(Photo: REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)
A controversial gay activist, author, and social commentator has recently stated that he believes the abortion procedure should be a "mandatory" practice to enforce "population control."
Dan Savage, founder of the anti-bullying "It Gets Better" project, stated this on Monday while part of a panel of social commentators of varying ideological persuasions.
The panel was asked what "dangerous idea" they believed would improve the world if implemented globally, to which Savage responded with mandatory abortion.
"Population control. There's too many goddamn people on the planet. And I don't know if that's a – you know, I'm pro-choice. I believe that women should have the right to control their bodies," said Savage.
"Sometimes in my darker moments I am anti-choice. I think abortion should be mandatory for about 30 years. That's a dangerous idea. She wanted a dangerous idea. So throw a chair at me."
Savage's remarks were part of an event held at the Sidney Opera House Concert Hall on Monday titled the "Festival of Dangerous Ideas."
Overseen by the program Q&A, the televised event featured questions usually of a hot-button contemporary nature directed at a panel of pundits.
In addition to Savage, other panelists for the event included Peter Hitchens, a devout Christian British journalist and author related to the late atheist personality Christopher Hitchens; Germaine Greer, a 1960s feminist activist pioneer from Australia; and Hanna Rosin, writer and senior editor of The Atlantic.
Filmed before a live audience, the verbal debate between the guests was occasionally intense. At one point, Savage denounced Hitchens for "pathologising other people's choices."
"You sit there saying that other people being free to live their lives by their own light in some way oppresses you, when it oppresses you in no way whatsoever. You are free not to get gay married. You are free not to use drugs," said Savage.
"People are freer now, happier now. It's a less intolerant world than it used to be because people like me are now empowered to look at people like you and say you are full of s---."
Hitchens responded that while well-off people like himself can escape the risks of various choices, many cannot and suffer harm as a result.
"I can personally escape many of the consequences of this but most people can't. They can't afford to and leave aside some of the things you've mentioned but a society in which the use of illegal drugs is widespread and unrestrained is one in which everybody is affected by the consequences, whatever they themselves do," said Hitchens.
"The fact is if a society permits – if a society permits things to happen which damage the lives of many people, who, as I've said earlier as a result of the selfish unwillingness of those who do those things to recognize that they have consequences, it affects everybody."
When asked what he felt was the most "dangerous idea," Hitchens replied that it "remains the belief that Jesus Christ was the son of God and rose from the dead and that is the most dangerous idea you will ever encounter."
"I'd have to agree with that," responded Savage.