By Hannah Hayes
The month of February was devoted to awareness of size and growth of the human population. Did you miss it? Creators of Global Population Speak Out (gpso.wordpress.com) wanted you to catch some of the qualified scientists that spoke publicly on reducing the 218,000-person net gain the planet experiences each day. Bringing new voices into the discussion of population issues is hoped to break down the taboo that exists on this topic.
Opposition to birth control particularly by religious groups is at odds with ecological collapse and the dire burdens being placed on natural resources. Those with dubious political motives are using distortion and denial to mislead. Family planning and contraception are essential tools in slowing the extinction rate. Too many people cause more and more land to be put into agricultural use severely taxing air and water.
Education is key. It has been found that as women become empowered they have fewer children. Continued hostility toward discussing overpopulation suppresses women’s rights.
Perhaps you were distracted by one woman’s crusade to promote population growth by exercising her right to have 14 children? Does Nadya Suleman see overpopulation as a way to make sure her descendants will be around 1,300 years from now when all species are predicted to be extinct. Maybe she forgot her thinking cap?
Fertility doctors have historically left family planning decisions up to prospective parents. Now the role of Suleman’s fertility doctor, Michael Kamrava, should be called into question. He is also “expecting” a set of quadruplets in the next couple of months.
The fertility industry has stepped way beyond the natural process into scientifically enhanced procreation. When multiple embryos are produced most doctors advise reducing the number of fetuses to make room in the womb and give the survivors a better chance at a normal gestation with fewer health challenges as these children grow.
There are some strange economics at work when a mother who already relies on public assistance is receiving fertility treatments. Those costs are but a small fraction of the total cost of raising a child, currently estimated at around $200,000, not including college, times 8, let’s see, that’s $1,600,000. Easy money these days.
An early change made by President Obama was repeal of the on-again/off-again “global gag rule,” which required all nongovernmental organizations that receive federal funds to refrain from performing abortions or citing abortion services offered by others. Because birth control is the most humane way to deal with overpopulation (and will help those who are praying for an end to abortion), acceptance of family planning is an important first step.
Less people will decrease human impact. Prosperity need not always mean growth. Accepting individual responsibility yields less starvation, disease and war. Our planet will have fewer struggles when all of us learn and share about the problems of high population density.
By Kelly Weist
As a Catholic who went to a Catholic elementary school and grew up in a fairly rural, farm community, I knew my share of large families. Ten or even 15 children were not uncommon. Even though I haven’t chosen to have a large family, I respect and admire them.
However, there is a line. The latest media obsession, Nadya Suleman — “Octomom” — is truly obscene. First, we hear that these babies are actually the only surviving octopulets in the U.S. We marveled at the team that was able to deliver them. But before the avalanche of free diapers, strollers and college educations could descend upon them, the story got weirder.
The media then told us that the mom has six other children under the age of seven. She lives with her parents. Her dad had to go back to Iraq as a civilian contractor in order to support all of them. She is obsessed with Angelina Jolie. She had fertility treatments (no duh). And the kicker as far as I’m concerned, she had never been married. She’s become pregnant with all her children through in vitro fertilization with a friend as the sperm donor.
Dear God, what have we come to in this society? Children are precious and should always be treasured, from conception on. In order to treasure and protect them, a family is required. Yes, as much as our society chants “It’s all about me,” children need and deserve a family. It’s not just a nice thing to have, if you can manage it, or feel like it. A traditional family is essential to a child’s well-being.
Perfection cannot always be obtained, and traditional families can fall apart through tragedy. Just because it’s not always attainable doesn’t mean it’s optional. Just because someone you know came out great with a single mother doesn’t mean we should revere a woman’s choice to create children in the wrong circumstances.
And that is what Octomom did. Her choice to have children was facilitated by her doctor, and funded by somebody in a way that hasn’t been explained. All these people are responsible for the travesty that these children were born into.
The media seems to think that the outrage here is that she had eight babies when she already had six. The urban mainstream media seem to think that any more children than two is outrageous, unless of course, you’re a gorgeous actress. Families like the one on “18 and Counting” on TLC are objects of derision and stunned disbelief. But the interesting thing here is that that family has a father who can support them financially and actually behaves as a father to those children.
In both Octomom and Angelina Jolie’s cases, fathers are taken as unnecessary. This, to me, is the real outrage here. We do significant damage to children, and do no favors for women, by pretending otherwise.
Kelly mentions having made a personal choice about family planning. Fortunately many of us have.
Catholic doctrine states that Natural Family Planning is the only acceptable method of birth control for a Catholic family. NFP has a 31.4 percent failure rate and the use of contraception is still considered “immoral.” Particularly repugnant is the church’s attempt to prevent family planning in third world countries — leaving hunger, disease and infant mortality as the alternative.
Two weeks ago Kelly reduced the massive recklessness of U.S. preemptive wars to a home break-in. Right Thinking Americans can’t acknowledge that our bombs are falling on thousands of innocent Iraqi and Afghani children and women, some of who are surely pregnant. How do they reconcile “use of force” with “thou shalt not kill”?
A child’s well-being is served by many styles of family organization. “Admiration and respect” for families shouldn’t be reserved only for Kelly’s narrow image. Those who value potential life over human life while mocking single parents and gay families won’t be making moral choices for the rest of us.
“Octomom” has not birthed 14 children in order to perpetuate herself for the next 1,300 years, as Hannah charges. I think that it’s clear that her motive is more immediate, in that she is shopping the birth video around for $1 million. She’s abhorrent not for perpetuating herself, but for using her children to become a rich celebrity.
Hannah trots out all the old, ridiculous Malthusian canards about over population and the imminent depletion of natural resources. All these theories have been conclusively disproved time and time again. Less land is being used for agricultural purposes than at any time in history. Agricultural technology feeds ever increasing people with less and less arable land. Environmental technology is constantly improving our lives, and the planet as well. We are the only species that can, and does, do this.
“Those with dubious political motives are using distortion and denial to mislead.” True enough. What are the underlying motives of the Malthusians? Reducing your lives, your prosperity and your children’s future. Remember that when the populationists have their little rally to convince you to abort yourself.
Attorney and political activist Kelly Weist has served on the board of directors of the Colorado Federation of Republican Women and is the co-founder of Mountain Republican Women. She is an adjunct professor of political science at Metropolitan State College of Denver.
Hannah B. Hayes is a small-business owner and activist with Evergreen Peace. A recent graduate of Leadership Evergreen with a master’s degree in education, Hayes has remained active in this community through her writing and organizing for 35 years.