TIME magazine December 22, 2008, p. 70 has an article on birth control for women. The device is a small coil placed in each of the woman’s Fallopian tubes. It is reported to be inexpensive as it requires only local anesthetic, takes only a few minutes in a gynecologist’s office and requires no recovery time. About 700,000 American women choose to have their tubes tied each year which requires surgery and a hospital stay. This new procedure appears to be a much better option in every way but one—it is non-reversible so the woman must be very sure she will never want more children before choosing this procedure. The brand name is Essure® is currently available and a new one called Adiana® will probably be out soon.
In the blog How to maximize humanity’s happiness a theory was developed for maximizing the total number of human hours of life as being the ultimate measure of happiness. Total life is a simple measure but without life there is no possibility for happiness. The idea postulates a mere 12,000 years for humanity’s civilized future because that puts us about halfway through our adventure. Some other number could have been chosen but that seemed about right for making this kind of estimate.
When thinking in this long of a term many things become apparent, such as the oil reserves which we presently depend on will not last that long. Generally speaking a hundred and twenty years is the longest we can hope for and then some other source of energy must replace oil. If we accept those estimates then it becomes obvious that our oil reserves will only last one one-hundredth of the hoped for human civilization potential. There are many other problems which may limit humanity: see a list at, Coming disasters might combine for worse effects. So, if civilization as we know it is going to survive a new source of energy must be found.
But, over population is the ultimate problem. There are two paths which humanity could choose to take, the current one of reproducing maximally and burning up the planet within the lifetimes of people now living or the second choice—to limit the population to some much smaller and much more sustainable number and living for a much longer time.
The only way for that smaller number to be achieved is by every woman accepting some form of birth control. If after there was a sustainable population if every woman was limited to two children the population would remain stable. There would be some exceptions of course, but on average two children per woman.
This goal is now technically achievable with the advent of these new birth control methods and all that is required is a world wide political will to accept this solution and to promulgate it. The rewards for humanity of everyone being given the likelihood of a long life and best of what the world has to offer would seem to imply that this is the path which we should choose. Limiting each woman to two children doesn’t seem like much of a sacrifice.
Support universal birth control.