General Question

deaddolly's avatar

Do you ever think it's justified for a government to limit the amount of children a family may have?

Asked by deaddolly (3411points) October 22nd, 2008

What about overpopulation? Look at China. Is it working there? What about people continuing tohave children they can’t afford to feed or even clothe?

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28 Answers

syz's avatar

Don’t yell at me before reading in its’ entirety.

Theoretically, hell yes. People who do not have adequate finances, adequate parenting skills, parents who abuse or neglect, parents who rely too heavily on public assistance, parents who pass on genetic defects, people who are stupid, and so on and so on and so on.

Realistically, it’ll never happen. There is no way to designate who has the right to make those decisions, and no way to guarantee that it is a fair process that does not infringe upon the poor or any other group.

One would think, that as an intelligent, apex species we would each be able to make a balanced, logical decision on our own whether or not to reproduce. You would think that we would recognize that we cannot breed indiscriminately forever and maintain our quality of life. You would think that we would realize that no resource is infinite and that our environment will suffer. You would think that we would make decisions based on the good of the whole rather than the good of only ourselves. You’d think.

poofandmook's avatar

I think it’s totally unfair and selfish to bring a child into the world when you are living in a hut and eating dirt and bugs or something… but there’s no way to implement it under fair conditions.

Meaning… yes, absolutely on paper. Now if someone could figure out how to do that without being Hitler-like…

Darwin's avatar

In cases of over-population or repeated child abuse, then I think it is a lovely idea. However, enforcement is problematical. As to people being and apex species, I’m not entirely sure that is so. I suspect we won’t last nearly as long as some other species, such as ants. We may “own” the most territory right now and make the biggest impact on all the ecosystems, but I suspect that if we continue to behave as we do we will be history. And the ants will be continuing on.

asmonet's avatar

A few years ago I stumbled on a website for an organization that had 50k members or so, people who were refusing to have children in order to not leave the planet in a worse state they arrived in. They did the math and everything for how many lives it stopped creating if you just didn’t have kids but I can’t for the life of me find it again.

All I could find was this. Not really on topic but I thought it might be interesting to the people who would pop onto this thread anyway.

As for me, eh, I see the merit and I think the limit should be two if you’re gonna limit it, but then that would cut out two of my siblings. Socially more responsible? I think so. But we’re not Vulcans for fuck’s sake. Ain’t no way.

gailcalled's avatar

In many of the overpopulated, impoverished African countries that also have epidemic HIV/AIDs, it is almost impossible for women to 1) obtain condoms, 2) have their partners wear them and 3) get planned parenting advice due to the Bush’ administration stopping its funding; WSJ

jessturtle23's avatar

Nah, then women would be forced to have abortions or give away or kill babies. Maybe they should just put birth control in alcohol and other drugs. I think that would help out the population a bit.

gailcalled's avatar

@jess: ^^ That’s very cynical. How old are you?

gailcalled's avatar

“Maybe they should just put birth control in alcohol and other drugs. I think that would help out the population a bit.”

deaddolly's avatar

I’m not well versed on the subject, but I TOTALLY AGREE WITH SYZ.
China seems not to be able to handle it too well…with all the female children up for adoptions and the difficulty it is to adopt there (due to government intervention).
But, I constantly see people on W2 or welfare popping out kids one after another.
And don’t get me started on stupid ppl.
Without sounded like I click my heels together; some ppl should not be allowed to breed.

Anyone know how China polices their policy?

shadling21's avatar

No way. People should always be able to choose what to do with their bodies. Regardless of if there is a population crisis or if the people having babies aren’t prepared to do so, people should always have the right to do it. Education is the key to encouraging people to make smart choices.

So, there is no theoretical “yes” answer, to me.

deaddolly's avatar

@shadling Education is out there for ppl—some choose NOT to make use of it and thus perpetuates that way of life from generation to generation. What about them? Not saying you’re opinion is wrong or whatever —it’s just fustrating to me that the ‘hangers on of society’ continue to breed and we continue to support them.
K, hope I don’t sound like a nazi….I’m definately NOT.

asmonet's avatar

Didn’t China stop that policy a few years ago…?

deaddolly's avatar

Not to my knowledge. I’ve a niece who’s been trying to adopt from there for the past 2 years. The orphanages are filled with little girls.

critter1982's avatar

China did not stop the policy. The company I work for brings Chinese employees to America as a sort of apprenticeship and I had asked them about this policy. The policy is you can only have one kid but if you are a single child you are allowed to have 2 children. Jessturtle has a point though, forced abortions in China have begun to surface and are rampant.

asmonet's avatar

Ugh. That’s just. :-/

deaddolly's avatar

Wonder how easy it is to get birth control there? And also wonder why they don’t just sterilize women after their firstborn, if they’re that anal about it.

jessturtle23's avatar

I don’t think it was cynical. Imagine all of the “accidents” or “blessings” ,depending on the person, that wouldn’t happen at keg parties and crack houses. Okay, maybe that is a little cynical. I just think it’s crazy to try to limit how many children people can have. If you decide to have no children at all can you sell your baby permit to someone else?

jtvoar16's avatar



syz's avatar

Excerpted from Alan Weisman’s “The World Without Us”:

…Dr Segei Scherbov calculated what would happen to human population if, from now on, all fertile women have one child. If this somehow began tomorrow, our current 6.5 billion human population would drop by 1 billion by the middle of this century (If we continue as projected, it will reach 9 billion)....By 2075, we would have reduced our presence by almost half, down to 3.43 billion, and our impact by much more, because so much of what we do is magnified by chain reactions we set off through the ecosystem.

By 2100, less than a century from now, we would be at 1.6 billion: back to levels last seen in the 19th century, just before quantum advances in energy, medicine and food production doubled our numbers and then doubled us again. At the time, those discoveries seemed like miracles. Today, like too much of any good thing, we indulge in more only at our peril.

augustlan's avatar

In the case of child abusers/murderers, my answer would be an unequivocal yes.

Trance24's avatar

I agree completely especially in China’s case. They are an over populated country who can barley take care of them selves. To bring more children into that life style is not fair. Even their orphanages are overflowing. This goes for other parts of the world as well. For countries like Africa having more children jeopardies their health with the high chances of HIV and AIDs, and other diseases they can be exposed to. There are more orphans then their are parents and adults.

galileogirl's avatar

In the end you just end up exchanging one serious problem for an even more serious one.

As countries developed from agricultural to industrial economies there has been a natural reduction in family size. In 200 years we have gone from a dozen children per family to 4–6 in the 1950’s to the 1–2 average today. We were lucky to be such an underpopulated country that could provide until we reached the current stable birth rate.

Countries like China and India do not have that luxury. They were already overpopulated as their economies change. With traditions that require many children, partly because of childhood mortality, when disease and famine were reduced they had to reduce the birth rate rapidly.

China’s one child policy is still in effect even though it is not as draconian as it was under Mao. There are economic consequences to having more than one child like heavy fines and no free social services for the second child or a child whose parents have not been given permission (sometimes for being unwed). There is also the preference for boys that leads to gender based abortion, abandoning girls in orphanages and even kidnapping for sale which happens to thousands of boys every year.

There are new problems in China relating to the uneven ratio of males to females after more than a generation of one child policy. Chinese men will find it harder to marry and since they are more likely to be only children, families could die out.

deaddolly's avatar

And yet, China’s adoption procedure takes years. it’s so insane.

SeventhSense's avatar

They can take the children you have already. Your SS# is theirs property and so are your childrens. They are the commericial property of the corporation known as
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Not to be confused with the country with a similar sounding name

tranquilsea's avatar

Who gets to decide? Who gets to flout the rules? (there is always a group who would)

Although the world is overpopulated…I think it is completely draconian to consider placing a limit on how many children a couple can have. Studies have shown that when women are educated and able to support themselves…they tend to choose to have fewer children. They also have to have access to some form of birth control.

Populations in most industrialized nations are falling.

To be quite frank, I find many of the people who preach the belief that we should all stop procreating to be, well, disturbing. Many of them have a aura of self loathing, or, should I say, species loathing.

I strongly think that having a child (or two or three) is a deeply personal choice and one only you can make.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I don’t think the government should have a say. If you really look at China, it may have worked, but at what price? The desire to have a male child to take care of the family has made the ratio of men to women very drastic. So, while it may have worked at a point and time and served it’s purpose, it came at a high price in my opinion.

chelle21689's avatar

That’s funny, my father is Thai (Chinese by blood though) and he is over 60…still taking care of his family. It’s crazy, my mom still gets upset by him doing this because they’re all grown, over their 40’s, and still have my dad pay their bills

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