Why would anyone oppose the idea of promoting smaller families? Most people care about the worsening state of our climate, and the rights and welfare of both humans and animals. But many are also aware of the unsettling history of coercive reproductive activities imposed on certain groups and powerless individuals. It is because of that fear that some balk at suggestions to encourage more thoughtful family planning, like policies that encourage smaller families that can invest more time, love, and energy in each child. They would rather avoid the topic entirely.
But that knee-jerk reaction misses the larger picture. Poor family planning is the source of our greatest social and environmental crises, and the genesis of inequity and disempowerment. We cannot claim to be addressing things like anthropogenic climate change, extinction, inequity, and child welfare without targeting the source of those crises, and opening our minds to a whole new way of family planning that involves cooperation, rather than isolation.
The status quo perpetuates inequality and oppression.
We believe we are free in our reproductive decision making. But temporalize your thinking, think of the future child and their relations with others, and things become more morally complex. The truth is, our current system perpetuates oppression by falling far short of providing a fair start in life.
Poverty, inequality, abuse, family instability, low social mobility, poor health, interaction in an unequal criminal justice system, limited access to quality education and opportunities in life – they are passed on, generation to generation. The U.S. has been called the most unequal society in the developed world. Inequality is also rising across the globe as the world population grows exponentially. Without greater family planning investments with citizens and communities working together to ensure a fair start for kids, this unlevel playing field will only continue to worsen. If we are not starting upstream to address this problem we are not dealing with the source of inequity.
Wall Street and faith-based interests already exert massive influence on family planning policy and reproductive choice.
These forces exert their power over lawmakers and other elected officials to shape policies that ensure larger families and higher fertility. Of course we know there are socially conservative groups and the religious right who oppose access to family planning choice and steer the views of so many people in the United States. But few are aware of the role of the capitalism in advancing pro-natalist policies. Economists and corporations largely subscribe to an agenda of infinite economic growth. It’s an agenda that relies on bringing more and more children into the world to fuel a system of workers, consumers, and taxpayers that benefit a small percentage of people at the top in what many have recognized as a Ponzi scheme pyramid. Just look at the many voices like Marco Rubio, who tell Americans that we need to have more kids because “it’s good for the economy”.
Shouldn’t we push back by advocating for policies that put children and the planet before the economy? Who wouldn’t want to improve lives and give citizens a more equitable opportunity to succeed?
It’s About Improving Choice.
We can protect reproductive rights and pursue better family planning. It’s not an either-or proposition. Think of it as choice-plus. Family planning shouldn’t only be about the availability of contraceptives. It should also include education about the benefits to parents and children on delaying parenthood and having smaller families. That’s family planning in the truest sense of term. Why not arm young people with the information to make better choices for their future?
The way to create more inclusive, equitable, and sustainable results for our communities is by encouraging delayed parenthood and smaller families.
Decades of research prove that, bar none, better family planning is the most effective way to increase social mobility and reduce inequality. When parents wait to have kids, they are better positioned to succeed financially and emotionally. When parents choose to have smaller families, there are more resources to go around. Communities and parents can invest more in each child, rather than dividing dollars, time, and attention among many more kids.
Fair Start family planning takes it a step further to shift the unfair distribution of resources from going the top, to the rest of society who needs it to have a fair shot at opportunities to succeed.
The aim of Fair Start family planning is to inform and provide – to strengthen investments, access, education, and resources to reduce inequality, increase inclusiveness, and put communities on a path to a sustainable future.