Snuff It #3
Humanity's Greatest Challenge
by Richard M. Bowers
If not before, then certainly since Dec. 1968 when I created Zero Population
Growth Inc. with two friends, my life's major commitment has been to helping,
yes also urging all persons everywhere on earth to live birth-free lives for
One of my more dramatic contributions was as the volunteer Executive
Director of an abortion referral service in San Francisco for five months in
early 1970. Mostly we gave pregnant women the addresses, phone numbers etc.
of abortions clinics in Mexico across the US border. Many considered such
referrals illegal. I did not. We were listed in the phone yellow pages under
It was my personal privilege to work there with Pat Magginis, the woman I
consider the "Florence Nightingale" of the pro-choice movement.
Pat is one of the best persons I have had the privilege to work with in my
whole, long life.
In May 1970 in San Francisco we held a public conference for physicians on
abortion procedures. I then returned to the east coast. I have lived here
all my life except for military service in Korea and then at Fort Lewis in
the State of Washington in the mid 1950's.
With two others my wife, Betty, and I founded Globally Responsible Birthing
(GRB) in 1993. Fundamental global policies of GRB include 1) there should
be fewer & still fewer unplanned pregnancies with the goal to have as near
zero as feasible ASAP and 2) there should be fewer & still fewer unwanted
births with the goal to have as close to zero as feasible ASAP. I am the
GRB Director and plan to continue on as GRB Director for at least a couple
years. Being 65, I may turn GRB over to younger persons before long.
The rest of this two page memo will set forth my thinking about what number
of births each woman or couple ought to have for purposes of what will be
best for humankind survival, certainly during the rest of the 1990's. Until
2050? I hope not, but fear birth avoidance advocacy will be needed into
the 22nd century CE. The number of births I believe now best for all is
In the 1990's and well beyond, because humankind's global number will
continue to increase, the best number of births by any woman or couple will
be ZERO. Our global number already is some 5.7 BILLION on this tiny space
vehicle too small for 10% that number. Optimum may be fewer than one million
Can anyone really believe that as global biological growth, the excess of
births over deaths, continues year after year that even first births help
increase chances for Homo sapiens' survival? Otherwise sensitive persons
who claim that absurdity are strange. Could such persons not believe, or
perhaps they are not familiar with the United Nations' estimate that some
40,000 fellow humans, mostly youngsters under age 5, each day keep on dying
from mere lack of decent minimum food, clothing and shelter? That situation
is a tragedy of the first magnitude. Some seventeen million unnecessary
deaths each year.
Before I go on, a few words about this statement of my personal beliefs.
As stated, I am the GRB Director. But it is not true that what I say
herein is GRB policy. These are only my personal thoughts.
The sole question now to be discussed is how best to have fewer births
for NOW!, i.e. while humankind's global growth continues.
THE crucial matter is government coercion. Should women and couples be
compelled to birth less? I reluctantly favor compulsory sterilization of
antisocial couples who birth excessively. Unhappily I support this harsh
measure; but only if forced upon all persons equally, as my highest
government priority. I am ready to join others in public advocacy of
What I believe is also needed is to have worldwide mass media encouragement
of NO BIRTHING NOW! i.e. while earth births remain more than deaths. In
the mid 1970's after dramatic 1971 and 1972 US birth reductions which we
in ZPG Inc. helped bring about (with many others helping of course) most
family planners spoke out against going immediately from pregnant women having
been forced to birth by anti-abortion criminal laws, to government laws to
force less birthing. That view then seemed reasonable. We hoped couples
and single women would reduce at least US birthing to be fewer than deaths
quickly. But that has not happened.
I, personally, set for ZPG Inc. the two time-goals to have US births below
deaths by 1980, and secondly global births below deaths by 1990. Why has
the US failed to have negative biological growth (births fewer than deaths)
even by 1994? It is near certain US births in 1994 will be well over one
million more than the number of US deaths.
Most US demographers (one of whom is Prof. Charles Westoff of Princeton)
were and are among those responsible for this continuing US failure. Of
course Roman Catholic Cardinals and other rabid pro-natalists are also evil;
but most demographers were and still are important in continued US excessive
birthing. Urging women to not use birth control pills etc. made most Roman
Catholic male celibate clergy irrelevant. What demographers, with mass US
media, did was to focus public attention upon what they labeled as a US
"low" birth rate, that is US births slightly below the replacement
birth rate, or the two birth average. Our US birth rate has been below
"replacement level" fertility since 1972.
Why are most US persons with great power pro-natalists? A major reason,
I submit, was and is "consumerism". Those who own newspapers,
radio stations, magazines, TV stations and other businesses favor people
buying and/or consuming more & more. They favor more & more corporate
profits. To them more births = more buying.
Might we successfully get to global zpg by 2003? Of course we CAN DO IT.
But based on the last 20 years in the US, I fear pro-natalists will spread
their sinful self-destructive ideas too successfully all across earth about
replacement level fertility being enough birth reduction. What is needed
is to have all realize that for NOW! i.e, while earth births are more than
deaths, EVERY BIRTH, yes including a first birth by a woman or a couple is
not only wrong but is a serious GLOBAL SIN.
After January 1994 US data came in with both births and deaths showing huge
increases, I now urge all governments have compulsory sterilizations after
any birth, except in nations like Germany, Russia and a few others where
births already are fewer than deaths. In nations with fewer births than
deaths compulsory sterilizations would be after a birth of the 2nd or higher
All are urged to join GRB. You need only agree with policies such as a
time-goal of ending our species' earth growth by 2003. If enough join groups
like GRB and push for birth-free living by all for NOW! i.e. while earth human
growth continues, compulsory birth controls may not be needed in nations
where births have become fewer than deaths by 40%, and better below half
the number of deaths year after year.
Write to GRB at the address [below] for more info., or to tell us you are
a GRB member. Your decision makes you a GRB member. There will never be
GRB membership dues while I am GRB Director. Nor will an undated letter
be sent to thousands begging for money.
REMEMBER--EACH BIRTH IS A GLOBAL SIN WHILE HUMANKIND KEEPS ON GROWING!
GRB, Route 1, Box 28, DeLancey, NY 13752
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