The Birth Control Solution


By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF

What if there were a solution to many of the global problems that confront us, from climate change to poverty to civil wars? There is, but it is starved of resources. It’s called family planning, and it has been a victim of America’s religious wars.

Partly for that reason, the world’s population just raced past the seven billion mark this week, at least according to the fuzzy calculations of United Nations demographers. It took humans hundreds of thousands of years, until the year 1804, to reach the first billion. It took another 123 years to reach two billion, in 1927. Since then, we’ve been passing these milestones like billboards along a highway. The latest billion took just a dozen years.

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3 Comments
  1. Personally ,i would like to see just enough people to maintain a viable culture. unfortunately here in the philippines we are stuck with the stupid and ignorant view of the catholic church.

  2. Nicholas Kristoff is a great writer — but her is whatI’m writing to him by snail mail.

    For something like 40 or 50 years we’ve been told that the widespread availability of artificial birth control would be the utopian solution to our personal and universal problems. And now the culture that brings us “Sex and the City” and “Two and a half Men,” with all its attendant moral problems, believes that we should continue to export this philosophy to the developibng world? Is true family planning really the victim of “America’s religious wars?” Or, is the natural tension that results a sign of the healthy debate a democracy should have? Like if my consceince tells me that something is NOT wrong, then does it follow that institutions with a different conscience should just have their conscience clauses suspended? Or that individuals with a conscience should just be told to find another profession? Since when do politics and religion have to be completely divorced? Freedom from the establishment of any one religion, yes. But not to forbid bringing our values to the banquet of ideas.

    Are we forgetting that war, poverty, injustice, famine, has happened when the world population was only 100,000, or 100 million, or 1 billion? Now I’m not one of those people who thinks we could all crowd ourselves in to the state of Texas and still have plenty of land left over. But it seems to me that only two resources in this world really count: Human resources and natural resources.The first must take precedence. Do we really develop our economies with the idea of family life as a priority? How much of our foreign aid is really used for education and the proper use of natural resources for basic needs development?

    How we look at govt bodies making policies about family planning depends upon our world view. How do we define what it means to be human? What is the definition of marriage? What role does human sexuality play in the life of a society, the family, the individual? Do we know the difference between true contraceptives and abortifacients? I know the views of the Catholic Church scare a lot of people who probably don’t understand about their own dignity. But any way we can get the truth out there, that body and soul go together, and not to be compartmentalized, will improve the quality of family life.But that point of view takes time and the patience of Job.

    End Pt 1 to be con’t.

    Jeanette

  3. About Kristoff’s column con’t–

    Ever notice how it is nearly always women’s bodies that are experimented on with birth control drugs and devices? So some will give the Hail Mary Pass to a new vaginal ring that releases HORMONES! Gee, I thought a woman’s natural cycle already released hormones. Maybe we should pay more attention to that (some already do) instead of putting healthy women on steroids. Or what the World Health Organization calls a first class carcinogen. Is it any wonder that women’s cancers have increased 300% since the late 1960s? Well, it’s the best kept secret on the artificial contraception market since the doctors in the know have just decided to keep quiet and simply find new ways to treat the disease that will inevitably follow. Race for the Cure, or just run away from the truth?

    Some oral contraceptives have a high failure rate because the hormonal formulas are designed to allow for that. The contraception mentality creates the idea that some lives are “unwanted.” The abortion mentality inevitably follows. You mentioned the tragedies in China and India with coercion. In our own society the partners of women and their families frequently apply pressure. There’s no such thing as safe, legal and rare. Safe -for whom? Never the unborn child, not always the mother. Legal – and sometimes compulsory. Rare-How can it be when it’s always part of the backup plan?

    Womankind and mankind should be given choices that increase their dignity. Marriage is a spiritual covenant, not just a socio-economic contract. Women do not have to be ready for sex all day all the time. A husband should learn about his wife’s body and control his drive out of love for her. Not everyone is suited for marriage. So sex should not be served up as some form of banal entertainment. It’s SERIOUS. It has gthe power to bring new life into the world. The celibate lifestyle (religious or lay) is a lifestyle of giving that will help keep the population down in until societies are more conducive to family life. Some societies actually need more children due to the growing aging population.

    end

    JB

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