Friday, August 1, 2008
Last Friday, July 25, 1968, marked the 40th anniversary of the encyclical
of Pope Paul VI banning artificial birth control. Ironically, 1968 was
also the year Paul Ehrlich published The Population Bomb, and Silent
Spring by Rachel Carson (1962) was still fresh in the public mind.
Humanae Vitae was almost totally ignored by Catholics in Europe where the
birth rate now hovers at 2.1, just right to maintain a stable population.
An op-ed in the July 27 Washington Post by a correspondent for the
National Catholic Reporter, describes the births that didn't happen
because of the pill as "rivaling the impact of the Black Death." But
never mind what the women want, the overwhelming support for Humanae Vitae
among the celibate men who are the bishops of the church is seen as
justification, as though irrelevance is a virtue.
Among the parting gifts to the American people by George W. Bush is a
regulation now under review that would deny federal funds to any health-
care facility that does not allow employees to refuse to provide care that
violates their personal convictions. The regulation would classify the
most widely used methods of contraception as "abortion." Because abortion
is legal, the regulation would not outlaw contraceptives, but it would add
a significant obstacle to the easy access to methods of birth control that
are used by 12 million women a year.
It began 15 years ago on Larry King Live; a guest, David Raynard, whose
wife died of brain cancer, "she held it against her head and talked on it
all the time." What more do you need? This week Dr. King was back,
talking about the warning issued by Dr. Herberman, director of the
University of Pittsburg Cancer Center. He based it on one fewer cases
than David Raynard had to go on. WN wrote about it last week. Why did
Ron Herberman, a law abiding immunologist and administrator, who probably
hasn't had a parking ticket in 20 years, decide to flout the conservation
of energy, the most fundamental law of physics?
Last week WN said Einstein won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1905. He did
not, as a number of readers kindly pointed out. That was the year he
published the work. He had to wait another 16 years to be awarded the
prize in 1921.
after his indictment in connection with the Srebrenica massacre and the
deadly siege of Sarajevo, Radovan Karadzic was found with a beard and a
new identity living openly in Belgrade. How could a mass murderer support
himself for 13 years without drawing on his past? No problem. He
practiced alternative medicine, which requires little more than a lack of
scruples. He was fully qualified.