Endangered species? Print
Written by Mary C. Uhler, editor   
Thursday, May. 06, 2010 -- 12:00 AM

One definition of an endangered species is “a population of organisms which is at risk of becoming extinct because it is either few in numbers, or threatened by changing environmental or predation parameters.”

We usually don’t think about people as an endangered species. In fact, we seem to hear more about overpopulation than whether we have enough human beings in the world.

editor's view by Mary C. Uhler

Birth and fertility rates declining

But in doing some research, I found that birth and fertility rates for people are expected to continue to decline in the next 50 years throughout the world. This is proving to be an item of concern and policy for a number of national governments. Some, including those of Italy and Malaysia, are seeking to increase the national birth rate using measures such as financial incentives or support services to new mothers.

Conversely, other countries have policies to reduce the birth rate, for example, China’s one child policy. That policy, in effect, has made children — especially girls (since many families prefer having a son) — an endangered species. It will be interesting to see what happens in the future in China with fewer women than men.

In our own country, some couples are postponing having children — and some don’t want children at all. Some women who become pregnant opt to have an abortion rather than carry the baby to term. Sadly, there are parents who desperately want a baby and would be willing to adopt an unwanted child.

Encouraging children and families

As we prepare to celebrate Mother’s Day on May 9, we might consider what we can do to encourage couples to have children and to assist pregnant women and families.

There are efforts already in place in our communities which need our support. In the Madison area, we are fortunate to have Catholic Charities, CareNet Pregnancy Center, and Pregnancy Helpline, Inc. offering education and support services for pregnant women and families. Some Catholic parishes have started Elizabeth Ministries, providing friendship, mentoring, and support to pregnant women and families with young children.

In the Madison area, the March of Dimes, St. Mary’s Hospital, Zeta Phi Beta sorority, and Dean Health Plan recently announced a new and improved Stork’s Nest, a free program available to pregnant women delivering babies at St. Mary’s Hospital. The program supports and nurtures young mothers by providing early prenatal education. Call 608-229-8500 to register or for information.

Pro-life prayer and witness

Pro-life organizations also witness to the sanctity of all human life starting at conception. Vigil for Life has saved hundreds of unborn children by praying and witnessing outside abortion clinics across the country. One family in Madison will be celebrating its first Mother’s Day this year thanks to the intervention of a “prayer warrior” during the Vigil for Life. Their son was spared from abortion and was born in April of this year.

Volunteers are needed to continue weekly prayer vigils in Madison to end late-term abortion plans at the Madison Surgery Center. The vigils are held at the Madison Surgery Center on Tuesdays at 8:30 a.m. and at Planned Parenthood on Thursdays at 4 p.m. See for more details.

As we observe Mother’s Day this year, we should thank all mothers for saying “yes” to life and nurturing their children. Consider giving a donation of time, money, and/or prayer in the name of your mother. Do your part to help make sure human beings are not added to the endangered species list.