Dear Senator Booker,
We are excited for your new “baby bonds” legislation, and hope it succeeds.
But the truth is the larger forms of family policy you and all of us simply accept ensure more and more animals are subjected to suffering and slaughter, many other species are wiped out, the gap between rich and poor widens, children are robbed of their potential because we do not invest in them, and each person has less of a say in their political systems – turning town halls where many rule to shopping malls where few rule. They guarantee children are tortured to death by their own parents. These policies have created the political space for the reemergence of abortion and contraception bans, and enable influencers in media to openly push women to have more children to grow economies.
There is however a way to fix all of this.
Under this new approach Congress would have no authority to reject your legislation, or better yet to reject a more radical version of it that ensures true equity, not nominal equality. This is an argument that transcends reliance on written constitutions or even international law.
This is the argument: Nations are not magically constituted in the past, but either constituting inclusive democracies or not, depending on the laws and policies that surround having children. If those laws and policies ensure minimum levels of welfare in the birth and development, at least begin to ensure equality of opportunity, restore the climate and biodiversity using ecocentric approaches, and treat the addition of each new person to our nation as inverse to the absolute self-determination of people already here, those laws and policies are constituting legitimate societies.
If we wish to maximize relative self-determination, where else would we find that value but family reforms? There is nowhere else.
An easy proxy for all of this might be the Children’s Rights Convention – and pegging family planning to it to ensure birth and development conditions consistent with it. We can also think of it in terms of a new vision of Roe v. Wade.
If nations do not do this, they are constituting something other than democracy.
Moreover, these truly democratic laws and policies must override all conflicting interests, if we take freedom and democracy seriously. They come first.
This new model – where we take human rights and their ability to limit governmental authority – could present a difficult choice. It will mean abandoning the privacy model of family planning based on the Cairo Consensus as a failure that helped ensure the climate crisis and massive inequity, though it was the model we all relied upon. And it’s a pro-growth model many of your wealthiest funders made a lot of money on.
But the upside would be a better vision of and argument for reproductive freedom, and one that does not rely on a system of government that long ago undercut it’s own authority to rule. And if we choose the override model, there are incremental ways short of all out revolution to guarantee that we constitute legitimate – by which we mean simply inclusive – democracies.
The alternative would be for everyday citizens, like the our members, to simply wait for Congress to mitigate the climate crisis, and protect and ensure the development of the children who will comprise our future, while watching Congress operate in total attenuation from its constituents, and amid widening inequity that empowers some at cost to others.
Free people would not be willing to do that. We are not willing to do that.
The Team at FairStartMovement.org