inaccurate. Nowhere in his speech did Prince Charles say that "population control alone will solve most of the planet's problems".
Quite the contrary. He said that "we will not protect the environment until we address the issues of population growth and poverty in the same breath".
Relieving world-wide poverty means educating women and giving them access to work at 1, fair wage and access to health care, including family spacing advice. All this will slow population growth.
According to the latest UN Population Fund report, 300 million women in developing countries cannot get the safe and effective health and contraceptive advice they want. Nine out of ten women surveyed wished to space their pregnancies two or more years apart and have fewer children.
These statistics are confirmed by the fact that in many poor countries half the hospital beds contain women suffering the horrific effects of botched abortions. If women were able to
control birth spacing and avoid very early pregnancy. maternal mortality could be cut in half. Child mortality. according to this year's UN Populaiton Fund report could be reduced by 24%.
Women in developing countries should demand these basic rights which are available to any woman in the first world.
This demand is far removed from the concept of enforced or imposed "mass population control programmes" which your Leader rightly decries. But you fall into the common trap of confusing women's health needs with "topdown", enforced population programmes.
Of course the West should feel guilty about over-consumption and about our huge contribution towards global warming, and we should urgently do something about it.
But common sense is stood on its head by suggesting that family planning programmes are somehow a diversion from solving other global problems.
As the Prince says. both should be tackled in the same breath.
Dr Dorothy Logie Melrose
THE Prince, in publicly (albeit indirectly) rapping the Pope's knuckles (Catholic Herald, May 1) seems to forget that there is a clear divide between what belongs to Caesar and what belongs to God.
No Vatican pronouncement has ever come from Rome to criticise Princesses Anne and Margaret for their divorces or the Prince's brother and sister-in-law for breaking up their sacred union.There have never been, unless I am much mistaken, indirect allegations from the Vatican that the various Royal households ought to clean up their act.
So why does Prince Charles attempt to dictate Rome's agenda at the Rio summit?
The Prince's snide reference to Catholic belief in the right to life is particularly offensive when seen against the facts and figures available on the issue of Third World population growth, Where there is poverty. children are seen as weapons to battle hunger. A child, however small. is often entrusted, front India to Sudan, with wageearning or farm-improving jobs such as carrying water. collecting manure, seeding.
Westerners may see an "unwanted" offspring where Africans and Asians see the insurance against a multitude of potential woes, from dying crops to old age infirmity.
We who are more fortunate and who have the luxury to choose so much that we do are we in any position to run the lives of people whose religious and cultural mores and whose economic situation is so different from our own?
Does Prince Charles feel that he has any greater understanding of what ails the Third World than the Catholic hierarchy does?
If so, perhaps he ought to leave Highgrove for a Sudanese refugee camp, or enroll as a volunteer in an Oxfam Third World programme where he could roll up his sleeves and make a difference.
John Paul II, after all, has lived. worked and met people in the real world. I'm not sure we could say the same about Prince Charles.
We may all be more ready to listen to the Prince's sermons about what's right and what's wrong with the Vatican agenda for the Earth Summit in June once we feel he knows what he is talking of.
Anne Chester London