Richard Grossman

Richard Grossman

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    • #4421
      Richard Grossman

      In about 1820 a British labor activist, Francis Place, wrote a rebuttal to Malthus. He wrote that human population did not have to be limited by lack of food (starvation), as Malthus predicted. Place offered an alternative–voluntary family planning for poor people. He wrote handbills with the specifics; this was perhaps the first time that contraceptive knowledge had been made available to working class people.
      I am a follower of Place’s philosophy (although I just learned about Place). I think that, if given access to modern family planning methods, people will voluntarily limit their family size.
      The CHOICE project in Saint Louis shows that women in the USA will chose highly reliable contraception, if given the correct information and cost is not a factor. Already the TFR in the USA is 1.9, significantly lower than the level needed to eventually reach zero population growth.
      Internationally it is estimated that 222 million women would like to limit their fertility voluntarily, but do not have access to the methods. A study by the Futures Group suggests that we would reach zero population growth if these women had access to family planning services.
      As Melinda Gates has said, we need to expand family planning services internationally–and especially in the USA.
      Whether voluntary (democratic) family planning can act fast enough to resolve the population-resource-environment crisis remains to be seen. I am happy to be in the company of other people who are willing to try here at MAHB. Dr. Ehrlich rang the alarm decades ago; I know that he is discouraged about our progress on the subject, but he can be happy that he has a lot of allies now.
      References available by writing me at:

    • #4277
      Richard Grossman

      Well, I haven’t written about MAHB yet, but is still in my mind for the future.
      Below is the article that was published on Sunday in the Durang (Colorado) Herald. You probably already know that empowerment of women is key to smaller family size choice. That empowerment should start early with educating girls.
      Respect Women’s Choices—1-2013
      © Richard Grossman MD, 2013
                                          “What does a woman want?”
                                                                  Sigmund Freud
                  Freud’s question obviously has many answers. Some women are happy with their role as wife and mother, the picture that some men still have of “the perfect woman”.
                  My mother, who was born in 1903, decided her future when she was just eight. She told me that she asked her third grade teacher what they had just read. “That is a story” was the teacher’s reply.
                  “No, what is it called when you study all sorts of stories?”
                  “That’s called ‘literature’.”
                  “When I grow up, I want to teach literature”. And she did for almost 40 years in the Philadelphia Public Schools.
                  She graduated from high school at 16. Her father believed that the woman’s place was in the home, so disapproved of higher education for my mother. Nevertheless, she went through teacher training with no support from her family. She had to be top in her class to receive one of only two scholarships. At age 18 she was teaching a class of 40 fourth graders.
                  During the past century a woman’s role in US society has changed drastically. For instance, when I entered medical school in 1965 there were only six women in my class of 125. Now there are equal numbers of men and women in medical schools. My specialty, OB-GYN, used to be ruled by men but now women make up the preponderance.
                  More important, women increasingly take leadership roles. Whereas males used to preside over politics, we’re seeing more and more women in Denver and Washington. Many captains of industry and of education are now women. Indeed, it was Dr. Dene Thomas, the first female president of Fort Lewis College, who inspired this column.
                  In our country the movement for women’s suffrage started in the late 19th century. Colorado was early in recognizing a woman’s right to vote—in 1893! This movement ended in 1920 with passage of the 19th Amendment to our Constitution. It reads: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”
                  Unfortunately there are still people who think that a woman’s place is at home, and women must be subservient to men. Some candidates in the last election came up with some really stupid statements.
                  “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” As a specialist in reproductive health, I am not sure what “that whole thing” refers to, but I suspect that Mr. Todd Akin was referring to a woman’s ability to conceive.
                  Thirty years ago I investigated a statement in the antiabortion literature. Antiabortion people maintained that women don’t get pregnant from rape. I tracked down this untruth to a statement that 200 women who had been raped were followed and none of them conceived. The man who started this falsehood admitted to me that it had no basis in reality. The reality is that rape often leads to pregnancy.
                  This fall another Republican candidate, Richard Mourdock, said: “When life begins with that horrible situation of rape, that is something that God intended to happen.” Was he implying that God intended the rape to happen?
                  Todd and Murdoch disagree whether rape can result in pregnancy. I cannot agree with either of their attitudes toward women. Neither could 55 % of female voters, according to exit polls at the November election, since a large majority of women voted for Democratic candidates. How could Romney and Ryan tolerate to be associated with these clowns?
                  Fortunately President Obama has recognized the importance of contraception to America’s women. Starting in 2012 all insurance plans must pay for any birth control without copayment. This mandate has the great promise of decreasing our atrociously high rate of unplanned pregnancies, and of slowing growth of our population.
                  Why do women value family planning services? They say that access to contraception allows them to take better care of themselves and of their families, helps them support themselves financially, and permits them to complete their education and to be employable. This information is from a recent survey of over 2000 women using family planning clinics across the country.
                  Barak Obama has just been inaugurated for his second term of office. His popularity confirms that people want a change from archaic concepts of the role of women. We want healthcare for all, freedom to access contraception and, when necessary, safe abortion services.

    • #4263
      Richard Grossman

      Richard, the link in your message is not working; could you please update it?

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