Abortion pill good news for our beleaguered planet

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 24 December, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 24 December, 2000, 12:00am

I understand that the pill allowing women to terminate a pregnancy in the first nine weeks after conception may soon be available in Hong Kong.

This is something that should be welcomed.

Thanks to national organisations in the US such as Zero Population Growth, this pill, known as Mifepriston, or RU486, was approved for sale in the US in September.

RU486 gives women the right to freely decide the number of children they will have and since US unplanned pregnancy rates are still very high, this should help reduce this number.

By being able to better plan how many children they want to have and space them better, access to this prescription drug will help women, children and families across the country.

Living in a boom town, Seattle, which is experiencing substantial growth it often occurs to me that we need to take proactive steps in order to ward off becoming another Los Angeles, with its appalling traffic congestion leading to bad air pollution.

Every environmental problem I can think of has, at its core, human population growth.

Last year, the world's population passed the six billion mark and every day we're pushing closer to seven billion and I believe we will reach that number in the next 10 years unless something radical happens.

Making RU486 and surgical abortion more easily accessible, increasing the availability of the morning-after pill, improving sex education classes for the young, making it mandatory for insurance companies to cover prescription contraceptive methods and increasing US-funded international family-planning assistance, are just some of the 'must-haves', if we ever hope to live on a planet not crushed by the weight of humanity.

Just the other day I read that more than 11,000 species are thought to be on the brink of extinction this year alone. We, supposedly the most intelligent species, should be ashamed of ourselves that we let superstition, outdated or misinterpreted religious beliefs and outright stupidity guide us into overburdening this wonderful planet with people.

Any effort we can make to lessen our numbers and decrease the amount of fuel, water and other resources we use up at a (currently) alarming rate, will help our planet.

The people who fought the battle to bring RU486 to market in this country and who are championing its cause in the Hong Kong SAR, should be commended by every intelligent and forward-thinking person.

It is a milestone for the women, men and children of this generation and for all future ones.

The butterflies, dolphins, monkeys and ants on this planet and other species, need us to take even bolder steps as soon as possible to make this a planet which provides a healthy environment for all species.

Any and all steps we can take to lessen our numbers are good first steps.



Zero Population Growth

Seattle Chapter

Seattle, Washington, US