Regarding Robert Austenfeld’s letter in the July 7 edition, “Abortion’s role in depopulation,” I think he has overstated the proportional effect of abortion on the falling birthrate. Every abortion does not necessarily affect the fertility rate, but you would not have thought that after reading his sermon-like letter.

If a teenager chose to terminate a pregnancy, they may well go on to get married and have two or three kids, thus bolstering the fertility rate. On the other hand, a single teenage mother raising a child would not put you in good stead to have a few more kids. I think Austenfeld is missing the main cause of the falling birthrate — abstinence.

The fall in real wages, poor child care services, expensive education, the casualization of the workforce, few opportunities for women have caused Japanese to abstain from procreating, because they just can’t afford it. This economic birth control is the elephant in the room, and this is what affects the fertility rate, and abortion rate for that matter.


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