By Russ Doty (Contact)
To be delivered to: Roman Catholic College of Cardinals and Your Favorite Catholic Clergy or Nun
-- The petition has been submitted. If you sign now we will submit again but to the new Pope.
-- We were proud and humbled when the Catholic Council of Bishops led in calling for limitations on nuclear and other armaments that threaten the survival of life on earth. Additional threats to human existence, like over-population, now require your wisdom and compassion.
-- Please revisit the Humanae Vitae published in 1968. Paragraph 26 of that document blames the world’s poverty and injustice entirely “on a lack of wisdom in government, on an insufficient sense of social justice, on selfish monopolization, or again on blameworthy indolence in confronting the efforts and the sacrifices necessary to ensure the raising of living standards of a people.”
-- Surely a portion of that responsibility must also rest with ecclesiastics whose pronouncements which may have had a good faith basis in reason and morality to reaffirm the sanctity of life in one time, ironically and unintentionally no longer promote human survival and have become a significant contributor threatening all life, sanctified or otherwise.
-- Worldwide population exceeds 7.1 billion. That will be 9 billion by mid-century. This growth has stretched earth’s resources beyond their limit likely causing the world population affected by water-scarcity to balloon from 8% in 2000 to 47% in 2030.
-- Nations have been over-pumping their aquifers. Most are replenishable. Some are not. For example, in Yemen the water table is falling by approximately 6 feet per year. The quickly declining water tables and rapidly growing population have helped make Yemen a failed state. China’s Hai basin is facing a shortfall of approximately 40 billion tons of water per year. When its aquifer depletes, a 40 million ton decline in grain production will follow, leaving 130 million citizens looking elsewhere for food. Simultaneous over-pumping may lead to concurrent depletion of aquifers, agriculture cutbacks, and devastating world food scarcity.
-- Fresh water and food production are intricately connected. Producing a ton of grain requires 1,000 tons of water. Water scarcity creates food shortages, raises food prices, and increases a countries’ dependence on food imports. Since producing grain requires large quantities of water, countries have begun cutting back on their grain production—opting to import instead. In several of the largest cities—including Los Angeles, Cairo, and New Delhi—water consumption can only be increased by reduction of agricultural water use.
-- Unfettered procreation and ineffective birth control make efforts to conquer hunger and poverty futile. Lack of sufficient care and family planning services cause one woman to die every minute from pregnancy or childbirth complications. These women leave behind over 1 million children annually, who then become motherless and vulnerable.
-- Girls younger than the age of 15 are five times more likely to die while giving birth than women who are in their twenties. Likewise, infants are 60% more likely to die in their first year of life with a mother who is younger than age 18. Family planning addresses this issue by allowing young girls to delay pregnancy until they are physically developed enough to give birth in a healthy manner.
-- Turning a blind eye to the effects of misguided birth-control policies is not a loving response. Tacitly promoting use of more than one’s share of our world’s resources is not ethical.
-- We have been fruitful and multiplied to the point where we no longer fill the sea (as Genesis 1:22 admonished us to do) but deplete it. Now we must “interpret the present time,” judge for ourselves “what is right” (Luke 13:54-57) with resource efficiency evaluation, and become better stewards of God’s earth. (1 Peter 4:10)
-- Meeting the need for family planning reduces unintended pregnancies. This, in turn, lowers the cost of providing women with maternal and newborn care by $5.1 billion.
-- Therefore, we implore you and your new Pope to approve artificial birth control as a gift from God while also requesting parishioners to limit the number of children they have. Also, please commit to educating women in your parishes to at least the eighth grade level and educating both genders concerning the over-population issue. It’s one of the things you can do to limit over-population.
Note: MoveOn Civic Action does not necessarily endorse the contents of petitions posted on this site. MoveOn Petitions is an open tool that anyone can use to post a petition advocating any point of view, so long as the petition does not violate our terms of service.