Aggression against women?

By Edd Doerr | 1 February 2015
Church and State

A health worker explains birth control at a clinic outside Juba, South Sudan. (H. McNeish for VOA)

Vatican, Jan 29. CRUX (a Catholic news organization) reports that the Vatican has declared that “elective plastic surgery” is a “form of aggression” against women. What a steaming pile of bovine excrement, coming only a couple of weeks after Pope Francis, visiting the Philippines, defended the Vatican’s condemnation of contraception, carved in stone by Pope Paul VI in 1968 in defiance of nearly all of his own advisers.

As a “form of aggression” against women “elective plastic surgery” is not even a tiny blip on the radar compared to the damage wrought by the Vatican’s contraceptive ban. Since the 1968 ban there have been 1.5 billion (with a “b”) abortions worldwide plus an incalculable loss of women’s lives and damage to women’s health from illegal and dangerous abortions. To be fair, most Catholics ignore the ban, and the Vatican’s ban on contraception and abortion is greatly supplemented by similar anti-women positions from fundamentalist Evangelical, Hasidic, Muslim and other sources.

Clearly, human overpopulation, tripled to over 7 billion since WW II, is a major contributing factor to climate change and its concomitants: CO2 and methane buildup in the atmosphere, environmental degradation, resource depletion, toxic waste accumulation, deforestation, desertification, sea level rise, soil erosion and nutrient loss, biodiversity shrinkage, and increasing sociopolitical instability and violence.

Today’s (Jan 31) NY Times reports a new Times/Stanford/Resources poll (“Half in GOP Say They Back Climate Change: Poll Finds Candidates at Odds With Voters”) shows that 55% of those polled in January think that the US government should do a great deal or a lot about global warming (77% of Dems, 56% of Independents, 28% of Repubs). The poll also found that 42% of those polled think that US action to reduce global warming would help the economy (58% of Dems, 40% of Indies, 28% of Repubs). Re the 2016 elections, 66% of those polled said they would support candidates who favor using “new forms of renewable energy and [support] manufacture of cars and appliances that use less gas and electricity” (Dems 81%, Indies 66%, Repubs 48%). Also, 67% said they would be less likely to vote for climate change deniers (Dems 78%, Indies 72%, Repubs 48%).

But back to Pope Francis, who seems to be enjoying a high level of esteem these days among the general public, all his nice words about helping the poor and doing something about climate change will be meaningless or worse if he fails to reverse the Vatican ban on contraception and stop the Vatican’s incessant efforts to impede international efforts to deal with overpopulation and universal access to contraception. He should also have the Vatican abandon its unscientific and unbiblical notion that human personhood begins at conception rather than birth. The clock is ticking.

Edd Doerr was president of the American Humanist Association from 1995 to 2003, serving previously as vice-president and board chair under Isaac Asimov from 1985 to 1991. He has been executive director and then president of Americans for Religious Liberty since 1982. A former teacher of history and Spanish, he is the author, co-author, editor, or translator of twenty books, mostly on religious liberty and reproductive rights. He served on the governing body of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice from 1973 until 2004 and on the boards of NARAL, the ACLU of Maryland, and the National Committee for Public Education and Religious Liberty. More than 3,000 of his articles, columns, reviews, and letters have been published in The Humanist and many other publications. For over ten years he has been writing a column in the journal Free Inquiry from the Council for Secular Humanism.

Recommended

What happened to American political will to deal with the overpopulation problem?
Infallibility and the Population Problem
NSSM 200, the Vatican, and the World Population Explosion
The Vatican’s Role in the World Population Crisis: The Untold Story

Professor Milton Siegel, who for 24 years was the Assistant Director-General of the World Health Organization, speaks to Dr. Stephen Mumford in 1992 to reveal that although there was a consensus that overpopulation was a grave public health threat and would be a major cause of preventable death not too far in the future, the Vatican successfully fought off the incorporation of family planning and birth control into official WHO policy. This video is available for public viewing for the first time. Read the full transcript of the interview here.

What Melinda Gates would tell the Pope

Professor Paul Ehrlich: Can a collapse of global civilization be avoided?

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