How Politically Problematic are Liberal Abortion Policies for Countries With Pronatalist Fertility Policies?

Dennis Hodgson, Fairfield University

According to the United Nations' database, World Population Policies 2007 (United Nations, 2008), 37 countries have a policy to raise their current fertility level and 30 of them grant women an uncomplicated access to legal abortion by permitting abortion on request or for economic or social reasons. The population of these pronatalist countries with liberal abortion policies has a negative annual growth rate (-0.09%) and a below replacement level total fertility rate (1.42). Religious opponents of induced abortion and nationalists worried about the debilitating effects of population decline are contending that if the problematic effects of below replacement fertility on age structure, social security costs, health care costs, and labor force needs are to be reversed then access to abortion has to be restricted. This paper examines the political problems, both current and future, that these pronatalist countries with liberal abortion policies are likely to face.

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Presented in Poster Session 2