Birth Control

Birth Control

© Eric R. Pianka

Let us now consider birth control. With the support of Margaret Sanger, birth control pills based on the hormone progesterone were first invented and tested in 1954 by endocrinologist Gregory Pincus and John Rock. Pincus and Rock rightfully should have won the Nobel Prize for this important discovery, which came in time to control burgeoning human populations before we reached overshoot. Compared to alternatives such as war, famine, or pandemics, birth control is certainly the most humane way to control runaway human population growth.

"The pill" was approved for contraception by the US FDA in 1960 and despite considerable controversy, became widely used by American women during the early 1960's. Birth control was legalized by the Supreme Court in 1972 for all American citizens, irrespective of marital status. In 1967, Planned Parenthood was charged with committing genocide by providing the controversial pill to poor minority neighborhoods. An anti-pill campaign based on putative health risks followed and sales fell. A second generation of new birth control pills and implants, including Lybrel, Norplant, Ocella, Seasonale, Yaz, and Yazmin, among others, ensued along with IUDs. Half a century after FDA approval, thousands of lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies are pending based on alleged detrimental side effects. Alas, birth control wasn't adopted or practiced widely enough to head off overpopulation and we humans quickly exceeded sustainable densities. Once again, we missed our chance to ease into a stationary world.

LA Times article on impediments to family planning


In centuries past, a woman unmarried, childless, was barren and unfulfilled. Nulliparous, unable to secure a mate and companion. Embittered, eliminated by Darwin's sexual selection.

Yet just as surely, those who succeed at mating and reproduction are victims of society and the insidious forces of Darwinian selection, too.

But now, fully emancipated, on stands unfettered by the bonds of her culture and the shackles of natural selection. Freed from the desire to have children, she can follow a different lifeline.

Not defiant, not at all. Simply confident and sure of herself -- a spinster, and proud of it, too!


Another solution is theoretically possible. I call it the "Johnny Anti-Appleseed Solution." -- Instead of being cursed with our fertility, I would bless us with infertility. Now this could happen naturally with male sperm counts falling because of the many estrogen mimics in plastics. I asked a reproductive physiologist years ago about this. I said, "could you design a molecule that you could administer once that would turn off reproduction and make people sterile?" And he said, "yes, theoretically." And I said, "well, if you did that, could you design an antidote that would unmask it just briefly for a few seconds?" And he said, "yes, probably." So this is what we need. We need to sterilize everybody on the Earth and make the antidote freely available to anybody who's willing to work for it. Immediately you'd get responsible parenthood, no more juvenile delinquents, or unwanted kids. If you wanted to have a child, you had to work, and you had only a few seconds to do it in.

Read LA Times article on impediments to family planning

Download essay on Human Fecundity

Download Weber's "Healing the Earth"