Thanks for the informative issue on the status of contraception and population in Ethiopia in particular and Africa in general. I have long wondered why vasectomy was not emphasized more in population and health discussions. Good to know it’s easy to obtain in Ethiopia at least. On a more general note, I believe a safe and effective male contraceptive pill could change population dynamics far more cheaply and quickly than the current emphasis on female contraception. Of course, it would take a concerted and consistent health services campaign to sway male egos and fears, but the effort might save the planet.
Larry D. Little
Stone Mountain, Georgia
I recently received information and solicitation for donations to your organization in the mail, and am certainly a supporter of your mission. However, I searched your FAQ and other aspects of the website for information on the availability and effectiveness of contraception for men, and found almost nothing except for a brief mention about the use of condoms. Have I missed something? Why is this huge responsibility still left almost entirely to women? What is your organization doing to educate men and help to develop contraception for men that is more effective than condoms and less invasive than surgery?
It would be wonderful if there were an effective, reversible method of birth control for men besides condoms. It seems like we’re always a couple of years away from a pill or injection for men that would temporarily suspend their fertility (Vasalgel—which has been shown to work on rabbits—is headed for clinical trials with humans this year, and researchers say it could be available as early as 2018).
Population Connection works to increase funding for contraceptive research, and if a new method were to be developed and made available to consumers, we would fully support its availability without copay in the United States and its inclusion in the package of services that our country’s foreign aid funds overseas.
The last two issues were excellent, but especially the one on Burundi. I passed my first copy on to my brother, who has spent time there. I wish I knew where else to leave your excellent magazine once I’m done reading it. Maybe my doctor’s office? Yesterday, I slipped the one on the Helms Amendment into the magazine rack at my local gym. I hope someone who needs to see it gets a chance to do so before the managers there throw it out as too controversial. Sigh.
St. Paul, Minnesota
For several years I have been hearing the voices of panic over birth rates being “too low,” so I was interested in the March 2016 issue of Population Connection magazine. I was disappointed in the article because it seemed to me that the solutions proposed were short term, being dependent on continued human population expansion in some areas of the world to support areas where growth has been limited. I have to think that if humans believe there’s a techno answer for every problem facing culture and the planet, they should have a techno and policy answer to any perceived “shortage” of humans. It will be up to population advocates to develop strategies to deal with the social/financial/anthropocentric side effects of limiting human population growth.
Mary Anne Hoover
Please go back and read our staff columns from that issue, and you will see that we are fully in agreement. Also see the book announcement on page 32 of this issue—our first book explores policy and technology opportunities that low fertility presents to society and the planet!