Britology Watch: Deconstructing \’British Values\’

24 October 2007

We wouldn’t need immigration if we banned abortion


Now there’s a statement to get up the hackles of the PC crew! In a single assertion, managing to challenge and spuriously link two cherished dogmas of the liberal: that immigration is good for Britain and should be encouraged; and that abortion is a human right that should remain enshrined in law.

But it was intriguing that on two consecutive days this week, some striking demographic statistics were released. Yesterday, came the Office of National Statistics (ONS) forecasts about UK population growth to 2031, which, among other things, predicted that there would be 4.4 million more people living here by 2016. This was made up of a natural increase of 2.3 million (i.e. the difference between the number of births and deaths) and 2.1 million from net inward migration (the difference between the number of persons immigrating and emigrating).

Then today, as the 40th anniversary of the bill that legalised abortion approached, it was reported that the number of abortions in the UK currently stands at around 200,000 per year. Well, the maths are quite easy: if all those unborn children were allowed to go to term, then there’d be an additional natural increase in the population that would be almost as big as that from net inward migration. Consequently, you could argue that there would no longer be any ‘need’ for immigration: the population could naturally grow to the same extent as it is expected to do with the high level of forecast immigration, which the government claims is necessary to support Britain’s economic growth.

Of course, it’s not quite as simple as that. For a start, around 0.8 million of the total of 2.3 million extra inhabitants resulting from natural population growth are expected to in fact be the children of immigrants. So if you added the remaining 1.5 million to the 1.8 million unborn babies that could be saved from abortions over the nine years to 2016, you’d have an increase of a ‘mere’ 3.3 million UK inhabitants! Probably enough, though, wouldn’t you think? But there wouldn’t be enough new people of working age, which is the government’s main argument in favour of immigration. So maybe we would still have to accept a limited amount of immigration (er, shall we say up to a million over nine years?). Then, through a combination of immigration and bringing into work the great unwashed mass of the unemployed (for instance, by actually training them to do the skilled work that is required and by paying them decent wages to do the unpleasant, menial jobs that are necessary – thereby showing that we value such work), maybe we could just about muddle through, if that’s not too English a phrase.

But, of course, I’m being hypothetical and polemical: there’s no way that abortion will be abolished in the foreseeable future. So it looks like we’ll just have to accept the immigration, then! The point I’m making is that the real rate of natural regeneration is much higher than people generally realise; it’s only the existence of such a large number of abortions that artificially keeps it down. If these lost lives came to be seen as a ‘natural resource’ that the country actually needed for its future economic growth and prosperity, then much of the government’s case in favour of mass immigration would disintegrate. And moreover, these 1.8 million lives that would otherwise be culled through abortion would all be ‘British’, or most of them anyway. Instead, the government seems to prefer the idea of giving immigrants and their children the chance of a prosperous life in Britain that the abortion law denies to so many Britons. It seems that the government’s dereliction of its duties to serve the needs of the British population first and foremost extends to the unborn as well as those fortunate enough to have been born.

Looking at this from the immigration-friendly perspective of the government, there is what could be called a demographic imperative to keep the present abortion laws in place. Given that the government wants to encourage high levels of immigration for a combination of ideological and economic reasons (which are disputable – see my previous post on this subject), then it would simply be unworkable to allow an extra 200,000 British babies per year to escape the axe of abortion. That would mean the official (as opposed to the even higher unofficial) population of the UK would grow by 6.2 million by 2016. Nobody wants that much population growth. They might be prepared to buy 4.4 million, on the basis that the net contribution of immigration to that total was ‘merely’ around 2.9 million, which could then be sold to the public as having been necessary to fuel the country’s economic growth. So if population growth is going to be kept down to such ‘acceptable’, ‘manageable’ levels, we’ll just have to keep the abortion laws in place, won’t we? And let’s just forget that, in the absence of abortion, natural regeneration of the population could actually be sufficient to meet our long-term needs, so that people can be persuaded that a high level of immigration is necessary.

In short, whereas at an individual level, abortion is often (but by no means always) misused as a form of after-the-event birth control for the personal convenience of the parents concerned, at a collective level, abortion is misused by the government as a convenient form of population control: offsetting the population rise through immigration which its own policies promote.



  1. Though controversial, there is research to suggest that criminalising abortion would have a significant, negative impact upon society.

    The research is done by the economist Steven Levitt (author of Freakonomics) and specifically researches the New York crime wave of the 1980s and 1990s. Levitt’s research highlights the foreseeable conclusion that children resulting from the criminalising of abortion would very likely be born into unstable households, or to unwilling mothers. As a result they are much more likely to be put up for adoption, put into care or put into an orphanage than those who are born into families, or to mothers who have decided not to abort their child in an environment where the option was made available. Because of the poor start these unwanted children would be afforded, they are much more likely to be young offenders and fall into a pattern of reoffending throughout their lives.

    In light of this evidence alone, your proposal to create an ‘all British’ workforce and exclude immigrant labour would seem an unlikely and harmful course of action.

    Comment by Josh Robson — 2 November 2007 @ 3.26 pm | Reply

  2. Thanks for your comment, Josh, which suggests an angle I hadn’t thought of. First of all, I would like to distance myself from your interpretation that I’m advocating creating an ‘all British’ workforce. I don’t think that’s practical or desirable, as you’d probably gather if you read my other post on immigration: Immigration As Onshoring.

    Secondly, while not wanting to depreciate the truth of what you say – that many ‘unwanted’ babies will turn into unwanted children and will therefore be driven into a life of delinquency and crime – I’m also wary of such sociological approaches if they tend towards the implication that abortion is socially useful in reducing potentially undesirable, lower-class elements in society: ‘problem’ children born of single parents and into the underclass, and therefore likely to be more of a burden on society than a blessing. During the abortion debate last week, some consultant gynaecologist (I forget his name) popped up to suggest that 200,000 abortions per year in the UK weren’t enough; and his reasoning appeared to be indeed along the lines that children were being born to unsuitable parents and into undesirable strata of society.

    I think this is an unduly defeatist and, indeed, elitist view. Children, whether planned or not, demand our love and sacrifices; and usually repay them a thousandfold – though not without heartache. The supply of would-be adopters far outnumbers that of children available for adoption; hence, even adoption has to be ‘outsourced’ to places like China and Africa. Isn’t it time to see our millions of unborn children who never make it as a precious human resource rather than an unwanted surplus to be discarded so indifferently?

    Comment by David — 2 November 2007 @ 4.26 pm | Reply

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