careful shouldn’t you, now have the kid and raise it properly.

      Posted by Aging Gamer on 04/20 at 11:10 AM • #


    1. You can add “health risk to the mother and/or going to be born dead anyway” as well.

      Posted by Aging Gamer on 04/20 at 11:12 AM • #


    1. About three in every ten pregnacies end in abortion.

      Hmmm, that seems a bit much; they may be using a very loose definition of ‘abortion’.

      My understanding is that somewhere between 25 and 30% of all pregnancies miscarry, which some folks like to label as “spontaneous abortion” just to make us more comfortable with the term i suppose; to have another 30% be aborted seems a bit too high a number.

      Posted by Mr. Bingley on 04/20 at 03:55 PM • #


    1. whoops, i stand corrected:

      The number of pregnancies in the United States in 1999 dropped 7 percent from the peak in 1990.  There were 6.28 million U.S. pregnancies in 1999 compared with 6.78 million in 1990.  The 1999 total pregnancy count includes about 3.96 million live births, 1.31 million induced abortions, and 1 million fetal losses (miscarriages and stillbirths).

      20% abortions
      16% miscarriages

      That’s shocking.

      Posted by Mr. Bingley on 04/20 at 04:00 PM • #


    1. It would be useful to know how much the two were really connected. If abortion was really the cause of falling birth rates, than abortion rates would have to be increasing, and we don’t really know that. It seems nobody has properly collected the data until now.

      Posted by zscore on 04/20 at 05:02 PM • #


    1. Interesting numbers but by far the biggest % effect on average fertility is the non-pregnancies caused by contraception. For every 0,1,2 birth mother nowadays, the biological potential is something like 8-12 births? Now thats what i call a % drop.

      If we assume that (OECD) women have generally the number of children they desire (economics not withstanding), then for all we know the abortions and miscarriages are “failed attempts” on the way to this desired number.

      From this, is it likely that abortions and miscarriages (awful as they both are for all involved) will have much overall effect on average fertility?

      Much more likely that the “desired number” of children is dropping overall.

      Posted by kiwi_chch on 04/20 at 05:24 PM • #


    1. I’d agree that most women don’t want 8 or 10 children. 2 or 3 is the ideal number among most women of my acquaintance.  It would be difficult to house and educate more than that number, according to modern standards of living, unless the parents were wealthy. There’s another factor as well: custodial responsibilities have increased since my parents raised me. We can’t allow children to wander unsupervised to the same extent that they used to. My cop friend told me that in our town, if you leave a child under twelve alone during the day, you are opening yourself up to charges of neglect. Such is our paranoid society.

      (Note: this is NJ Sue logging in as Mr. Bingley, as I can’t remember my login.)

      Posted by Mr. Bingley on 04/20 at 05:52 PM • #


    1. 91,000 you say! I’d like to see the evidence because I was of the understanding that the actual numbers aren’t collated in all (any?) states.

      Posted by cal on 04/20 at 05:54 PM • #


    1. #8 …forcing women to risk their lives to have children they don’t want…
      From my observation of women, they seem to want more kids with the same sort of innate irrationality that makes men want more women!
      We have to accept that the urges towards reproduction are pretty strong on both sides, and the controls required to thwart that can get pretty messy.
      The churches which advocate abstinence and/or fidelity to avoid AIDS, and the same to avoid unwanted and out-of-wedlock pregnancies, are on the right track.
      What are the odds that if you are wearing a condom, you are doing something you shouldn’t?
      (Stand by for libertarian screams)

      Posted by blogstrop on 04/20 at 06:40 PM • #


    1. I’m guessing the SMH dont consider aborted foetuses to be be babies.

      Posted by Deo Vindice on 04/20 at 07:51 PM • #


    1. I can understand the use in those who are too young or too poor to raise children properly

      Hmmm…killing somebody because you’re too young (but not young enough to abstain from having a root) or poor…interesting…

      There a tens of thousands of Australian couples who would love to adopt but are unable to because of a lack of children being given up for adoption.

      Posted by murph on 04/20 at 10:48 PM • #


    1. That’s something, what are orphanage stats here in Australia?

      Even then, do we really want the genetic material of people stuipd enough to get pregnant at 16?

      Yes that sounds awful but modern culture has all but removed natural selection, for instance I should have never made it out of childhood.

      Posted by Aging Gamer on 04/21 at 01:22 AM • #


    1. Even then, do we really want the genetic material of people stuipd enough to get pregnant at 16?

      Scary.  There have been alot of people born out of wedlock to young mothers who are perfectly normal members of society.  Sure, it’s not the ideal situation but that does not excuse terminating a life.

      Posted by murph on 04/21 at 02:01 AM • #


    1. Even then, do we really want the genetic material of people stuipd enough to get pregnant at 16?

      Congratulations! You’ve just retrospectively killed off Henry VII of England, winner of the War of the Roses, founder of the Tudor dynasty, and grandfather of Elizabeth I.

      Henry’s mother was 14 at his birth.

      Posted by Quentin George on 04/21 at 05:34 AM • #


    1. So the endless misuse of the “War of the Roses” cliche would have never existed?

      I win again!

      (yes I am completely mad)

      Posted by Aging Gamer on 04/21 at 08:03 AM • #


    1. Seriously though, I never said it was an excuse or that it should be compulsary, only that it’s understandable. I expect most sane people to ignore any comment I make on genetics anyway, I’m not deluded.

      And what lunatic married a 14 year old then got her pregnant?

      Posted by Aging Gamer on 04/21 at 08:52 AM • #


    1. abortion’s not pleasant but neither are the effects of a bottle of gin or two glugged down in a hot bath or the semi-skilled manipulation of a badly sterilised curette or some home-made instrument.  suspect most of you guys (& i bet you are mostly guys) weren’t around pre-menhennit ruling – if you had been you’d know that women in trouble will seek out backyard abortions if terminations are made illegal

      Posted by KK on 04/21 at 10:28 AM • #


    1. And what lunatic married a 14 year old then got her pregnant?

      Edmund Tudor.

      By the way, not only was Henry’s mother fourteen, his father Edmund died shortly after conception.

      Posted by Quentin George on 04/21 at 04:39 PM • #


    1. Oh, and they were married when she was twelve and he was twenty-five.

      Posted by Quentin George on 04/21 at 04:40 PM • #


    1. Imagine the headlines if the road toll was 91,000.

      Posted by aurora on 04/22 at 06:08 AM • #


  1. Imagine the headlines if 91,000 women died from septic coathangers. Ah, the good old days, eh? If you want to know why marriage and birth rates are in decline, you might want to ask these guys. After all, it’s not their own money that’s paying for the consequences, is it? It’s extra business for them dealing with the consequences of producing children who are hated and unwanted by their parents.

    Posted by Jim Geones on 04/22 at 10:31 PM • #