Quality of letters questioned by reader

Letter writer needs to get facts straight around population control

Re: Much admired Uruguayan leader sets bad precedent (Letters, March 22)

Gregory Hartnell doesn’t seem to understand the differences between sustainability, birth control and eugenics. In his letter, he encourages us to be confused about the words, too.

The dictionary defines eugenics as “a science that deals with the improvement (as by control of human mating) of hereditary qualities of a race or breed.”

While eugenics does usually imply a kind of forced population control, which sounds quite scary, examples of how it is practiced these days are quite varied.

Arranged marriages, apartheid, the caste system and ethnic cleansing – all can be considered “code for eugenics.” Forced population control is very different from making abortion free, legal, safe and accessible.

Why is it a surprise to anyone that “greens” are also in favour of legal, safe and accessible birth control? People are the biggest cause of climate change, so fewer (unwanted) children is one (and not the only) way to slow the environmental damage we are already causing in this world.

Even if someone who is green happens to also be in favour of birth control, why is this an issue? Making a statement like “green is code for eugenics” makes Mr. Hartnell sound like another right-wing, anti-abortion, anti-environmentalist from the U.S.

Can’t you be a little more selective with your letters?

Alan Johnson

Victoria