‘Shall we make a baby?’ – personal choice and public perceptions

There are few more intimate discussions than that about whether to have a child; and few more momentous outcomes for individuals than when this question is not considered, and the baby arrives anyway. So why is this such a difficult issue? Almost half of conceptions are unexpected, or even actively unwanted. Yet knowledge about how to avoid pregnancy is easily available.

Public knowledge
Where is the lack of connectedness which results in so many problematic and life-changing outcomes?

Why are we still debating whether it’s even OK to share this knowledge in an open (and responsible) way?

The personal continues to be the political
An article by Peter Preston this week asks why we – and specifically the politicians – don’t acknowledge the connection between population growth and climate change. Responses to his question have been posted in their hundreds.

Perhaps over time this debate will make the issues mainstream enough to permit men and women to expect to discuss their fertility as well as their emotions, when it comes to having sex.

Changing social understandings
Authors such as Carol Hanisch (The Personal is Political, 1969) and Marilyn French (The Women’s Room, 1977) made ground-breaking contributions to the ‘gender and power’ debate about where individuals and society interface, some forty or more years ago.

But progress is glacial; the social climate changes only very slowly.

Changes in the physical climate however currently demonstrate no such lethargy.  We need to get real about these things, and soon.

* What will it take to enable individuals to access fertility information and services comfortably, and as of right?
* Where are the obstacles?
* Is this an issue which must be addressed and resolved by those in power – mostly men – before it can be the entitlement of men and women together?

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Posted on December 14, 2010, in Real-Life Examples and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. As with most things, this issue will only be resolved by education, about eg the impact of ever increasing human numbers and avoiding unwanted pregnancy.

    But the most important element of an education that can help us to solve the various problems we face is its ability to teach people to both think for and value themselves.

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