Letters to the Editor
September 2016

I am enjoying your journal, and learning a number of shocking facts about difficulties that women face in getting access to abortions in Latin America—and Texas too, for that matter. Your colored map was an eye opener.

Also, I used your article about Burundi to write a letter to the Guardian Weekly, which published it.

Linda Agerbak
Arlington, Massachusetts

Regarding the letter from Kathy Darrow in the June issue: Earlier this year, I read about a male birth control device that sounded good enough to me that I have remembered the story for six months (Bimek, invented by German carpenter Clemens Bimek: www.bimek.com). It might even pass muster with the religious nutbags who worry about ANY female birth control taking the life of an “unborn child.”

Thanks for the Zika virus stories; I fear that we are watching a slow-motion biological disaster unfold. It is difficult to imagine the sorrow that the families of the Zika babies will bear.

Nancy Lowell
Tampa, Florida

Just wanted to say that I loved the pictures of proud and happy fathers and grandfathers in the June issue. While it is of utmost importance to educate mothers, it is also important to recognize the emotional involvement of fathers.

Carol Fleishauer
Baraboo, Wisconsin

The statement (June 2016, p. 11) that Latin America’s population would drop by 10-11 million if all births were postponed for a year would only be true if the birth rate and the death rate were identical. That is far from the case. The birthrate is 18.5 per thousand, or 11.7 million births in a population of 634-35 million. The death rate is 5.9 per thousand, or 3.7 million deaths. Thus, if one ignores migration, the population decline would be 3.7 million, not 10-11 million.

Philip Russell
Austin, Texas

You are absolutely right that the phraseology of the sentence in question was misleading (as it was a reprint, we were powerless to alter it). What it should have said was that the population would grow by 10-11 million fewer people each year if births dropped to zero.


I recently learned about your organization through a mailer you sent with a petition to President Obama. First, thank you for the work you do. I work and volunteer as an environmental advocate and activist and studied ecology in graduate school. As such, I am very familiar with the concept of carrying capacity and the impacts of human population growth on our natural resources.

I believe dispelling and eliminating societal and religious expectations that everyone have kids could go a long way toward combating rapid population growth. Along with the freedom to choose when and how many kids to have, people also need to know they have a choice to not have kids at all.

Elizabeth Wiles
Morgantown, West Virginia

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