Wombfare: the weaponization of fertility

Book chapter

Toft, Monica Duffy (2021) Wombfare: the weaponization of fertility, in A Research Agenda for Political Demography. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing (101–114).

Publisher's webpage

Wombfare is the use of fertility as a political weapon to defeat rival ethnic and religious groups. The tactic is deployed by both religious and secular groups to support their long-term objectives of gaining political influence over competitors, and differential demographic growth rates can lead to state collapse and kinetic conflict. I outline a theory for how wombfare can cause civil war, and analyze four cases when religious and ethnic groups (which often overlap) used demographics to increase their political position in a society, including Christians and Muslims in Lebanon, Jews and Muslims in Israel and Palestine, fundamentalist Christians in the West, and Mormons in the United States. Fertility rates may affect future power balances and the risk of conflict.

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