Think “reproductive freedom” and what comes to mind?  Birth control?  Abortion-on-demand?  The freedom, in short, not to reproduce while indulging in the activity specifically designed for reproduction?

What I’m thankful for is the inverse.

My generation grew up in the days of Ehrlich’s The Population Bomb and fears that the world would outgrow its food supply by the mid-1980s.  It was seriously suggested that giving aid to distressed peoples was morally wrong, on the grounds that helping them now would only enable them to reproduce and then more people would starve to death later.

(It was also seriously suggested that we spread dirt on the polar ice cap to help counteract the global cooling that was threatening our environment, but that’s a different issue.)

I think today’s generation will not believe the societal pressure there was back then to have no more than two children.  If you’ve read Ender’s Game, think what it was like to be a “Third” in that society:  Having a third child was nearly as bad here.  I remember a friend who hoped for twins her second pregnancy, on the grounds that that was the only way she could have more than two children without having scorn heaped upon her.  Families with “extra” kids were clearly irresponsible and incompetent at birth control.

Nowadays many have decided that they like the one to one parent/child ratio—so many, in fact, that the birth rate in some countries has fallen below the replacement level—but  there’s a lot more choice going into that decision than there was in our day.  That’s a good thing.

An even better thing?  That some families now feel free to enjoy three, four, or even many more children.

The best thing?  In my case, more grandchildren!

For them, I’m especially thankful.

Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, November 16, 2010 at 6:22 am | Edit
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