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Overpopulation control

Family planning is a need in many countries

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Of all of the opinion columns that I have read in the New Times and Sun newspapers, the recent published opinion titled "The racist roots of Earth Day" (April 27) contained such ridiculous claims I couldn't believe that the author could be that absurd and totally wrong. The only things that were true were the many predictions about the consequences of overpopulation by some of our politicians and important people whom the author didn't like.

There are countries and areas of the world that are in desperate need of population control, and in the absence of efforts to lower their populations, they face food shortages and famine, besides other related problems. By Col. Al Fonzi's ridiculous statements, I can only assume that he is a Catholic as I once was before I received my university education. I am a retired high school teacher.

While I can't cover herein the situations in every country of the world to offer a reply, I'll describe conditions in El Salvador before the revolution, because I have accurate knowledge of conditions there. For the very small size of this country in Central America, it is the most heavily populated country in the Western Hemisphere. Before the revolution, which began in 1979, this very poor country was under the total control of 14 ruling families and the Catholic Church. Artificial birth control was badly needed as the population was growing exponentially, extreme poverty was widespread and growing, and there were few decent opportunities for the vast majority, except extremely low-paying farm labor on farms owned by the 14 ruling families.

Many people didn't even live in houses but lived in hovels, which can be described as about 4-feet high with dirt floors, adobe walls, and scrap metal roofing. Most of the poor and extremely poor uneducated people had more children than they could adequately care for, as there was no birth control in place to help them with family planning. In fact, family planning clinics were outlawed due to the power of the church. Advocating for birth control, except by the unworkable church's method, was a crime, and nobody wanted to go to jail because they opposed the rules of the 14 families and the church.

Therefore, the result of a lack of family planning and having more children than a family could adequately care for was a disaster for little, overpopulated El Salvador. And it was the major cause of the people's revolution. These kinds of histories can be repeated with certain modifications in many other poor countries of the world.

Which population policies are better and will lead to a better life for a country's citizens? Population stabilization or the extreme growth of a country's population where all of a breadwinner's wages go to buy food for their large families, especially when Latin and other poor countries have no welfare programs in place? Also, does the author like overcrowded classrooms, declining water supplies in many areas, failing highways, freeway gridlock, more asphalt accompanied by more urban sprawl, polluted air, shrinking farmland, uncertain energy supplies, etc.?

I would like to hear Col. Fonzi's answers to my questions and would like to know if he is a Catholic.

Sally Rodriguez from Santa Maria is a fan of family planning. Send comments to the editor at clanham@newtimesslo.com or write a letter to the editor at letters@newtimesslo.com.

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