By Their Fruits reveals the abortion campaign's true origins and motives, beginning with Thomas Malthus' 18th-century warnings that population growth would outstrip increases in food supply. Malthus has of course been proven wrong: as a 2001 report by the United Nations Population Division put it,
"Even though population increased more rapidly during the twentieth century than ever before, economic output grew even faster, owing to the accelerating tempo of technological progress…while world population increased close to 4 times, world real gross domestic product increased 20 to 40 times, allowing the world to not only sustain a four-fold population increase, but also to do so at vastly higher standards of living."
Mrs Farmer tells of a plot by a nucleus of politicians and other influential people. The plan is to manage national and global economies by controlling the breeding habits of the poor and non-white, and eradicating the disabled.
She describes the Eugenics Society's Machiavellian activities and includes references to previously unpublished personal files of more than 40 of its members. The eugenicists saw the poor, infirm and non-white as a national burden. They feared such people's breeding habits would alter society so that the elite would be over-run by a sub-class. The lower orders were therefore best limited in number or eradicated.
The eugenicists portrayed a bleak view to legislators of 19th and early 20th-century family life among the poor. Women were described as being oppressed in the home, virtual sex slaves. Mrs Farmer, a member of the Labour Life Group, traces her own working-class family's history to Victorian times. She finds that wives and mothers were actually stabilising forces in families, with a strong moral sense and pride in their offspring. There were also economic advantages to having large families.
Suffragettes and early feminists campaigned for poor mothers' welfare and condemned demands for legalised abortion. By contrast, proponents of the 1967 Abortion Act, including feminists, exaggerated the number of back-street abortions, manipulating statistics on natural miscarriages. The pro-abortion movement constantly refuels this myth.
The eugenicists' birth control policies have actually led to promiscuity and more abortions. Reductions in the size of poorer families have led to an ageing population and a shrinking workforce, which strains the retirement pension system.
The book also describes current proposed changes to British embryology law. It warns of a future with continuing negative attitudes to the poor and disabled. Medical science could become more concerned with the eradication of defective genes than with the search for cures or alleviating pain.
* Catholic University of America Press, ISBN 978-0-8132-1530-3