I had the pleasure to be on Minnesota Public Radio this week, along with Bryan Caplan, the author of Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids. The title of The Daily Circuit’s program was, “Is It Immoral to Have Children?” We did not really get to the answer to this question directly, but there was good discussion on a host of things related to the parenthood decision. A variety of people called in with their opinions, stories and questions. The Daily Circuit site also did a poll (which can be seen at the end of the comments on the site), and I was pleasantly surprised at its results. The poll was:
Should would-be parents consider the societal impact of children?
75 % said Yes to the statement: They have an obligation to consider how their children will affect others.
25% said No to the statement: It’s purely a personal decision.
“Affecting others” can include things like: the impacts of adding to a population that arguably already threatens the planet’s finite resources, adding the carbon emissions that come with bringing another consumer onto the planet, and affecting already existing brothers and sisters (e.g., can the parents afford to bring another child into their family?).
During the program I touched on what might happen if more would-be parents took how bringing more biological children into the world will affect others when making decisions about children. One outcome could be a mindset change about adoption–a change from being seen as the “last option” to a choice that is more highly valued than pronatalism’s mantra that “biology is best.”
Putting highest value on caring for those already here over having to have one’s “own” child would help squelch myths about adoption, and help the adoption system become even effective. Also, if more parents decided to have the experience of parenthood through adoption, and more adopted children found parents to raise them, the world would be saved from the carbon wake that comes with every new biological child.
This poll could be an indication that more people than not see the societal impact of children. What do you think–would more people say “Yes” than “No” to this question? What is your answer?