Families should be limited to two children and more babies aborted in order to protect the planet, a leading Government adviser has suggested.
Having any more than two children is “irresponsible” towards the environment, said Jonathon Porritt, chair of the Government’s Sustainable Development Commission.
Mr Porritt added: “We still have one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancies in Europe and we still have relatively high levels of pregnancies going to birth, often among women who are not convinced they want to become mothers.”
Mr Porritt’s Commission will publish a report next month. There are fears it will recommend more funding for ‘family planning’ services including abortion to help preserve the environment.
Mr Porritt has argued before that in order to help reduce the burden of population growth women in the world’s poorest countries should be given easier access to abortion.
In his recent remarks he said: “I am unapologetic about asking people to connect up their own responsibility for their total environmental footprint and how they decide to procreate and how many children they think are appropriate.
“I think we will work our way towards a position that says having more than two children is irresponsible.”
Mr Porritt’s remarks have been widely criticised, with commentators and family campaigners drawing comparisons with population control programmes in other countries.
China’s one-child policy – adopted because of fears the country would be unable to cope with its growing population – is blamed for horrific cases of infanticide as unwanted babies were abandoned by parents and died of neglect in orphanages.
A spokesman for the Pro-Life Alliance said: “The unpleasant aspect of this is the idea that how many children you have should be down to the state.
“Wherever we have seen such policies being imposed, such as in China, we have seen a preference for male children and a rise in infanticide.”
Politician Ann Widdecombe said: “At a time when we have all the worries of too elderly a population, depending on fewer and fewer people of working age, it seems an absolutely ludicrous proposition.”
Commentator Melanie Phillips wrote: “The blessings of a large family and the contribution this makes to prosperity and progress don’t figure at all.
“Instead, children are to be measured solely by their burdensome impact on the planet. What kind of sinister and dehumanised mindset is this?”
She added: “The roots of this thinking go back to the 18th century, when it was first thought that population growth would outstrip the earth’s resources and would lead to famine, starvation and death.
“Despite the fact that the world’s population massively increased and resources expanded to sustain it, the belief persisted in progressive circles and led to eugenics and thence to facism.”