On the importance of family planning

There are two and a half times as many people now on Earth as there were when my father suggested to my fiancé and me that we adopt our children “because the population explosion is already killing people.” Today we see horrifying migrations of hungry people fleeing from places with not enough space and arriving in places where they challenge the resources of their new country.

I strongly believe that all babies should be born only when they are wanted, preferably by at least two people, but certainly by their mother. We see appalling crime rates reflecting the effects of children being raised without enough resources, especially of love. If all new people were wanted and welcomed, we would have far less crime, war, and migration.

Therefore, I was appalled to learn of the U.S. administration’s new willingness to allow employers to not include contraception in their health care plans for employees. It baffles me that some people claim religious opposition to contraception. Yes, I believe in religious freedom, but does it extend to the right to genocide?

My greatest arguments with my mother when I was a teenager were about whether the pope was the most evil man on Earth. I argued that surely someone must be more evil than a man who was trying to devote his career to God. My mother said that the pope’s insistence that Catholics not use contraception was causing the premature extinction of the human species via overpopulation. What could be more evil than that?

Perhaps I should confess that I gave birth twice and both they and their spouses bring me lots of joy and satisfaction. However, I used Planned Parenthood for six years after my father gave me his advice; he was a good father. I am also very grateful to Planned Parenthood for helping my parents postpone me for five years after their marriage and enabling them to give me a remarkably happy life. I admire couples who can refrain from childbirth altogether, including my daughter and her delightful husband.

I know that children can bring great joy, but if any woman doesn’t want a(nother) child, she shouldn’t have one, for her sake, the child’s sake, her community’s sake, and the survival of the human species.

The emphasis on access to contraception as a woman’s issue bothers me. It is also a baby’s issue and a species survival issue, and I believe these merit far more attention than they have received thus far.

Pat Kenschaft

Montclair