Population control – and our country’s continuing war on children – got a big boost early this year when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi defended “stimulus” funding with this toxic logic:

"contraception will reduce costs to the states and to the federal government."

Shades of Jonathan Swift! Remember A Modest Proposal - For Preventing The Children of Poor People in Ireland From Being a Burden to Their Parents or Country, and For Making Them Beneficial to The Public?  But while Swift’s 1729 proposal was satire, Pelosi’s was serious stuff.

Hard to believe that this self-described “ardent Catholic” – mother of 5, grandmother of 6, now third in line to the presidency – could make such short shrift of the citizenry’s children, imperiously dismissing them as burdens to the state. 

But is it really all that shocking to define this population cohort in such mercenary terms?  After all, for 36 years our culture’s worldview has been predicated on the idea of children as a burden to individual women and their families. 

As a Second Wave Feminist who agitated for abortion and lived to regret it, I know all too well what makes Nancy tick: decades of denial – adding up to 45 million missing U.S. citizens – make for hardened hearts and the death of reason. Thus a professional politician might spend Saturday night dandling grandkids on her knee, yet report for duty backing government-funded abortions on a Sunday morning talk show. 

The message: Pelosi’s babies – and her babies’ babies – matter.  The rest are just statistics.

It all goes back to the Slippery Slope – the one that those stuffy religious “nuts” warned us of in the years leading up to Roe v. Wade. Though then I scorned their ethical warnings, eventually I had to admit they were right – especially when the Slippery Slope turned out to be a moral freefall resulting in 1.5 million abortions per year.  The “Have it your way!” mentality, sparked when the Anglican church okayed birth control in 1921, led inexorably to abortions triggered not just by dire straits, but by convenience or eugenics.

Our Have it Your Way! culture normalized abortion to the point that one fourth of the under-30 population went missing.

And on the other hand, Have it Your Way! apologetics ushered in the IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) era, replete with ethical dilemmas ranging from anonymous donor/fathers to gender selection, from thousands of frozen embryos to a 33-year-old mother of 6 under 7 birthing 8 premature and very needy babies. 

The tweezing out of the strands that together made a strong and dependable family - marriage, sex, and procreation – and the constant cultural drumbeat that each could stand alone only made matters worse.  Parents became less self-sacrificing, more narcissistic, more inclined to make decisions about children based on what they thought they could afford materially or emotionally.

And when it comes to those decisions, we tend more and more to underestimate our capacity. After all, children seriously interfere with Having It Our Way. Our consumerist society bombards us with messages of materialism, keeping us striving for – and feeling entitled to – nice homes, cars, vacations, dining out. 

Children now compete as commodities – part of a chosen lifestyle – so that today even some Christians approach childbearing as though they were filling out their wedding registry, based not on “What does God have in mind for building our family?” but “How many do we want to have?”

While our culture encourages an entitlement mentality elsewhere, when it comes to children, we are not supposed to feel entitled, but apologetic. Having more than two provokes a challenge: we are living outside our means, over-consuming, endangering the planet.  Thus the greatest irony of all: those who choose the generous path of parenting a large family – thus having a real stake in the future of our nation – are accused of being selfish. And a candidate who says he wouldn’t want his hypothetically-out-of-wedlock daughter “punished with a baby” takes less flak than those who even in the toughest times would not curse a new life as a penalty.