Is parenthood a lifestyle choice?

baby-bingo.jpgGiven that Boing Boing readership almost certainly indexes higher for people without children, I thought I'd bring up a movement that doesn't get a lot of press: the child-free movement. We live in a world where pro-reproductive ideology is so pervasive that you'd think that having children is an inevitability, even a duty. Exhortations to have kids are the cornerstones of many religions. It's even been suggested sometimes that those who do not have children are "selfish," where those who do have children are serving the greater good, like firefighters. Yet if, say, a gay couple tries to adopt an unwanted child, some of the same people who talk about the importance of children and parenting change their tune on the whole "selfish" thing.

While there are certainly plenty of unplanned pregnancies, it could be argued that this is a result of a lifestyle choice as well: the decision to have consensual procreative sex (for the sake of simplicity, let's leave nonconsensual sex off the table for this argument). Most pregnancies are planned in the sense that people want kids, then create the conditions for reproduction to occur. Either that, or they know that sex carries a risk of pregnancy and engage in sex anyway. After the jump, I pose a few questions that might elicit lively and interesting replies from fellow Boingers. I also have a few links to childfree sites for those interested in learning more.

(Image: Baby Bingo coaster from The Child Free Life)

1. Are most children the consequence of fulfilling a desire?

2. Do non-parents end up footing part of the bill for parents (from school taxes to welfare)? Is there an opposite cost that parents absorb, like end-of-life care?

3. If everyone at work is asked to stay late, and a parent says they have to get their kid from daycare, is that excuse more valid than if a non-parent says they need to let their dog out?

4. Who (if anyone) is being "selfish" regarding parenthood or non-parenthood?

Some thought-provoking stuff:

Childfree and Loving It!

No Kidding!

To breed or not to breed

Childfree USENET FAQ (includes snappy retorts)

Childfree Lingo (many lulz to be had)