Valley Voices

Mike Starry: Contraception addresses love, climate change, overpopulation

Mike Starry
Mike Starry The Fresno Bee

Sept. 26, World Contraception Day, reminds me of two problems.

First, one of the hardest parts of teaching school for me was coming into contact with unloved children. I am not talking about children having a bad day at home and taking it out on me or teenagers suffering from hormone rushes to the brain. I simply mean children who were not wanted, loved or cared for at home. Sometimes it seemed like several students a week had no sense of any future for themselves and definitely no joy or hope. Some of the girls’ relatives sexually molest them.

Please do not ask a school teacher about the unloved children they teach. It really is a heartbreaker. Most teen girls know that their No. 1 answer to the question, “Why did you get pregnant?” is “I wanted someone to love me.”

Unwanted pregnancies can ruin lives. Thirty percent of all teen girls who drop out of school cite pregnancy and parenthood. Two-thirds of families started by teens are poor. One-fourth will depend on welfare within three years of a child’s birth. Two-thirds of children born to teen mothers earn a high school diploma.

Only 40 percent of teen mothers finish high school. Fewer than 2 percent finish college by age 30. Women who give birth while attending community college are 65 percent less likely to complete their degrees than those who do not have children during that time. Children of teen mothers are usually not ready for school, and are more likely than children born to older mothers to drop out of high school.

This year the National Conference of State Legislatures produced a “State Policy Options” statement regarding sex education including these recommendations.

▪  Incorporate teen pregnancy prevention into state efforts to reduce the dropout rate and improve educational attainment.

▪  Educate community college students about the importance of pregnancy planning for college success and completion through orientation, first-year experience, academic courses, service learning or other student-led activities.

▪  Develop access to online courses, flexible scheduling and other services to help young mothers earn their high school diplomas or GEDs.

▪ Make full and effective use of federal funding for teen pregnancy prevention through the Personal Responsibility Education Program, Title V Abstinence Education Program, and the Pregnancy Assistance Fund. In 2010, 17 states received pregnancy assistance grants to support pregnant and parenting teens and women with continuing their education. That should be effective in all 50 states.

My second reminder on World Contraception Day is that it is clear that global overpopulation is the No. 1 cause of global warming.

Today, world leaders should champion the mass use of contraception if we want any hope for the future.

Today, I ask Pope Francis the following moral question, “As the main cause of global warming is the CO2 pollution caused by humans in a world overpopulated by humans, say compared to the world 200 years ago, why do you not champion the mass use of contraceptive technology to reduce the number of people on the planet before we make ourselves extinct?”

In fact, on World Contraception Day, I ask all of you to champion the mass use of contraceptive technology to reduce the number of people on the planet before we make ourselves extinct. We better hurry up and get serious.

Mike Starry is a resident of Fresno and a retired librarian.