- WEB EXCLUSIVE
- PE COFFEEHAUS
One of the more controversial topics of the day is the requirement for ALL insurance programs to provide free contraception for women. I think that everyone reading this is familiar with the topic and the arguments for and against the issue. Normally, this topic wouldn’t fit into a Pollution Engineering blog post and I am sure everyone reading this wonders what in the world this has to do with environmental issues. Well, allow me to clarify.
I recently read about a new approach as to why the administration might be pushing the issue. Apparently, it is all about the environment and we just did not get it.
The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars held a series of discussions at the end of February and one of the talks was entitled, Women's Health: Key to Climate Adaption Strategies. The talk was delivered by Kavita Ramdas, president of Global Fund for Women since 1996. She carefully explained to the audience that the requirement to allow women to have more access to birth control is actually a program that would have a tremendous impact on global warming.
According to Ramdas, it is simply common sense that when women have control over the timing of their pregnancies they often choose to have fewer children. By having fewer children, there are fewer people using energy and consuming products. In fact, she claims that by allowing women access to the free contraceptives, carbon emissions will be lowered by eight to 15 percent. She further claimed that control in the United States would have the biggest impact on world carbon levels because, on average, children in the country absorb 40 percent more of the Earth's resources than children in other countries.
In reading the transcripts of the talk, I did not find a single place where she mentioned sources corroborating her claims. She said there would be fewer children born but did not suggest how much the population growth would decline. How she came up with her eight to 15 percent energy reduction figures is beyond me. Also, such an estimate would not be a reduction but a lower growth curve if proven. Again, she did not show how she calculated that American children consume on average 40 percent more energy than children in other countries. My guess is that she is thinking of the electronic gadgets that our children use every day and comparing that to the availability for those youngsters in developing and poor countries. It is my opinion that many, if not most, of the children that do not have access to such technology are the result of depression by dictators and warlords.
Please understand that I in no way am attempting to denigrate women or children. I am in no way taking a stand on the topic of birth control. I am saying that I think this argument that providing free contraception will avert greenhouse gas over production by up to 15 percent has got to be one of the least thought out arguments I have ever heard. What a spin.