Whenever I begin to think through various social problems, at some point I find myself face to face with the fact that if we had less people our problems would be fewer. Just numerically it stands to reason that if fewer people need health services, education, food, transportation, jobs, fulfilling these needs would be easier.

And yet, there are no political leaders who are willing to stand for what I see as an overriding necessity. The reason all the old conservatives long for “the good old days” is because things were simpler then — WE HAD A LOT FEWER PEOPLE!

We have made a lot of strides forward scientifically. Health care, although cumbersome and expensive, is better. We are curing diseases and coming up with procedures that extend life and make the quality of life better. Scientific advancements have helped us increase the food supply and we are beginning to make some of the difficult decisions that help us preserve our natural resources.

Information and media is omnipresent and nearly omniscient — good or bad it is a step in global communication. We know a lot more about what we know and what we don’t know. We have access to information that is unprecedented.

But we still we have children that are not being taken care of. We allow underage, sick, drug addicted women to give birth to children they have no hope of taking care of physically, mentally or emotionally. Then we expect the schools to make up for children who can’t learn because their health care and nutrition is so poor. And we wonder why so many of these children become drug addicted offenders and clog our outdated and inadequate penal systems. They were doomed from the start.

Ask any astute teacher and chances are she will tell you that she can spot who will and won’t be a contributing citizen as early as kindergarten. The signs are all there, but we keep thinking we will beat the odds.

Some do beat the odds. Some kids find mentors and sponsors who assist them out of the gloom and doom of poverty. Some children with disabilities overcome many obstacles and lead productive lives. But, why do we think this is heroic? Is it not better to eliminate the need for such heroics?

I had my first child at 39 years of age. I had all pre-natal tests available. I was an educated, employed professional who was married to an educated, employed professional, and we knew that we could not risk trying to raise a disabled child. We knew we could not make that sacrifice and we were honest enough to say that we did not want to. Is this selfish? I think it is more selfish to bring a child into the world with a lot of strikes against him.

Birth control and genetic engineering are nearly at the point where this DOES NOT NEED TO HAPPEN. Babies do not need to be born to crack-head mothers. The public can have the will to stop funding this behavior.

If you don’t have the resources – time, money maturity – to care for children — you should not have them. And, if you have children anyway, the public is not obligated to assist you. Public resources should be available to assist all parents who can work with health care professionals and educators to ensure the best for growing children.

Several years ago I met a nurse from California who told me that she had established a small foundation. In her work as a pediatric nurse, she often was involved with crack addicted mothers and babies. Her foundation provided funds for these mothers to be sterilized, have their tubes tied. She paid for the procedure and she paid them to do it. In this way she felt she made a difference. At least these same women would not be back giving birth to another addicted baby. People I tell this story to are horrified. We have no right! But who really cares more for those afflicted babies?

As in most things preventative action is the best way to deal with a problem. Don’t bring unwanted children into the world. Take the pill. If you can’t remember, get a patch or an IUD or get your tubes tied. We should not only provide birth control, we should encourage it and, in some cases make it mandatory. We have to. Where are all the fundamentalists who protect the rights of the fetus when the needy child is actually here, living, walking around. That’s real life! That’s real pro life!

We are living longer and the population explosion is also at the other end of life. Here too we must have the will to stop prolonging life that has no quality. A friend’s dad took his son aside after landing in the hospital and said, “No more tests.” He was in his 80’s, he knew he was failing. He was ready. Yet, conservatives warn of “death squads” and scared older people shudder.

Save our resources for those who can best use them to make the world a better place and make the world a better place by eliminating some things that do not need to be. We have the way — we need the will!