We often hear these days about the spiralling decline in our province’s population. Newfoundland and Labrador is recording more deaths than births; projections show a possible decline of 40,000 people over the next two decades. It’s been called “a demographic freight train” by one broadcaster and an “unprecedented population challenge” by Newfoundland and Labrador’s minister of labour.
The causes of our population dilemma have been attributed primarily to aging, economic migration and a low birth rate. Suggestions to stop or even slow the population bleed range from expanded economic development to increased immigration targets. I have yet to hear a factual discussion on the birth rate, including the impact of abortion on our declining population. But perhaps it’s time to take a hard look at the figures.
Since 1970 to 2014, records show there have been nearly 30,000 abortions in Newfoundland and Labrador (and thousands more since these figures were recorded on multiple sites.) If you consider that, had they been born, some would now be parents with children (maybe even grandchildren) of their own, the numbers could reach 40,000 to 50,000 or more additional residents. Currently, live births in this province are just over 4,000 per annum and recorded abortions are over 1,000 per annum. That’s an incredible 4:1 ratio. To put it another way, for every four children born, one child’s life is ended prematurely.
I have yet to hear a factual discussion on the birth rate, including the impact of abortion on our declining population. But perhaps it’s time to take a hard look at the figures.
The consequences of a declining birth rate mean fewer people, a reduced labour force, lower tax base, less community service and a continued shift away from rural parts of the province. Thousands upon thousands of potential lives have been struck from our birth registers through abortion. Enrolment for 2017 in the province’s schools has declined 10 per cent from the 2005/2006 school year, reduced from 74,315 to 66,323 (a difference of approximately 8,000 school-aged children.) Abortions of children who would fall within the school age range from elementary to high school number about 10,000, which could mean a possible increase instead of decrease in the enrolment figures (possibly thousands more in university or in the labour force.)
We pride ourselves on above average per capita residents, past and present, who have excelled and do excel as professionals, artists, writers, musicians, entertainers, even Rhodes Scholars. They were/are children born to everyday, regular Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. Our uniqueness is part of who we are and what we value as distinct. How many have been lost to us in what is now a routine procedure to end unwanted pregnancies? How much of our culture, our social development and even our future prospects are lost to us forever?
While there is room in this province for immigrants, will they capture and continue the social distinctiveness of our centuries-old culture?
Consider the amount of taxes paid each year by the average resident: income tax, sales tax, goods and services tax, property tax, etc. Consider also the combined spending of residents through housing, food, gas, automobiles, clothing and so forth. Now imagine a hole in the population and the effect on the economy of thousands of missing residents. How does the province make up the lost revenue, how do businesses survive the declining consumer spending, how does industry operate with fewer workers entering the labour force? The minister of labour is on record as saying for every 100 coming into the workforce, 125 are coming out.
Moral and ethical arguments are reason enough for those of us who are obviously pro-life, but even for those who believe in abortion on demand, the actual consequences — socially, culturally, financially and even personally — are evident in the figures. As a distinct society, we are not exempt from consequences to our actions. To preserve our heritage, to maintain our uniqueness, to ensure our survival, we look to present and future generations.
For a blessing on this land we look to God: “I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life that both you and your descendants may live.”