Magazine article The Humanist

Worth Noting

Magazine article The Humanist

Worth Noting

Article excerpt

* After a decade as the sole distributors of the sterilization pill quinacrine, Stephen Mumford and Elton Kessel are finally being recognized for their efforts to reduce the ballooning growth in world population. The two contraception researchers have been distributing the inexpensive and easy-to-use pill in developing countries where fertility rates are as much as twice that of the United States, maternal mortality rates as much as eight times higher, and infant mortality rates as much as ten times higher.

However, a captious front-page feature in the June 18, 1998, Wall Street Journal seems more interested in discrediting Mumford and Kessel than applauding how much success they've had on a relatively small budget. Headlined "Population Bomb, Two Americans Export Sterilization to the Third World, More than 100,000 Women Undergo Procedure; Cancer Risk Is Feared, Secret Doings in Vietnam," the WSJ story focuses mainly on possible and unsubstantiated side effects of the pill, opposition to its use, and cases of possible abuse by foreign medical personnel. It also makes repeated mention of where the sole supply of quinacrine is located, almost begging sterilization opponents to act.

The United Nations Population Fund said in September that world population will continue to grow by over 80 million a year for at least the next decade.

* The Senate in September sustained President Clinton's second veto of the so-called partial birth abortion ban (see "The `Partial-Birth' Debate in 1998" in the March/April Humanist). By a vote of sixty-four to thirty-six, all senators maintained their previously stated positions on the ban.

* The American Civil Liberties Union has launched the National Freedom Scorecard to reveal the frequency of congressional attacks on the Constitution. Calling it a powerful new tool to help hold politicians accountable, the scorecard (available on the web at score card. …

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