Welcoming the 6 Billionth Baby

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, Oct. 12—In response to the loud lamentations greeting the birth of the 6 billionth human, estimated to have fallen on Oct. 12, the editorial staff at The Wall Street Journal called the event an occasion to celebrate. It also ran an article by Nicholas Eberstadt called, “Six Billion Reasons to Cheer,” from which the following is taken.

“The United Nations has officially designated today the ‘Day of Six Billion,’ marking the expected arrival of the earth's six billionth human inhabitant. To judge by the U.N.'s own pronouncements, this commemoration is meant to be not a celebration but a day of mourning and atonement.

“High authorities at the U.N. today apparently fix their hopes for the plan-et's future on setting the Third World awash with modern contraceptives. Alas, their prescription is as flawed as their diagnosis. Peacetime fertility levels in Western Europe first dropped below the replacement level in the 1930's — long before the advent of the pill or the IUD. European parents back then knew where babies came from — and so do prospective parents in Asia, Africa and Latin America today. The single best predictor of society's fertility level is the desired family size for women of childbearing age — and population planners have yet to invent a pill that can alter those preferences.

“The globe's six billionth member will enter a highly imperfect world. Terrifying material want still afflicts a fraction of mankind; for hundreds of millions of people in the sub-Sahara and the former Soviet Union, moreover, health conditions have worsened palpably over the past decade. Fortunately, those grim facts are exceptions to the overall sweep of 20th-century development. The great changes that have made it possible for the world to register its sixth billionth inhabitant are a triumph, not a tragedy. It would have been nice if the U.N.'s humanitarians could have peered beyond the glass of their limousine windows to see just that much.”

Florida Judge Rules Against Parental Notification

PRO-LIFE INFONET, Oct. 14—Parents in Florida don't have to know if their daughter is seeking an abortion, Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis ruled, upholding a decade-old statement by Florida's courts that legislative attempts to limit abortion are unconstitutional, the Infonet reported.

“The state will appeal the ruling, but as in rulings before it, Lewis's six-page order temporarily barring the state from enforcing the law cites a unique privacy amendment to Florida's Constitution. Florida's Supreme Court has relied on that amendment — granting every person ‘the right to be let alone and free from government intrusion into his private life’— to overturn limits on abortion,” added the Infonet's Steve Ertelt.

In 1989, the Florida Supreme Court struck down a law requiring parental consent before a minor's abortion. The newest law, requiring only parental notice, was to take effect on Oct. 11. It will not be enforced while appeals continue.

Florida Right to Life, calling parental notification a law that “will help restore sanity back in the family,” called it “bizarre” that a child cannot get her ears pierced without permission but can have an abortion without her parents' knowledge, Ertelt reported.