I've been thinking a lot about how to deal with Unnatural Selection. It's happening, and it's a problem, but the solutions are tough.
To review, there are three components to the birth rate of a population, 1) choice, 2) generation length, and 3) death rate. The solutions I've been focusing on recently involve making having children less desirable, so as to affect choice (having fewer kids) and generation length (having them later). Peer pressure among young women is strong; if you could make having fewer kids cool, that would be good, and if you could make having kids later cooler, that would be good, too.
I toyed with the idea of starting a meme that "having kids makes you less attractive". I don't know if it is true, but it isn't obviously untrue, which makes it believable. Still there is something distasteful about this message; I sense it might be rejected by women who are already mothers, including the mothers of young women, and that could backfire. (A lot of social mores are propagated by older women.) Also a lot of kids are conceived in the heat of a moment, without much prior planning; in such circumstances a consideration like "this will make you less attractive in the future" wouldn't have much weight.
The meme I like best right now is "the pill is cool". It isn't as distasteful as "having kids makes you ugly", and might even appeal to mothers of young women, as it has the virtue that it advocates something preventative. If a women is already on the pill, she doesn't have to be smart in the heat of a moment, or think at all; it will keep her from having kids regardless. There is a religious / moral objection in that going on the pill reduces the deterrent effect of avoiding a possible pregnancy. I don't know how strong that is, but I do know that if more young women went on the pill, there would be fewer unplanned pregnancies and fewer abortions (let's face it, abortions are really birth control after the fact).
Anyway that's what I'm thinking about right now... it sure makes working on the book more interesting to focus on possible solutions than to merely report a problem.
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