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The Decline of Motherhood

I know this seems like an odd topic considering tomorrow is Mother's Day, but in many places all over the world, mothers are disappearing and fast. Our world faces an uncertain future as more and more countries have death rates that out pace birth rates as more women choose not to become mothers or simply can't become mothers. Today Margret Kopala has a very interesting piece in the Ottawa Citizen that addresses Canada's declining birth rate. These are her first few paragraphs:

Hiking along the northern reaches of British Columbia's Sunshine Coast last week, my sister and I passed by the home of a woman recently taken by cancer. As dignified deaths go, it was exemplary. Predeceased by her husband, her care was assumed in turns by her four grown children. She died peacefully, surrounded by them and her beloved ocean views.

For the generation that's brought Canada's fertility rate to below replacement levels, such idylls can only become increasingly rare. With 1.5 children per couple, our best hope is a quiet death in a clean facility where the immigrant workers speak our language. And that's only the human face of demographic decline. The economic face is hardly more appealing: unfilled labour markets, reduced GDP and no tax revenues to pay for health care -- to name a few.

Canada isn't the only country in this predicament. According to America Alone, Mark Steyn's self-described and penetrating rant on "demography, Islam and civilizational exhaustion," the developed world has gone from 30 per cent to 20 per cent of global population. Greece has 1.3 births per couple -- the "lowest low" from which no society has ever recovered; Russia, where 60 per cent of pregnancies are terminated, has the fastest-growing rate of HIV in the world and, by 2050, 60 per cent of Italians will have no brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts or uncles. In the developed world, only the United States, with a 2.1 birth rate, is replacing itself.

How did it come to this? In Canada, one answer is infertility. This affects one in every 15 Canadian couples (in Britain one in six are affected), who spend some $30 million a year on in-vitro fertilization alone. Defined as failure to conceive after one year of trying, infertility can result from many factors affecting both males and females, but according to the government of Canada's Biobasics website, the two biggest factors are delayed childbearing and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

When I read that last sentence the first thing I thought of was radical feminism. In the 60's and 70's, it was radical feminism that said women should focus only on their careers and forget kids. It was also radical feminism that lamented the fact men engaged in free sex with out any commitments while women were encouraged to be pure and chaste until marriage. So the feminists insisted that true equality meant women should engage in free sex too. And it was the feminists fought for abortion rights, so if a woman got pregnant she could just abort the baby and move on. Radical feminists declared that by eschewing marriage, children, and even monogamy, women would be more fulfilled and happy. What a big, fat lie. Instead of fulfillment, what has this agenda begotten?

Today, mothers giving birth average 29.5 years of age. Since women are born with a given number of eggs that decline in quality and quantity from the age of 30, it is no surprise that for the growing proportion of 30-plus women attempting pregnancy, it is much more difficult to conceive and carry a child.

Compounding the problem, earlier and increased sexual activity means a greater likelihood for contracting gonorrhea or chlamydia. In women, pelvic inflammatory disease and, in turn, blocked fallopian tubes or ectopic pregnancy may result. In men, sterility is possible. According to healthyontario.com, rates of STD infection are up 60 per cent since 1997, with girls between the ages of 15 and 19 incurring the highest rates. In 2003, 20,000 new cases of chlamydia were reported in Canada.

Of course, radical feminism isn't only to blame.The sexualization of little girls is also to blame. Everywhere we turn, girls are encouraged through movies, music, television, magazines, clothing companies, and even toy companies to be and act sexy. As a result, promiscuity is rampant; therefore, STDs are rampant. All these industries who make money off the sexualization of little girls are essentially one of the causes for the decline of human procreation.

As Margret noted earlier in her piece, of all the developed world, the United States is the only country replacing itself. And I am pleased to say I am one of the many Americans who are helping in this effort: my husband and I are expecting our third child in late November. So I proudly accept the moniker of eco-criminal.

Update: Donald Sensing has a lot more information on the West's trend toward demographic extinction.


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Comments (13)

Kim...congratulations.... (Below threshold)


On your post, those are simply stunning statistics...particularly those on Russia.

I think an equally interesting analysis would be the application of those studies to geographic regions in the United States.

I have chosen not to have c... (Below threshold)

I have chosen not to have children, as there is a geetic condition in my family that I don't wish to pass on.

However, should I not have that condition, I still can't imagine having a child and trying to raise it with values, consideration for others and, although to a Lefty it might seem to diametrically opposed, a drive to suceed. I don't think that, as a society, we are doing a very good job at instilling the right values in our children. If you're lucky enough to be able to afford to circumvent Americas's broken public school system, you are still screwed. Today's culture seems to have replaced the traditional values with that of acquisitiveness, self-regard and overweening entitlement. Considering that many parents (not all, okay?) (1) think that providing their child with things is the same as instilling in them a code of ethics, (2) regard shopping as a value-added substituion for spirituality and culture, and (3) resent any input from others that would aid them in beign fully aware of who their children are when they are outside the home, is it any wonder that I'm fearful for our future?

I believe that Israel also ... (Below threshold)

I believe that Israel also has a birth rate above replacement (even if you don't include Muslims).

Personally I think it has m... (Below threshold)

Personally I think it has more to do with the move away from the rural areas than anything else. In the city, children are a net negative from an economic perspective (you have to pay for school, college, childcare, take time off work, etc) vs in the country where they provide free labor.

langtry-I think you're givi... (Below threshold)

langtry-I think you're giving society way too much credit in determining how individual children will turn out. Of course, many children are being raised by pop culture and government schools, and the results aren't pretty. But I know other children and teens who are turning out spectacularly, thanks to the effort their parents have put into raising them right!

Congrats! I'm a proud Ameri... (Below threshold)

Congrats! I'm a proud American eco-criminal myself... with four offspring, all of them gifted.

Kim,Congratulation... (Below threshold)


Congratulations. My wife and I are also expecting our third this August.

Low birth rates correlate statistically with secularization. The US has the highest birthrate of any industrialized country and also the highest rate of religious belief. Secularization is a slow-motion suicide pact.

All these industries who... (Below threshold)

All these industries who make money off the sexualization of little girls are essentially one of the causes for the decline of human procreation.

Gosh - is it possible you're saying that corporations shouldn't be allowed to do anything they want in the name of profits?

Be careful. Someone might call you a socialist.

jim, Kim never said any suc... (Below threshold)

jim, Kim never said any such thing.
Stop trying to invent straw men.

kr, school is free everywhere in the US, if you are willing to go to a public school, until you get to college level. Even then it is only a burden on the parents if they choose for it to be so.
Farmers no longer have the luxury of turning their kids out as free labor. The business has become an industry, and a small farm run solely by hand (teh hands of a father and his kids) doesn't last long. The Amish/Menonites are about the only exceptions to that rule.

When a friend asked, " How ... (Below threshold)

When a friend asked, " How could you afford to raise 5 children in Southern California?" I replied, "Children are inexpensive to raise, but very expensive to spoil."

If you're so concerned abou... (Below threshold)
cdn lurker:

If you're so concerned about women's health as it relates to maintaining the population, I trust you are in favor of the HPV-16 vaccination. HPV-16 is, after all, the leading cause of cervical cancer AND throat cancer. Canada's Conservative government will spend $300,000,000 vaccinating young girls over the next few years. Will you demand that your government make the same investment in the health of future generations?

If you're so concerned a... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

If you're so concerned about women's health as it relates to maintaining the population, I trust you are in favor of the HPV-16 vaccination.

I'm in favor of the vaccination for those who want it. Any woman who wants it for hereself or her daughter should be allowed to go to the doctors office and buy a vaccination. I think that's the way it works now, so I don't know what you're complaining about.

Of course, a better way not to get cancer from HPV is to not infect yourself with HPV by sleeping with someone who has the HPV virus. Since no vaccine is 100% foolproof.

'Don't sleep with diseased people and you won't get STDs'. Perhaps we should be pushing that message on our kids, too.

cdn lurker, just out of cur... (Below threshold)

cdn lurker, just out of curiosity, is it healthy for women to believe that getting a shot will protect them from some of the consequences of promiscuity? Perhaps that effect could be negated by making half the doses placebo. That way you'd only have half the morbidity from cervical cancer, and still invoke a dread of promiscuity, which is probably ultimately most preferable to Hygeia. Just a modest proposal.






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