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Heads Up



In Bogota, Colombia, the government is proposing a law requiring everyone over 14 to carry a condom at all times, to help reduce unwanted pregnancies, abortions and sexually transmitted diseases.
San Luis Obispo County could take the lead here, as it did on smoking.
In my lifetime, the number of humans on this fragile planet has increased by 5 billion; unfortunately, the planet in my opinion, has a carrying capacity of half a billion.
Recently the local news carried a story about a woman, roughly my age who begat 18 children, who in turn begat 236 grandchildren (I have 3). I would guess she was no more sexually active than I. It takes motivation, intelligence and desire NOT to cause an unintended, unplanned pregnancy.
The people explosion is caused not by an increase in the birth rate, but a decrease in the death rate. Medicine, better nutrition, dental advances, vaccinations, no predators (e.g. grizzly bears, wolves from the dark forest)) and very much improved care of sick and injured all have resulted in an explosion of people—much like the rabbits in Australia. But all population explosions are followed by a population collapse.
It is great to be an elder, but I realize this is a biological abnormality. All species go through a period of birth, growth to maturity (usually with reproduction), followed by death. A study of native American longevity found that few individuals lived beyond the age of 35. As recently as 1900 the average life expectancy in the US was only 40. Now it is about 80.
All normal, healthy humans have a sex life, which can manifest itself via auto-sex (masturbation), homo-sex, anal-sex, oral-sex, “wet-dreams� and/or conventional hetero-sex. The President’s “Abstinence Only� program encourages all except hetero-sex until married.  Our basic nature is for hetero (penis/vagina) sex: that is what we are designed for. This heterosexuality doesn’t necessarily have to result in babies, since the primary goal of “recreational sex� is to have mutual orgasms without producing babies. The bumper sticker says it: MAKE LOVE NOT BABIES.
No one promotes “recreational sex� per se. Women can’t recommend it, since they would be called a “slut� (why do the terms “slut� and “stud� have such different implications?). Males often promote the concept but are typically unwilling to get a vasectomy. I suggest that when you want to enjoy penis-vagina sex, by all means do so, but prevent the union of egg and sperm—unless you are ready for a very expensive baby that will consume your freedom.
I feel qualified to recommend “recreational sex� because I am a single male who has had a full sex life but  am currently sexually inactive due to taking an anti-testosterone drug (prostate problems). Maybe this drug should be given to all males—particularly priests. With less testosterone we might have less maleness, i.e., fewer wars, fights, stabbings, Mardi Gras problems.�
Gals today in the US should not take for granted their freedom and equal status. When I was in high school (1940s), abortion, and even contraceptives, were illegal. Margaret Sanger went to jail for telling women about birth control. Women weren’t allowed to run the Boston Marathon. As recently as the 1964 Olympics there were few women—of the 5151 Olympians in ’64, only 678 were women. Women couldn’t even attend the original Olympics. I particularly like seeing female Olympians because they are not adding to the people explosion..
Women can now be whatever they want: engineer, bulldozer operator, journalist, soldier, doctor, professor, truck driver, pilot or our next president. This is an excellent time to be female in the US, Europe and Japan, but in most of the world today, women are subservient to the male and have no choice other than motherhood.
An attractive, 28 year old said, in response to my question about her non-mom status: “I have chosen to pursue an education instead of motherhood because I believe it is a greater contribution to society. I count myself lucky to live in a nation where contraception is freely available. Women in developing nations would have a much better chance at a successful and healthy life if birth control measures were accessible to them. I think my generation of young adults is among the most privileged in human history, but we also bear great responsibility to future generations for our actions. Bearing children without considering the global implications is reckless and short-sighted. If more women had a choice, I think they would choose to delay or forgo motherhood, and the world would be a better place for everyone.�
Social change is painfully slow, while technological change (e.g.cell phones) is rapid. More than 400,000 conceptions take place on this planet every day. More than half are unintended (accidents) and sometimes bitterly regretted  In the US each year there are 6 million pregnancies; again, half are unintended, and half of those end in abortions. The world would be a healthier, better place if vasectomies and tubal ligations were free and emergency contraceptives (EC) and condoms were in vending machines in all restrooms. Every child has the right to be born wanted, planned, loved, and NOT the result of an ‘accident.’ We have done much too well at being fruitful and multiplying.
President Bush claims concern for women, yet he has blocked Congressionally approved funding for the United Nations Population Fund for three straight years. Major contributors to this fund  are Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, New Zealand, Sweden, and England. This program provides safe, effective contraception and voluntary family planning to poor women throughout the world (many with four or more babies already) who want to limit their offspring. The US is the only country to deny funding for non-budgetary reasons. The President’s ignorance will add to the population explosion, increase maternal deaths, and increase the number of abortions. Our country could take 0.1% of what we spend on war, and provide free vasectomies, free tubals, free condoms and other contraceptives to anyone on the planet that wants ‘birth control.�
Women in the US have come a long way. Now we must spread this gender equality throughout the world—the Dark Ages ended long ago. ∆

Bill Denneen can be reached at bdenneen@kcbx.net

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