As the Zika virus spreads and thousands of severely disabled children continue to be born, many are asking why the world is not better prepared. Last week, in a letter published in the New York Times, Having Kids suggested one answer. Traditional models of parenting that isolate parents and treat the act of having kids as an entirely personal matter push directly against society collectively deciding when and in what conditions to bring children into the world. These models have left us unable to help women avoid pregnancies, even in the face of a crisis we should easily be able to avoid. How is it possible that we cannot work together to collectively decide, as a global community, to delay pregnancy in the face of a future generation that will suffer for our inaction? The truth is that collective decision-making about having kids is something the world hasn’t done well – and now, when we really need to do it, we are unable.
What’s the solution? Having Kids moves us from a model that says “you can’t talk about this” to one that asks how we can work together to solve problems. It’s the model that should have been in place before the Zika epidemic. It’s the model that would have helped us face this crisis as a united community, making decisions about the well-being of our future children together. By promoting smaller families working together to invest more in each child, our model focuses on bringing children into the world with a minimum level of well-being and equal opportunities in life. And it doesn’t just help people: It helps heal nature and our ailing democracies. Let’s start to face Zika by changing the way the world thinks about having kids.