I recently had the pleasure of coming in contact with the head of the St. Louis Chapter of the National Organization for Non-Parents, a non-profit organization I’ve touted here before that existed in the 70s-early 80s. She has given me a lot more background on the organization’s great work. In The Baby Matrix, I examine the origins of pronatalism, its negative effects on society today, and discuss why it’s time to move to a post-pronatal society. The more we learn about the people behind NON, the more we see that they were trailblazing this mission. Check out the goals they set out for NON:
1. Eliminate the cultural bias against non-parents.
2. Eliminate the economic pressures that push people in to parenthood.
3. Insure legal equality of non-parents.
4. Call for responsible parenthood by dispelling myths and emphasizing the realities involved in child-raising.
5. Educate the public on the dangers of continued population growth.
6. Encourage “negative” population growth in order to achieve stability as soon as possible.
The Board of Directors, made up of parents and not, passed some bold resolutions as well. For example:
1. For the benefit of individuals, families and the larger community, persons of child-bearing age should be encouraged to to postpone parenthood until age 21 at the earliest, plan intervals of at least three years between marriage and the first child, have just one bio-child, and have other children by adoption or foster care.
2. Childfree adults (Yes, NON was using the term “childfree” long before now) should be treated equitably under the law, including equitable tax treatment. There should be no income tax deductions based on progeny, but deductions should remain for schooling, the elderly and the handicapped.
3. The impact on the poor and working poor of removing income tax deductions for children should be lessened with corresponding corrections in the tax structure for persons within these categories.
4. All forms of birth control, including abortion and voluntary sterilization must be made readily available to all members of society of reproductive age.
5. Women must be accorded every opportunity, economic and otherwise to choose alternatives to motherhood, and discrimination against women must end.
6. Social and economic discrimination against any individual of group of individuals is unacceptable in a free society.
Over forty years ago, the people behind NON knew the negative impacts of reproductive conformity on many levels of society and our world, and were working to educate and inspire needed social change. The Executive Committee and Board of Directors included medical, legal and academic professionals. Ellen Peck, who was on the Executive Committee was a familiar name to me; she was the co-editor of Pronatalism: The Myth of Mom and Apple Pie, which knocked my socks off the first time I read it and helped inspire the writing of The Baby Matrix! The Executive Director was Shirly Radl, a mother and the author of Mother’s Day is Over: The Realities and Rewards of Motherhood Today, which was published in 1987 and sold over 40,000 copies. I am about to start her book.
I will be interviewing the St. Louis Chapter head soon and hopefully others from the NON days. As I learn more about their post-pronatal trailblazing, I will pass on. May we learn from them how to finally and truly transition to a society that sees through and moves past pronatalism.