Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

October 17, 2013

A new front opens on family planning

By Maria Fotopoulos
The Daily Iowegian

---- — Jonathan Stack has been making documentaries for 25 years, and his latest film project, “The Vasectomist,” has led him to one conclusion. “There’s no issue more important than the one we’re working on now — population on the planet,” he says.

“In fact, if you think of everything — global warming, war, poverty — every single issue you can think of is made all the more complicated because of population. It all comes down to human beings.”

So to build awareness about the impacts of too many people and to promote population stabilization, Stack is leading a bold new campaign to promote vasectomies, launching with World Vasectomy Day, Oct. 18.

Birth control so often ends up being “the responsibility” of females, but Stack is calling for men to step up and shoulder more responsibility for family planning. A vasectomy is an operation that makes men infertile and is the most efficient form of contraception currently available. The procedure is simple, generally requiring only 10 to 30 minutes, and side effects are rare.

Billed as the largest male-oriented global family planning event ever, the plan for WVD is to perform 1,000 vasectomies across 25 countries in 24 hours. Anchoring WVD is an event at the Royal Institution of Australia in Adelaide, which will include a live stream so people around the world can see Dr. Doug Stein (profiled in the aforementioned documentary) perform vasectomies and field audience questions about the procedure. Joining Stein will be academics and activists, including renowned populationist Paul Ehrlich of Stanford University, to discuss the future of the planet and the role of overpopulation.

Stack believes that for men who don’t want to have more children, having a vasectomy is the best way for men to be responsible to themselves, their families and the world. “We don’t need 1 billion more people on this planet,” he says. “We need to take better care of the 7 billion we already have.”

“For too long, people have stopped talking about population on the planet,” says Stack. “We’ve got to start dealing with the truth. There’s not one problem that we face on the planet that’s going to be easier to solve with more people.”

Stack’s thinking mirrors the late Dr. Al Bartlett, physics professor at Colorado University, who asked: “Can you think of any problem on any scale, from microscopic to global, whose long-term solution is in any way aided, assisted or advanced by having larger populations at the local level, state level, nationally or globally? Can you think of anything that will get better if we crowd more people into our towns, cities, states, nations or world?”

Maria Fotopoulos is a Senior Writing Fellow for Californians for Population Stabilization. This column has been edited by the author. Representations of fact and opinions are solely those of the author.