Recently, the Washington Times interviewed CAPS executive director Jo Wideman about population growth. [Should the Government Provide Free Contraceptives to Americans? by Joseph Cotto, October 23, 2013]
One of the variables in slowing population growth is, as Wideman pointed out, family planning. But sensible family planning isn't adequately promoted. Instead, modern American society puts too much romantic emphasis on pregnancy and giving birth but with little discussion of the corresponding difficulty of successfully rearing a child.
Look at recent People Magazine covers with their resplendent photos of new mother Kate Middleton and her son Prince George. For young women who can’t get enough of the royal family, they also could have watched the prince’s christening on a live streaming Internet feed.
Other gossip magazines have declared 2013 the year of the baby boom. Among those Hollywood stars who are either pregnant (see their “baby bumps”!) or who have recently given birth are Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Halle Berry and Jennifer Love Hewitt. Sadly, the media doesn’t give equal time to the challenges of nurturing a baby into a responsible adult.
While young girls are more likely to follow the gossip outlets with the baby news of actresses, young boys likely follow sports, which have a whole lineup of really bad role models. Many former National Basketball and National Football League stars, heroes to some teenagers, have had multiple children with several different women. To name a few: Travis Henry, Denver Broncos, 11 children with 10 women; Calvin Murphy, Houston Rockets, 14 children with 9 women and Jason Caffey, Chicago Bulls, 10 children with 8 different women. Then there’s retired heavyweight boxing champion Evander Holyfield, with 11 children by an unknown number of women.
These athletes are the worst imaginable fathers. In 2009, Henry was arrested for cocaine distribution; five of Holyfield’s daughters accused him of molestation; Caffey was arrested for failure to pay child support.
Even old guys get the “I want a baby” bug. In 2000, at age 66, Larry King, married eight times, became a father again. When Tony Randall was 75, he married a 25-year-old woman with whom he had two children. Clint Eastwood has fathered seven children with five different women, two of whom he married.
One of the interview questions the Times asked was whether free access to contraceptives, including prophylactics, would help stabilize population. I favor all efforts to reduce population; all forms of birth control are at the top of my list. Too bad so many of the rich and famous aren’t more willing to use contraceptives. Having children is easy. But using common sense and considering the dire long-term consequence of overpopulation is beyond the grasp of too many.
Read more about overpopulation and pop culture here in Senior Writing Fellow Leon Kolankiewicz's blog.