A motion put forward at the Irish Medical Organisation AGM in Killarney which called for Irish Aid to address population growth through "family planning education" for women in the countries it supports, was rejected amid claims that it was "racist and arrogant".
This motion was proposed by the NCHD Committee chairman, Dr Mark Murphy, who called for Irish Aid to focus on "strategies to address this specific problem in the priority nations we directly fund," which he later explained would concentrate on "reducing birthrates through better education initiatives for women."
Dr Murphy claimed that with the world's population reaching 7 billion for the first time this year, and the UN expecting it to reach 9 billion in 25 years' time, there was nothing new in the problem. Dr Murphy said, "Thomas Malthus back in 1798 proposed this model of rising population and how it would fall in famines. But because of medical science and agricultural techniques, we have continued to rise in numbers, exponentially."
"From a health perspective, if we can't even provide a reasonable healthcare to the majority of the world's population at this point in time, what hope [have we] with another 2 billion citizens on this planet?" Dr Murphy proposed.
Opposing speakers were given the opportunity to present their views, and the running theme in their presentations was that this motion was "racist and arrogant".
Dr Maureen O'Carroll and ex-IMO President, Dr Martin Daly, described the motion as "very confused thinking". Dr Daly expressed the belief that Dr. Murphy was encouraging the imposition of " a form of social engineering". He added, "This motion was based on the false premise that there was a population explosion that would lead to food shortages in Africa when the population of the world reaches the expected 7 billion mark this year."
The Life Institute said, "Of course, the reality is that the world is experiencing a demographic winter, with the lowest ever reproductive rates throughout Europe and the United States".
They went on to say, "Trendy scares about overpopulation have been floated intermittently since the publication of the alarmist book, The Population Bomb, which predicted mass food shortages by the 21st century. This never came to pass, of course, in fact food yields continue to rise ".
"Instead what we should be alarmed about is the fact that Europe and the United states are ageing and shrinking, yet the abortion industry insists we need less people to save the planet. It's also objectionable that these agencies target poor and vulnerable people and try to deny them the right to have a family. IMO members are rightly concerned that medicine is being used in a coercive fashion. "
This motion proposed by Dr Murphy was met with much opposition and was rightfully rejected by the Irish Medical Organisation, whose members found it to be based on "very confused thinking" and a "false premise".
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