Letter to the editor

Written by: Nathan Maggelet

This is a response to a piece written by Russ Friend Thursday, March 22.  To read this article or other past articles, please visit our website at www.buchtelite.com.

I was quite disturbed last week when I picked up a discarded Buchtelite and read Russ Friend’s “Terminal Parenthood” editorial.

Friend’s solution to society’s ills is to require any man who impregnates a woman out of wedlock or fathers more than two children to be subject to 19 years of “indentured servitude” or to “euthanasia” (let’s call it what it is: murder) as a punishment for the “crime” of pregnancy. He believes doing this would solve global warming and human overpopulation.

For the record, America doesn’t have an overpopulation problem. The average woman only has 2.06 children.  If it wasn’t for immigration, the population in this country would be decreasing. However, the focus of this critique will be on Friend’s solution of indentured servitude.

First of all, I don’t think Friend understands the concept of parenthood.  When you become a parent, you are entering into a mutual contract with that child to provide for his or her needs for at least the next 18 years of his or her life, whether you are married or not.  This is in essence already a form of indentured servitude.

If an unwed mother doesn’t want the child, she is free to get an abortion in order to avoid entering into this commitment, or she can put the child up for adoption. If she decides to have the child, the father will still be legally responsible for providing for the child.  So what’s the problem?

This brings me to wonder what Friend means by indentured servitude.  It would seem clear that he does not believe that our current child support rules or family planning options are enough.  I do not know who he thinks the father should be responsible to, but it sure does not seem he expects him to be responsible to his child.

It would appear that he believes the father should be criminally punished by the government. This does not fall under the definition of indentured servitude, which requires a signing of a mutual contract.  In truth, the punishment Friend is actually suggesting is slavery.

In America, we spent 250 years struggling with the validity of slavery. In the end, it took a war and over 200,000 deaths to purge the evil of slavery from our society. Never again should we give the government or an individual the power to enslave or restrict any American’s rights to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

The bottom line is that unwanted pregnancy has always been a part of human society. In the 1790s, when George Washington was president, experts have estimated that the amount of out-of-wedlock pregnancies in America was as high as 33 percent (“Empire of Liberty,” Wood, 342).

Criminalizing pregnancy and large family sizes would not change peoples’ moral behavior, and would ultimately deal a death blow to our individual liberty and would contribute to the denigration of the American family.

It is okay to make mistakes in life. Instead of demanding retribution for bad moral behavior, our families, churches and government should do everything it can to give those who have made mistakes in their life the opportunity to right their wrongs.

Personal responsibility is the answer, not the tyranny and draconian measures proposed by Friend.