Declining birth rates benefit society

Autumn Kunkel and Autumn Kunkel

A new trend has begun in regard to females and their general reproductive habits. In recent years, women have been waiting longer to have children, with many getting abortions, as well, for a variety of reasons. The primary reasons for this occurrence involve employment, the obtainment of higher education, or both. To put it quite simply, the more educated and employed the woman, the less likely she is to have children early on in life, if any at all. Not surprisingly, there have been voices of discontent upon the news of this new trend.

Some claim that such an occurrence has drastic negative consequences on the social, economic and even moral welfare of our society.There’s also been a push for a movement in which motherhood is more cherished in society, rather than putting the working woman on a pedestal, so that every child can come into this world and not only spur the economy, but make society better as a whole. Well, while there may be some negative consequences to this new reproductive trend [as there is with every occurrence], I would argue that, overall, the effects have been quite positive.

First, the sole fact that women are having children later on in life is not a bad thing. The reason why this is happening is because women are either obtaining a higher education or working, or both. This means that more women have the opportunity to use their ambitions for something that they feel is fulfilling their life. Motherhood can most definitely be fulfilling, if that is, in fact, what that woman wants to do, but not every woman wants to be a mother. If women feel happier gearing their ambitions towards careers, they should be supported, not chastised for not thinking about society as a whole and slacking in their “duty” of bearing children.

Second, working women aren’t necessarily more supported by society than those who are more involved in child-rearing. Regardless of what decision a woman makes, she’ll get criticized for not performing her perceived role in society. If a woman chooses a career over having kids, she’s considered selfish. If she chooses to stay at home with the kids, she’s judged as old-fashioned and needing to “free” herself from the chains of motherhood. And, women who choose to both work and raise children get heavily discriminated against in the work force, as they don’t get taken as seriously as their male counterparts and consequently end up getting paid less (this is actually the reason why all women suffer wage discrimination, but I digress). My point here is, either way, there is no easy path for a woman to take. Saying that motherhood needs to be more cherished than the working woman doesn’t help women on the whole; this ideal leads not only to discrimination against women in the workforce, but also to societal expectations based on gender which not everyone of that gender wishes to live up to.

Third, as far as abortion goes, there may, in fact, be very good intentions behind that woman’s decision. According to Planned Parenthood, most women get abortions because they are not ready on a financial level to be a mother. These women are taking into consideration the quality of life; they don’t want to bring a child into this world without having the necessary means to provide for it. Women in the same situation who do, however, choose to go through with the pregnancy usually end up on welfare, which costs way more in taxpayer money than abortion. So, on a larger level, abortion may be beneficial to our economy.

On a moral level, it’s easy to see the injustice of abortion. But there is also something morally questionable about telling women what to do with something that happens in their bodies. And, on a larger scale, there’s something morally questionable about suggesting that women need to cherish motherhood for the greater good. Not only is this factually incorrect, but by hinting at this suggestion, women’s true desires are ignored, and that, in and of itself, is a social injustice.