Population Control- The Ins and Outs

by Kathleen Sheedy on February 20, 2014


My name is Kathleen Sheedy. Out of all the topics discussed so far in class, population growth and control has been the most interesting to me. I wanted to write about it so others know more about it.

The more people we have in the world, the fewer amounts of resources will be readily available. “Human population control is the practice of artificially altering the rate of growth of a human population” (Population Control, np.). While population growth was once ideal and encouraged, it can now be harmful to our environment and living situations. So the question is, how can this be stopped? The answer- population control. Population control is “the use of government power to encourage, or compel, restrictions on the growth, or on the numbers, of people in existence” (Rothbard, np). Although population control is the answer, I do not fully support it due to the freedom and right it takes away from people, which I will explain in the next section. But for now let’s look at the multiple ways to stop population growth; here are a few:

1. Contraception- This is a form of birth control to prevent pregnancies while sexually active. Contraception includes birth control pills, condoms, sterilization, and IUD’s.

Birth Control Pills- must be taken once a day

Birth Control Pills- must be taken once a day

2. Abstinence- If a person is not engaging in sex, there is no risk of becoming pregnant, therefor increasing the world’s population.

No sex= no babies

No sex= no babies

3. Abortion- Abortion terminates the pregnancy before the fetus is able to survive on its own.

A pill is one way abortion can be accomplished

A pill is one way abortion can be accomplished


If population control is as easy as one of these methods listed above, why isn’t it being enforced more? Unfortunately these methods, and in more general terms, population control, cause many problems and conflicts, especially for women and religions. Some people in the United States see population control as restricting individual freedoms; they have a right to have as big of a family as they want and shouldn’t be told otherwise. Women’s health activists were in conflict with population control advocates, specifically in the 1980s, over the activists’ advancements in women’s reproductive rights and believing that this was a human-rights issue (Rothbard, np). Many religions opposed abortion as a form of population control because to them, a person is living as soon as it is conceived and it is morally wrong to kill a person.


I do not believe a government can force a woman to take certain medications or follow certain practices. Women, and all people, have the right to make their own decisions. Whether a woman wants one child, or seven, or wants to have an abortion instead of having the child, that is up to them, and nobody else should have a say in it. However, I don’t disagree if a country wants to provide contraception services or offer incentives for having a limited number of children. This way, no one is being forced to do something they don’t want, but the issue of population growth is still being tackled.


The divide between whether population control is right or wrong will always remain. Some countries ignore the opinions of their people, and the government enforces population control policies. Here are a few countries and the methods they use:

1. China- They have a one-child policy. This is exactly what it sounds to be. Having more than one child is discouraged, and there have been reports of forced abortions for those who are pregnant with their second child. While this may seem harsh, China has prevented over 400 million births with this policy (Navarro, np.).

2. India- Only those with two children or less are allowed to run for local government and have access to facilities offered by the government. India’s government is also offering benefits and motivation for families who chose to use sterilization as a method of population control (Population Control, np.).

3. United States- In 1970, Title X began which provided contraception services and information, especially to those with low income. This government-run program also offers family planning services and sets aside money for reproductive health care. The goal of the program is to help people decide if the time is appropriate to have children, and if it isn’t, when that time may be. Title X has prevented many abortions and unplanned pregnancies (Population Control, np.).


Each country has a different method to contain population growth, but they all agree that this growth is an issue for the worse, and some type of population control needs to be done.  I do not agree with China’s methods, but as I stated earlier, I think India and the United States’ methods are acceptable.









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