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Tags: france | demographic suicide | macron

Macron Failing as France Nears Demographic Suicide

President Emmanuel Macron looks on
French President Emmanuel Macron (Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 13 May 2024 03:53 PM EDT

French President Emmanuel Macron wants to fix the nation's demographic problem as the birthrate collapses, but his remedy is worse than the disease.

Macron last week chose women's magazine Elle to outline his plan for "demographic rearmament," a program he announced in January as the public saw the latest data showing the deaths of French citizens drawing dangerously close to the number of births.

In Elle, the president stuck to his bellicose expressions of concern despite wide criticism on the part of liberals and feminists.

Some believe Macron sees the issue as way to appeal to more conservative sections of the French electorate at a time when support for his "Renaissance" party has dwindled to less than half of that for Jordan Bardella's National Rally, the party long associated with the LePen family.

But conservatives have found little to like in Macron's proposals.

One of his main suggestions involves drastically reducing paid parental leave of up to three years after the birth of a child, of which 14% of young mothers and 0.8% of young fathers currently take advantage.

He aims to replace it by a better paid leave of up to six months of leave during the child's first year of life, with no more than three months for the mother and the father, respectively.

Macron also wants to get more women "back into the workforce" even though French women are often happy to have more time at home with their kids, and men are overwhelmingly reluctant to risk creating a gap in their careers.

This is applied gender ideology: pressuring society into seeing fathers and mothers as interchangeable.

As France's infertility rates continue to rise — one couple out of four does not conceive naturally after 12 months of "unprotected sex" — Macron wants to implement comprehensive medical screening at about age 20.

This screening would be a complete assessment that will include a spermogram for men and evaluating the "ovarian reserve" for women.

Setting aside the graphic details involving sperm retrieval, such a state-run, medicalized surveillance of reproductive capacity smacks of Aldous Huxley's Brave New World.

Even more disturbing is Macron's suggestion that the screening process should include an offer for all women to freeze their eggs in case they should wish "to have children later," after having completed their education and set up a career.

Such an approach has more than one drawback. The sheer misery of egg-harvesting is the first.

Women are much more fertile in their 20s than in their 30s, and one of the reasons that so many couples are finding it difficult to start a family is the rising age at which women are having their first baby.

Latest days shows it is now beyond age 30, while it was 24 in 1974.

Lastly, in vitro fertilization not only offers a poor success rate, it dehumanizes the process of procreation.

The artificial procreation industry, in fact, has every reason to rub its hands at Macron's promises: he has committed to reduce waiting times for "medically assisted reproduction" – currently from 16 to 24 months. (The wait line for such medical assistance grew after Macron made it accessible to single women and lesbian couples in 2021.)

France has traditionally had higher birth rates than other developed countries, partly due to its historically generous fiscal and social policies.

Government programs include extended coverage of medical costs related to pregnancy and childbirth (abortion is 100% state-funded), paid maternity leave of 16 to 26 weeks, child benefits that were first set up by groups of Catholic entrepreneurs in the early 20th century and then progressively nationalized, as well as tax relief based on the size of family units.

However, the relative value of child benefits has decreased over the past 60 years. Tax breaks have been capped repeatedly, with married couples being hit harder than single-parent families.

Other contributing factors have been COVID-19 restrictions, the specter of war, climate change, anti-population propaganda, severe inflation, and a crippling housing crisis due to climate regulations.

French births have plummeted to record lows since 1945 with just 678,000 babies born in 2023, some 7% less than the year before. And the trend shows no sign the problem is abating.

France's mainland fertility rate has dropped to 1.64 child per woman of child-bearing age, well below the required generation replacement rate of 2.1.

Clearly, France is edging toward demographic suicide.

It is a well-known fact that for a nation to have more children, it needs stable, married couples that start their families before fertility declines. In present-day France, however, over 65% of children are born out of wedlock and 45% of marriages end in divorce. Also, one one pregnancy in four is aborted.

After the U.S. Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade last year, Macron urged the French parliament to guarantee abortion in the country's constitution. In March, the parliament agreed and amended the constitution.

If Macron and France really want more children, a return to traditional values and approaches are mandatory.

But Macron, having chosen an opposite path and having his own childless marriage, may be the last person to embrace such values.

Nevertheless, natural law is a better approach than another government program.

Jeanne Smits is the editor in chief of the French independent news site and has worked as a journalist for Catholic media in Europe since 1987.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

French President Emmanuel Macron wants to fix the nation's demographic problem as the birthrate collapses, but his remedy is worse than the disease.
france, demographic suicide, macron
Monday, 13 May 2024 03:53 PM
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