We reiterate our well wishes to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the announcement of their third child.
This shouldn’t be that hard to understand: all of us at Fair Start Movement simply want the best for all children. Not everyone will choose to switch from traditional models of family planning to the Fair Start model.
But we also need to recognize what it means when we reinforce the old model – either by our example, by our argument, or by our silence.
The Fair Start Movement Fair Start model prioritizes children getting a fair start in life. That’s right – the children of poor families in the United Kingdom deserve the same level of nutrition, health care, and education as Prince William and Kate’s third child. This should be their birthright – and ignoring in the past it has helped create the fatal chasm between rich and poor today.
The Independent notes: “While you celebrate the third royal baby, remember all of the women in Britain who aren’t allowed a third child: It’s an unhappy coincidence that the announcement of a third royal baby comes in the same year the Government deems third babies a luxury not every family has earned.” It is a great insight into the disparities built into our current society – the Royals set an example that the rest of us can’t afford to follow.
And for all those who try to follow the Royal example, who will pay for the third children?
If family planning stays a free-for-all, with the broader society expected to pay for every child, we will continue to have an unsolvable problem. This illustrates the problem with our current privatized family planning model: it creates a domino effect of larger families imitating one another, leading to more needy kids without the resources for their own children. This continues the cycle, and brings with it rising social and environmental costs.
It is a Sophie’s choice: Parents choose to have more kids, and society either pays the costs, or kids end up paying by not getting what they need and deserve.
Our short-sighted approach to family planning has broader implications as well.
Many of you were startled to see our discussion of William and Kate appear next to our survey regarding parents who abused their child with a stun gun and forced him/her to eat dog feces. The Royal discussion was also alongside our blog about limiting the right of members of Boko Haram to have kids after these parents offered up children to be used as child bombs.
What is the connection? All this follows from the old, subjective family planning model of personal and private choice.
Focusing only on the “rights” of parents is the argument lawyers use to make sure anyone can have more kids – no matter how the children suffer. Many of us implicitly endorse this view. After all, if the Royal family’s family planning is none of anyone’s business, then other parents’ decision making is also none of anyone’s business.
If we put parents’ rights ahead of the rights of future kids, we get horrible abuse and child bombs, and no logical way to say anything against these outcomes.
What else do we get? Look at this chart.
There is no doubt that if the average parent plans smaller families, where we work together to ensure every child gets a fair start in life, you and your kids’ future will be less crowded, cleaner, and safer. If we continue on our current path, we get the opposite.
Who would knowingly choose to subject their kids to a hotter, more crowded, more polluted, and more dangerous world?
How can the future of the world not be our business? Don’t we have a right and the duty to make the future better for our kids? The only way we can improve our future – and everyone else’s – is if family planning becomes a topic we can all discuss honestly.
The solution is a child-first family planning model – an approach that balances all the values at stake in family planning. Let’s switch to that, and step out of the horrible cycle we’ve created for so many children.
Please be a part of this work today at HavingKids.org