Letters to the Editor

Population: Too many new people

For the past 35 years, Zero Population Growth (ZPG) has played an important part in educating the public on the connection between rapid population growth in the world and the critical environmental changes in our planet.

ZPG has recently changed its name to “Population Connection” with the hope that the new name will help make the connection between family planning and the health of our planet.

Every environmental issue is aggravated by the increase in the population —from the burning of the forests to make farmland to global warming due to increased population. Our population continues to grow by 80 million people every year. Women continue to have more children than they can care for because they lack access to the most basic of health education and services.

The current administration has put a temporary hold on $34 million previously voted by Congress for the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA). This money for family planning gives couples the knowledge and the opportunity to choose, to have, and to space the number of children that they desire. The UNFPA is also in a lonely struggle to oppose female genital mutilation, the spread of AIDS and the scourge of mothers dying in childbirth.

The present administration has also imposed the Global Gag Rule, which censors information and education about family planning options. Men and women need accurate medical and scientific information and accessibility to medical care in order to make informed and appropriate decisions.

It is estimated that with the United States’ funding, 800,000 abortions could be prevented and the lives of countless mothers and children under the age of five saved. Reproductive health is as essential as basic vaccines or antibiotics.

The population crisis will destroy our planet much faster than will global warming. Couples who have access to reproductive health services have smaller, healthier families, the population growth slows, and the world becomes more liveable for all creatures.

Legislation passed by our elected officials has a negative or a positive effect on stabilizing the population of the world. Be sure that you are currently registered to vote. Your first opportunity this year will be Sept. 17 in the primary and in the general election Nov. 5. If you have questions about voting, call the Island County Auditor at 679-7366.

Betty Freund

Oak Harbor

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