For those who don’t know, ethical issues tend to interest me a great deal. So, I was intrigued when I saw this post discussing the ethics of procreation.
It’s quite common knowledge that, in order for societies to survive at the same population level, you need a replacement birth rate of 2.1 children per woman. For society to grow, you need a higher rate. If you have a lower rate, then society will shrink.
Iran, according to the editorial, is shrinking and there’s concern the government’s 14-point plan to improve the child birth rate will be carried out in a way that oppresses women.
That would be unfortunate (oppressive policies, that is; more children for people who want more children is great, usually). But, as we all know, this is no the first time that a government has put into place reproductive policies. The most famous of those is probably China, with it’s one child rule, to curb population growth.
Government does have an interest in making sure it’s society thrives and continues, so population is something they should think about and influence. Most countries have immigration policies, which is one way they can influence overall population. But, when it comes to procreation by citizens, how far should they go. Incentivizing is certainly an option. The US Congress loves to incentivize behavior with the tax code. What about laws? Does legislating procreation go too far?
In my novel Life First, society feels quite strongly about preserving life in the wake of pandemics that killed off a huge chunk of society. For that society, having multiple children is expected. It’s how they plan to rebuild. It drives their policy on everything from abortion to mandatory organ donation. The novel touches slightly on this notion, when I mention that Kelsey’s father is a bit of a political maverick who has ascended to the higher ranks despite the fact that he only had one child. I don’t touch on it a lot in later books, but it’s noticeable that the other families in the books (Rob’s, Luke’s, Susan’s*) are all larger broods. Clearly, it’s not legislated in the future I’ve built in Life First, but more childbirths are expected than less.
So, what are your thoughts on legislating society’s procreative habits? A good thing? Or not the government’s business? If the government does get involved in asking for more children, what responsibility does the government have to pay for the care and feeding of those children? If it asks for fewer children, should it be concerned about the impact of what a nation of single-child households does to society?
UPDATE: I saw this article on China’s one-child policy that was interesting and touched on the infanticide Charles Ray mentioned in his comment: http://www.indcatholicnews.com/news.php?viewStory=24859
*Life First readers are asking themselves, “Isn’t Susan an orphan?” Yes, she is, but by her family, I meant her uncle Mike and aunt, who raised her and had children of their own. They ended up with Susan not just because Susan’s mother was Mike’s favorite sister, but because he had the fewest children at the time her parents perished. Therefore he was the logical choice to take her in. Multiple children are great in theory, but they also require mounds of resources.