This morning’s newspaper included two articles on the same page and seemingly in conflict.
The first article describes the North Carolina General Assembly’s groping about for ways to ignore women’s rights by attempting to cobble together a last-minute law that would limit access to abortions. Ostensibly in the name of safer practice, the bill would essentially limit access by closing dozens of clinics by requiring them to adhere to the same standards as hospital operating rooms.
I have questions similar to those I once tried, with little success, to get answered when I served on a town planning board: What is the problem we are trying to fix? What are the facts regarding health issues women suffer from because clinics are not on a par with hospital operating rooms?
I fear the answer to the first question is that a majority of NC legislators just want to do away with abortion, period, and by making access more difficult they at least solve some of the problem.
As to my second question, I must have missed the facts that support the bill. Where is the research that documents the dangers of having an abortion in a clinic that does not have a hospital standard operating room? Where are the funds to avoid closing clinics or providing assistance to women who can’t afford to travel to a far away clinic or pay for treatment in a hospital?
The article next to the one about limiting access to abortion clinics is headlined: “Population growing more than expected.” It appears that, among other alarming trends in population growth, Nigeria, a country the size of Texas, will become the third largest country on Earth, with more people than the United States by 2050, and world population will reach almost 11 billion by 2100. Africa’s population is projected to reach 4 billion, a result a UN researcher calls “a lost decade of family planning in Africa.”
Thomas Malthus addressed the population issue about 150 years ago when he wrote, among numerous other quotes from numerous essays, “Population, when unchecked, goes on doubling itself every 25 years or increases in a geometrical ratio.” He also wrote: “The constant effort towards population, which is found even in the most vicious societies, increases the number of people before the means of subsistence are increased,” and “I do not know that any writer has supposed that on this earth man will ultimately be able to live without food.”
My life will be long over by the time the projections briefly described above become reality or don’t. But I can’t help thinking about how I have seen the U.S. population grow from about 130 million when I was in grade school to over 300 million 60 years later, and wondering how future generations will cope with ever-increasing crowds, traffic, numbers of mouths to feed, people to cloth, shelter, and provide health care. And jobs….
We haven’t solved these problems yet in our own time, and I wonder if anyone will ever be able to solve them. Yet many of our legislators and other leaders oppose family planning and a woman’s right to choose whether to have a child.
Thomas Malthus turns out to be an accurate predictor of the future.