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Social commentator David Leonhardt is right when he says the teenagers recently killed in Florida “had the misfortune of growing up — of trying to grow up — in a country that didn’t care enough about their lives.”

He’s also right when he connects the shooting to the seemingly unrelated issue of infant mortality rates in the United States.

But he might have taken the next logical step, and connected our disvaluing children back to the source – to the dominant parent-first family planning model in the United States, one that allows politicians to openly promote the use of tax incentives to urge women to have more children, children who will serve as workers, consumers and taxpayers to inflate our economy. How can we value children when we will bring them into the world for those reasons, irrespective of the conditions in which they will be born, of whether they will get a fair start in life relative to their peers, and regardless of the impact our collective family planning decisions have on the environment they will inherit?

The problem Mr. Leonhardt recognizes begins further back in time – in the way we choose to bring children into the world. How do we change that? We can move away from a family planning model that puts parents before kids, towards one that is child first. That change can also begin at the local level. Start the change in your community today.

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