If you saw a child about to run into the path of a moving vehicle you would at least scream out a warning, or if close enough drag the child back. You wouldn’t stop to think ‘Have I the right?’ or ask permission first from the parents before intervening.
Yet we are criticised, particularly by the political left, when we argue the case for urgent action to reduce population numbers in order to prevent a potential future disaster.
Last year ‘Save the Children’ issued a report showing that each year 30,000 teenage girls world-wide die from the complications of pregnancy – or put another way it accounts for one death every twenty minutes.
Those of us advocating for increased family planning and contraceptive availability encounter aid agencies and NGOs telling us we have no right do this, that it is paternalistic, culturally inappropriate and even racist, that the request must come first from the people concerned.
But under what circumstances will that request come, if at all? How many women or girls in developing nations will even know what is available? And who will they request it of? And while we wait for a thirteen year old girl to make the request to someone in power, how many more teen pregnancies will there be, with or without complications?
In the 1990s, in his last ever public speech, former South Australian Premier Don Dunstan told a packed audience ‘We intervene or we sink’. Words of wisdom we cannot afford to ignore.
(President message was part of the December #1 issue of Sustainable Population Australia e-news, available to all SPA members. Please consider joining SPA to receive regular e-news and newsletters around population issues).