Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Population control and ethics

I read an interesting article in Salon today. Interesting for lots of reasons – the interaction between population levels and the environment is a complex one and worth exploring – but mostly interesting in this case to see a group of experts who disagree on many things all agree on the fact that the problem can only be solved by allowing women to control their own reproductive capabilities. Which is exactly the opposite of what one side in the upcoming election wants to see happen.

Now I know that abortion is a contentious issue for American society. I don’t think it should be, because the fact that women should be allowed to control their own capacity to reproduce is so simple and obvious that anyone who doesn’t grasp it is, in my opinion, an idiot. It’s interesting to note that all the experts seem to agree that this is in fact that key to controlling world population numbers – give women education and choices and they tend to choose to limit their reproduction to the replacement rate or below.

But really it’s not abortion that’s the big issue in this debate, in my opinion. What it really comes down to is that there’s a set of people in American society, who have more and more influence in American politics, who believe that any attempts to control reproduction are morally wrong. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that most of these people are distrustful of science. Even the most cursory look at the science suggests that unchecked population growth is a disaster.

So I’m just going to come right out and say it. A generalized opposition to the idea of women controlling their own reproductive capacities is morally unacceptable. Not just for the feminist reasons, though those are obvious. Also because the world cannot sustain an indefinite number of people, and because this society in particular already consumes more than it’s fair share of the world’s resources. Anti-abortion policies are bad enough; anti-contraception policies are a crime against humanity that endangers us all.

And that, folks, is one of the biggest reasons to vote against McCain and Palin. These people aren’t just obnoxious ideologues, they’re dangerous. America already consumes more than any society in the world – more than even China, which has a population far larger than ours. For America to even contemplate not limiting its population growth is completely unethical. We have no right to allow our collective hubris to overwhelm our rationality. We need a government that understands that contraception is a good thing. Right now we don’t have that, and if McCain is elected we’ll have another one that actively opposes the idea of women controlling their reproductive capacities, which research the world over shows is the key to keeping population numbers under control.

These people are dangerous. Don’t let them win.


Sarah J said...

The whole anti-contraception argument is so mixed up in ideas of Christian white supremacy (we need to keep breeding to outbreed them!) and of course control of women and fear of just boggles the mind.

Daisy said...

But some smart women are actually defending Palin! It's really quite depressing.

Great post.

UneFemmePlusCourageuse said...

Cassandra, I love this and I really needed to see it today. Thank you so much for writing such an awesome post.