Fair Pay Could Mean a More Fertile Future

At first blush, the debate over the Paycheck Fairness Act may not look like part of our ongoing national fertility discourse. But the two kinds of “women’s work”—the labor done outside the home (for 23 percent less pay than for men), and the bearing and rearing of the citizenry done at home (for nothing)—are entirely interdependent.  Failure to pass the PFA will give women yet another reason to have fewer kids.   

Sound drastic?  Look at the bottom line. In the days before birth control, women were stuck having kids, and could be compensated unfairly—if at all–for the work they did both inside and outside the home. But things have changed since the arrival of birth control.  Women don’t have to have any kids anymore, let alone several, and though the ongoing media campaign for the pleasures of pregnancy and childrearing continues, the deal is looking less satisfactory and less necessary to many women.  Discriminatory pay is a hidden tax on women and their families – averaging more than $10,000 annually.  Add to that the additional costs of rearing and educating the next generation that families bear, and you’ve got a major disincentive to have more kids.

As you’ve noticed, the terms on which women are taking up the motherhood role are changing. Single-child families have more than doubled since the sixties (now 1 in 5).  Exploding numbers of women are delaying children into their thirties and forties, in large part because delay provides a shadow benefits system.  Delay gives them time to climb career ladders to higher (but still not equal) pay and flexibility that they can’t access by other means, ensuring that their kids will be better off and better educated than they would otherwise.  Delay also limits the number of kids women can bear by the usual means to one or two in general (though that’s okay with most).  And many women (and men) are seeing attractions in living childfree.  Though a lifetime of indoctrination prepares women for the job of reproduction, the spin is losing speed.  Failure to pass the PFA would add more drag.

On background: As Heather Boushey and others have reiterated, the PFA reinforces the Equal Pay Act of 1963, requiring that all citizens be paid equally for equal work, regardless of gender; that they be allowed to document pay disparities in their workplace without retaliation; and that employers be held accountable when pay differences are based in unfair discrimination.  These protections benefit all workers.

The effects? More money in the pockets of families that include working women (so men and children gain too).  Passage would also spark a much-needed national dialogue about the way pay works in our culture.  Of course not everyone welcomes such dialogue, since it could reveal the gross inequities operative along class and gender lines, and unravel the narrative of fairness and equal opportunity that wins support for the unequal pay system from the very ones who lose the most by it.  But as the pay gap has expanded enormously between the rich and the rest of us recently, the discussion is now unavoidable.

It’s no surprise that shortsighted employers (and their advocates, like Christine Hoff Sommers) object to having to pay their workers fairly, since that also involves paying half of them more.  But that’s not a reason to short half the citizenry.  Paying out more will not depress business; it will grow it, since this money will be spent fast, going directly back into the economy, spurring more profits and more jobs.  No surprise either that they look for other reasons to diss the legislation, since fairness and equality per se sound pretty reasonable to most voters.

But Sommers’ recent reiteration of the old claim that the disparity in women’s and men’s full-time wages is caused not by active workplace discrimination but by women’s “individual choices” to slow-track their careers around kids is wrong on two counts. 

1. Discrimination is a factor: A recent AAUW report found that even childless women fresh out of school make 5 percent less than their male peers in the first year in equivalent jobs. Ten years later the differential among full-time male and female workers not attributable to personal choices or occupation choice increases to 12 percent.

Apparently employers anticipate that eventually most women will be mothers—and less reliable workers therefore, so they view investment in them as less valuable.  That of course becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy when lower paid women then have very limited options for the good reliable childcare that would allow them to be consistent workers (nationally, about 15 percent of women workers have access to regulated childcare).  In spite of these limitations, mothers’ work-force attachment has been on the rise for decades, and it increases with education level (which links to both more money to spend on good care and an increased sense of investment in work).

2. Individual choice is a red herring: Society depends on women bearing children and then on somebody rearing them – and going the extra miles to teach them the value of honesty, hard work and healthy living. The “it was your decision to have kids, so they’re your problem” argument sidesteps the service that women and families provide by having children and caring so deeply how they grow.  Parents don’t have kids merely for their own pleasure (parents of teenagers, no snickering); they are also serving the commonwealth.  We all depend on there being a next generation to pay into social security and to be good workers providing solid services to the community.  So families deserve at least a fair wage for raising those workers.

Historically, keeping the focus on personal choice and not admitting the importance of women’s home labor to the functioning of business was a means for getting the childrearing work done for cheap.  Mothers are arguably the biggest underwriters of “surplus” value, but there was no profit in acknowledging that since it might lead to demands for change!   But the time has come, because the field is transformed. 

To the extent that women who don’t choose to have kids face less of a wage penalty than women who have them, Sommers’ argument is effectively a case against kids.  While in the very short term that might look like a viable business strategy, it quickly loses power.

In days past women’s essential contribution to the business world could be ignored because they were stuck making it. You could assume that women would bear and rear society’s children for free because, if they had a sex life, they would procreate whether they wanted to or not.  Those women who did work outside the home were hobbled by their lack of education (due to early childbearing) and by their need for flexible schedules to care for kids in the absence of any national care system. Women workers operated in a discriminatory, artificially constrained labor pool (all of the jobs open to them were linked to what they were doing at home for free — teacher, nurse, cook, cleaner, sex worker) and faced lots of competition (all the other constrained women) within those few trades. So their wages were low. The fact that their jobs were done for free at home contributed to the general view that the work was not worth much.

But birth control transformed the paradigm; at the same moment that market demand for unskilled workers plummeted.  Women with access to contraception don’t have to have children (a factor behind recent movements to deny access to birth control and abortion – a direct path to unskilled an populace and economic collapse). But if they do want families, they can now get their educations first, can limit the size of those families, and are no longer as confined to the old job set.  As a result: women who used to have many kids now have a few or none; educated women can better educate their fewer kids; and both mothers and later their kids can join the educated workforce, growing the 21st-century economy.

Perhaps most revolutionary: Women have begun to trickle up into policy-making roles themselves, for the first time in history giving women a say in the shaping of a nation’s rules and priorities. 

The transformation has been gradual and progress slow, however, because our nation’s lack of a family-support infrastructure, based in the old paradigm, still holds women back with the familiar dirty laundry list of inequities (in addition to unfair pay, there are job ghettos, inadequate childcare and sick leave, limited career tracks, and more). Circularly, because the family support infrastructure hasn’t changed, women haven’t been able to move in sufficient numbers into positions where they could change it.  Until now. The PFA is finally on the table and represents a first step toward an equal playing field in the world of paid labor.

Rejection of the PFA is not just continuation of the status quo; it would provide women with more evidence that mothers’ work is not respected and more reason not to do that work, adding to the downward pressure already being exerted on the rate by the recession.

Internationally the effect of family-unfriendly work environments for women, as in Italy, Japan, and Germany, has been to depress the birthrate.  Women may like kids well enough in abstract, but when the choice is between having a family in a unsupportive context with limited employment options and enormous costs in time and money, and having a satisfying career, with extra resources for travel and an upscale lifestyle, many women choose the career or a much smaller family.

In the US, the total fertility rate has stayed relatively high over the years (it’s currently roughly at replacement at 2.04 kids / woman compared to Italy’s 1.23, German’s 1.38 and Japan’s 1.27), in part because women have felt that they do have some flexibility and support (immigration also plays a role in keeping the rate up).  But the recession is changing that, at the very time when the population of older folks in need of a vibrant force of younger workers to supply them with services as they retire is, shall we say, booming.

Passage of the PFA, on the other hand, would have spiraling positive effects on both fertility and education.  It would counter the negative recessionary effects on fertility by putting more money in families’ pockets.  At the same time, equitably paid women could afford better childcare (instead of the bad, often unreliable care so many have to settle for now), leading to more school-ready kindergarteners and the better-educated workforce employers will need in the decades to come. Moms with good, reliable childcare could work more consistently as a group, quelling the anxieties of employers over their investment in women workers. Increased demand for good care would create many good, well-paid jobs, and further the economic expansion. Then having kids wouldn’t seem like the hardship it is for so many today, ensuring a fertile American future.

Of course there are positives to a falling fertility rate, since overcrowding is a global environmental problem.  But since a lower birthrate also brings big social and economic stresses, some judicious investment in future generations seems crucial.

Equal pay for equal work benefits everybody. Though the Paycheck Fairness Act will not resolve all the issues surrounding women’s dual work roles in our culture, it is a necessary step in that direction. Paying women inequitably undermines the very business community its advocates seek to defend.

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  • arekushieru

    This is a good idea and well-intentioned article, but, I have to wonder, if that really is the reason why most women aren’t having children.  No matter how financially stable, emotionally responsible and mature I am, I would still never want to get/be pregnant or have children.  And that seems to be the automatic assumption running throughout this whole article, that women would have children, if only they could become financially stable.  As well, having children just so one can prop up the aging workforce, even if only mentioned as a positive net effect, sounds rather like, well, telling women that the best thing they could ever do is/was procreate.  So, I’m not sure if that’s where you really want to go…?  ^_^;

  • jayn

    One thing that comes to mind that isn’t mentioned re” women’s ‘dual roles’ is that this would make it easier for men to take on child-rearing responsabilities.  In a family where the male is the higher earner, it would seem more logical for the woman to stay at home (if they do decide to go the stay-at-home route).  This constrains choices for both women and men.  Women lose out on career options, men lose out on family time.  If wages were more equal, then the choice of which parent takes on more child-rearing responsabilities turns more into personal preferences.  I can see such a measure helping to further the cultural change we need for society to become truly equal.

  • elizabeth-gregory

    I’m with you that people can choose to not have kids for any number of reasons – here I’m looking at the effect of economics on that decision for people who would otherwise want them.  

  • elizabeth-gregory
    • rebellious-grrl

      That sucks! But thanks for the great article!

  • arekushieru

    Saddy face….  Grrrr….  Sorry to hear that, Elizabeth.  I don’t live in the United States, but I think it would have been pretty awesome if it had passed!

  • kittle


    As human beings blithely continue multiplying by the billions, non-human beings vanish ever faster and forever into extinction. Yes, life on Earth is literally in its greatest catastrophe in 65,000,000 years. Do you ever contemplate such things?

    Because here’s all you have to say about it:

    “Of course there are positives to a falling fertility rate, since overcrowding is a global environmental problem.  But since a lower birthrate also brings big social and economic stresses…”

    In effect you’re saying global ecological collapse is preferable to abandoning the delusional pursuit of endless growth (“a more fertile future”).

    The sustainable society we presumably all desire at a bare minimum requires sustainable human birthrates — and right now our human population is far too large. Conservation biologists (who actually know about such things) understand that very well.

    Unfortunately, their sage advice is drowned out by a clamorous coalition of religious fundamentalists, social justice advocates, and Wall Street bankster wanna-be’s.

    But the simple fact remains — endless growth in any finite place is the ultimate oxymoron, and the pursuit of it is utterly insane. Accommodating that inescapable reality should be our top priority — let’s stop dumping the challenge onto future Earth life.


  • elizabeth-gregory

    Hi Pat,

    Yes, ecology matters – but so do people and so does women’s place in the economy.  In fact giving women more of a role in the big economy might (might) lead to more global environmental responsibility. The importance of figuring out how to balance the many factors in play at this critical moment was what I alluded to in the part of that paragraph your ellipses buried.  

    To clarify: “more fertile” was not my title – but I think the editor who added that meant not “more fertile than now” but “more fertile than would otherwise be the case.”  

    Lots more strands in this knot than fit in one blog piece!  Will follow up.



  • kittle


    With all due respect, it’s easy to rationalize an ever-larger human population based on some perceived greater (human) good or another.

    Meanwhile, non-human life continues going extinct 1,000 times faster than it would if humans weren’t so overwhelmingly oppressive — that is 100,000% faster! If humans raised the global extinction rate a mere 50% above the “background” rate it would be ruthless — but the reality is 100,000%!

    What human need can possibly justify that?

    In the grand sweep of evolutionary time the entire human race is committing nothing less than a monstrous crime against nature. Nothing justifies it, including the tired old canard that if only the right group of humans get what they want first, their benevolence will trickle down to non-humans.

    You surely don’t think of your advocacy as a “trickle-down” approach to ending Earth’s extinction catastrophe, but that is precisely what it is — you’re basically applying Reaganomics to the natural world. As the apex-predator species (and techno-apex predator, no less), we humans have no sane justification whatsoever to number in the billions. If anything, we should be rewarding humans for NOT breeding.

  • wisdo

    If anything, we should be rewarding humans for NOT breeding.”


    Bingo – we already are. To work and have kids means families must employ child minders /creches (which all but wipe out the net pay of one of the parents). DINK couples are much better off financially and far less stressed in a number of departments.  However it only takes ONE generation of humans having no kids to reduce the entire human population to zero. Europe is experiencing negative population growth, with serious problems in some Italian towns where there not enough people left to run basic services like the fire department.


    Net population growth worldwide is showing signs of stabilising, as more nations get relatively developed. The key factor here is education for women.


    I believe we will see a stabilisation of the total population in time. As for the economics, bad news: The most stable and ‘natural’ human societal organisational system is feudalism – something the states is heading inexorably toward. Good luck with equal pay then.

  • arekushieru

    Not really.  We ‘reward’ people with no children simply because they aren’t using their financial resources like people with children are.  We stigmatize them, directly, in ways that people with children aren’t, though.


    There are more ways to build population other than simply having kids.

  • crowepps

    Europe is experiencing negative population growth, with serious problems in some Italian towns where there not enough people left to run basic services like the fire department.

    The American Midwest also has a static or decreasing populating, but not because of a low birth rate, but rather a constant outflow of the children who ARE born there who move away for educational, employment or ‘lifestyle’ reasons.  If the local social system is rigid, restrictive and punitive, young people who cannot tolerate it and who are have a chance to escape LEAVE.  The more that the intelligent, open and creative escape, leaving behind a higher proportion of rigid, restrictive and punitive, the more likely it is that the next group of intelligent, open and creative will WANT to escape.

  • runningshoe
  • saltyc

    That personal choice is a red herring. Mothers do an important service to society, and we shouldn’t be punished for it. Thank you.

    I have learned to not mention that I am a mother in job interviews. Turns out, this wasn’t paranoia, there is strong scientific research proving the bias.


    So being a mom makes you drop a few rungs in the social ladder, which is well documented and of course terrible for the next generation growing up.

    Yet the economy needs us to produce children, which is why the media glamorization, reduction of access to BC and abortion and restriction of knowledge of the basics of reproduction, to keep the babies coming though it’s a great personal hardship, without costly incentivising.

    But for many women like me, being a mother was a lifelong goal and ambition. I wish there weren’t so much division among feminists as to whether to vigorously support our right to this form of actualization, and I wish there were more recognition of the very real contributions mothers make. 

  • kittle

    Doesn’t this mean ANYTHING to you?


    RIGHT NOW the Earth is in its worst ecological catastrophe 65,000,000 years ago — and it’s entirely human-caused!


    This fact is so mind-boggling you’d think humans would make it their top priority to do what’s necessary to end it.


    But NOOOOOO, humans think they can keep adding more billions to their already-bloated numbers and it’s just too bad about the mass extinction of millions of other species.


    Nature bats last. How much more proof do we need?

  • arekushieru

    Pat, I agree with you, but your tone certainly seems all out of proportion to what Salty was actually referencing.  She was talking as a woman who was alREADy a mother, after all.

  • sale
  • kittle


    No offense intended but — when someone expresses no concern (not even lip service) for the ecological consequences of their breeding, and merely demands to be subsidized, guess who’s supposed to do the subsidizing? Non-breeders, who else?

    I dedicated my life to trying to undo the damage wrought by overpopulated humanity (no violins necessary). After decades of effort this is what I’ve seen:

    —–Humans have doubled their numbers.

    —–Most humans want to be rich (so much for loftier goals).

    —–The Earth’s condition is abysmal, and rapidly getting more so.

    —–And we’re told it’s inevitable billions more needy humans will be soon added so don’t even try to stop it (because that would “seem all out of proportion”).

    The hour is late. Very late. The overpopulation bogeyman must be confronted head-on. 

  • arekushieru

    Not true.  “Breeders” and “non-breeders (among which I include, myself)” alike are supposed to do the subsidizing.   This is much like saying that if we are opposed to funding health care, social assistance payments, wars, etc… only the ones who want to subsidize do and should.

  • crowepps

    Actually, most of the ‘subsidizing’ is done not by taxing one human to support another, but by discarding everything natural that isn’t considered ‘useful’ to humans, so that the price is paid by those species that are driven into extinction through loss of habitat.  I suppose ‘we’ can get along fine without tigers but I can’t imagine why we would PREFER to do so for the doubtful benefit of having a larger pool of the desperately poor living short and miserable lives.


    In addition, while those who insist on having huge families do get tax breaks and are eligible for taxpayer supported program for the ‘needy’ that give them some subsidy from people who have no children, most of the financial impact of their huge families is paid by their own children.


    Assuming that total family incomes are equal, one child of two parents receives the benefit of one-third of family income and all of his/her parents’ available ‘parenting time’, while one of ten children of two parents at best can benefit from one-twelfth of the income and one-tenth of the ‘individual parenting time’ (if any).  In addition, the older children in the large family tend to be coopted as ‘assistant parents’ and be tasked with the physical work of caring for the younger children, so that they have less time to devote to their own education and interests.

  • saltyc

    Overpopulation is not a result of fair pay. Not a result of subsidized childcare, medical care, public schools, etc.

    Overpopulation comes from women’s disempowerment.

    Calling mothers “breeders” is purposefully derogatory.

    Mothering has been a noble pursuit since the species came on the planet, and before. But what is not talked about, is how many women in the modern ‘civilized’ world, have children against their will.

    Women given real choices will reproduce at replacement. Given better life options, for every one who wants 5 there are three who want none.

    Aside from that, one American does as much damage as about a hundred Indians, and ten thousand Xingu’s, so maybe your beef is with others besides the routine, easy targets of already-struggling mothers.

    Your approach to save the planet is to troll on discussions of making life easier for women, some of whom want to be mothers, I am reminded here of the song Revolution: “When you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao, you ain’t gonna make it with anyone anyhow”

    Also, it’s not true that most people want to be rich. Actually, contrary to Capitalist’s interests, making money is not a prime motivating factor. If you look at the history of cities, like NYC, the Conservative effort has been to make life as hard as possible for those without an income. You could get by in the 60’s and 70’s without a job, and this worried the Capitalists. There has been a sustained effort to make people depend on their jobs more than on their friends and families and society in order to create the monster we call our present consumerist society.

     But go ahead and put the blame on motehrs, women have been proven quite capable of carrying the guilt loads placed on them. But it won’t do you any good.

  • arekushieru

    Mothering, Fathering and not-parenting are all noble pursuits, I believe.  But, I do agree, that it is usually Mothering that gets the short end of the shaft.  ><; Now, back to your regularly scheduled programming:

    That was a good commentary on how equal pay fits in with the general welfare of the entire planet.  LOVE it. 

  • arekushieru

    As usual, crowepps, you hit the nail on the head, by focussing on one of the most vulnerable yet oft-ignored segments of the population; children. 

  • kittle

    When you refer to the “…vulnerable yet oft-ignored segments of the population…” you of course mean the HUMAN population.

    You seem annoyed that I focus on the tens of millions of non-human populations being annihilated by the uber-important human population.

    Unfortunately, if we wait until every faction of humanity gets what it wants/needs before we stop overbreeding (and at long last reverse ecological collapse), we’ll just keep wondering why we’re in this handbasket.

    We don’t have nearly enough time to perfect human nature before we (at long last) prioritize responsible human breeding. And nothing less than perfecting human nature (making us all loving healthy altruistic beings) seems to be the unspoken prerequisite for stopping human overbreeding.

    Of course, we COULD confront human overbreeding DIRECTLY and PERSISTENTLY, just as we do with other ecologically irresponsible behaviors. But enough of my silly talk, let’s get back to rearranging those deck chairs!


  • kittle


    A point-by-point response to your grievances:

    1) You claim “overpopulation is not a result of fair pay.” Curiously, the article we’re commenting on is titled “Fair Pay Could Mean a More Fertile Future” — so maybe you should take that up with the author (Elizabeth).

    2) You are right, women in many parts of the world are forced to overbreed, and it’s their chauvistic men who we ought to be exposing — so why don’t we? Because we must unfailingly “celebrate [their] diversity” — that’s why. No, it’s not PC of me to say that, it’s merely the unspeakable truth.

    3) BTW, it’s not ALWAYS men who pressure women to breed. My own father (I recently confirmed) didn’t want kids but my mother did, so he went along with it. My mother died a miserable drawn-out death 8 years after I was born, while my dad lost the woman he loved and was stuck with 3 kids he really didn’t want (no violins). I do know what I’m talking about.

    4) “Breeders” is an ecological term applied to plants and animals (of which I am one). Does your religion or politics make you too elite to qualify?

    5) “Pro-sustainable birthrates” does not mean “anti-all-motherhood.” That should not need elaboration, but let me know if it does.

    6) You recognize overconsumption (although you use hyperbolic statistics to make your case, such as “1 American = ~100 Indians”). It doesn’t occur to you that overbreeding IS overconsuming — ESPECIALLY when we project the multiplying effect through future generations. Unfortunately our educational system doesn’t prepare us to think about such things.

    7) I’ve been called right-wing (“Capitalist’s interests”), and I’ve been called left-wing (“Chairman Mao”), depending on who’s doing the accusing. But YOU manage to align me with BOTH! I am duly flattered.

    8) Truth be told, I’m not very good in either role. I’ve never (so far) voted for a Republican in over 40 years of voting. And what would Mao have done with me? Mao forcefully encouraged the Chinese to overbreed! It was his successors who implemented the “One-child” policy — and say what you will, but without that policy China would now have many hundreds of millions more desperately poor citizens, and many more than that soon to come. Imagine that!

    9) Despite all the clues, if you still think most people don’t want to get rich, get yourself a vomit-bag and check out “CRIBS” on MTV. It’s a massively popular global phenomena.

    10) I make an honest effort to build a rational case by presenting facts, not hyperbole, signing my real first and last names to every online comment I make. Trolls don’t do that. If you can’t specifically refute what I say, or back up your own stats, think twice before you accuse anyone else of “trolling.”

    11) You congratulate yourself as “…quite capable of carrying the guilt loads….” This isn’t about guilt. Even if someone already has 10 kids, they shouldn’t have to feel guilty — but they should have to stop breeding. They too might understand (maybe better than the rest of us) why we need to change course, NOW, not some vague time in the ever-receding fuzzy future.

    In conclusion, I repeat — big numbers are easy to dismiss as abstractions, so it’s easy to trivialize 65,000,000 years. But that’s how long it’s been since life on Earth faced a catastrophe of the magnitude humans are imposing RIGHT NOW. And even if all 1st world human populations, or all white people, or the richest 10% of humans magically disappeared, mass extinction would STILL proceed. THAT’s how oppressive our numbers are.

    Let that soak in, if you dare.

  • saltyc

    1) The article was not about the joys of breeding, it was about fair pay. I said you were trolling because you made this about something else. I mean, you had a point at first but then it got lost.

    2) Women in America are being forced to bear children, and it’s not because of multi-culturalism.

    3) Just because your father was coerced into having children does not change that.

    4) It’s not my lack of religion or my politics that can spot a slur when I hear one.

    5) Pro-sustainable birthrates is not anti-motherhood, that was my point. So why are you focused on desparaging mothers?

    6) Ok so a more accurate comaprison is 1 to 60 rather than 1 to 100. Nitpciker.

    7) I didn’t call you a either a capitalist or a communist. I was pointing out that overconsumption was driven by capitalists, not fairness of pay. Reading comprehension would help.

    8) the reference to Mao was from a song called Revoltion by the Beatles. Heard of them? It’s what’s called a metaphor. In olther words, if you truly believe in winning people over, you don’t try hard to piss them off. Get it now?

    9) There has been very good research showing that people aren’t motivated by money. Google Daniel Pink. A show on MTV does not prove that the impulse toward money is coming from people rather than capitalists. Yeah, MTV is run by capitalists. Really.

    10) I don’t need to repeat why you actually are trolling.

    11) Changing course by getting angry when people argue for fairness so that women can be mothers when they want to? No, sorry, that’s not the way. You say you don’t want to make US (they? who’s they? you’re talking to a mother here, you know, a terrible breeder who’se contributing to the mass extinction, remember?) guilty yet you pin the problem of overconsumption on us and don’t talk about capitalism or reproductive freedom so just saying you don’t want to guilt or shame us but rather want to make us stop breeding some other way sounds either disingenuous or scary. It’s already obvious you don’t want to do it by winning anyone over. (see Mao explanation above)

    PS don’t go and assume now (you’re good at that) that this means I don’t care about the current destruction of the planet. I am working hard against that, probably more than you are. I have helped hundreds of women to get out of unwanted pregnancies. There were hundreds more that I could not help because of lack of funding. What I am against is your losing approach. Change it now, not in the fuzzy future.

    Let it soak if I dare? LOL.

  • beenthere72

    I think it’s safe to say that Pat Kittle is the one person around here that is *pro-abortion*.    Have you googled this guy?   Total asshat on many a comment board.    I’m all for protecting the environment and saving the redwoods, but being an asshole to single women trying to raise kids and make a living doesn’t deserve any respect from the likes of us.   Don’t waste your time, Salty!

  • julie-watkins

    you pin the problem of overconsumption on us and don’t talk about capitalism or reproductive freedom

    Trying not to get too far off topic: I’ve got an ambivalent relationship with the “holiday season”, as practiced in the USA. It’s the time I sell the most necklaces (it’s a hobby that pays for itself) but I get tired of all the Buy-Buy-Buy. (Since it’s really OT, I won’t explain why I wanted to rant yesterday).

    I sympathize with those spiritual Christians who object to the hijacking of their holy day for Capitalists to hide behind (“You anti-consumptionists are dissing Christmas! That’s Religious Persecution!”), so the intended subtext is that if you aren’t spending & adding to capitalist’s profits you’re anti-Christian, pffft. And I think ecumenical Christians are also aggravated at the evangelicals using Christmas to proclaim this is Their Holiday & They’re Better & they deserve to Rule & Will Rule. Yuck.  

    As for reproductive freedom, of course the capitalists are taking advantage (or steering) the conservative churches  to coerce/train women to want/sacrifice to produce more children than they might choose otherwise, without the gender training & barriers to choice — because more babies mean more consuming, and (down the line) more housing starts … more profits. Grump again.

  • kittle

    You are far more rude than I am, but be advised, I’ll talk about anything I damn well please, and I don’t your your PC permission to do so.

    YOU are behaving like the troll, if anyone.

    If the rest of life on Earth could weigh in, do you think they’d advocate even MORE billions of humans, or LESS?

    Answer the question, anonymous one.

  • beenthere72

    Why are you arguing with pro-choice women about over-population?   Shouldn’t you be taking this argument to the pro-life blogs?  


  • kittle

    “Green” pretenders like you are part of the reason “environmentalism” is held in such wide contempt.

    I could never reassure you enough that I also care about humanoids*, unless I adopted your PC code of silence about I=PAT (if you were actually serious about ecology you’d know what that means without looking it up).

    When I came of age in the ’60’s overpopulation was briefly a “front-burner” priority. We talked freely about it, and acted accordingly. Since then the humanoid* population has doubled, even more BILLIONS of humanoids* are in the pipeline, and humanoids* like you now slander anyone who dares to speak candidly about it.

    Back then “family planning” actually included the Earth’s biosphere as part of the “planning” — Pete Seeger even wrote a song about it (“We’ll All Be a-Doublin'”). Among many other serious conservationists, the founder of Earth Day considered humanoid* overpopulation to be Earth’s #1 problem. But then you PC “green” pretenders allied yourselves with growth enthusiasts and put a screeching halt to the greenest awakening we’ve ever had.

    In the brief time overpopulation was taken seriously, it was suggested that there are alternatives to breeding, including:
    1) Adopting humanoid* babies.
    2) Adopting animals.
    3) Adopting places.

    I was still a bit naive at the time. I immediately understood the first two options, but adopting a “place” seemed a bit of a reach. As it turned out, I “adopted” the redwood bioregion, and I make no excuses for defending it as passionately the children I might have had in a much less degraded world.

    (* If the word “humanoid” offends your fragile humanoid sense of exclusivity, you’re part of the problem.)


  • beenthere72

    I appreciate your protection of the redwoods, Pat, but you’re barking up the wrong tree here.  Most of us here support ‘personal population control’ through choice.   I think you could consider us supporting your cause.    Take your chatter to the pro-life boards.  

  • crowepps

    (* If the word “humanoid” offends your fragile humanoid sense of exclusivity, you’re part of the problem.)

    “Humanoid” means a machine or living being which has the same general SHAPE as a human being.  I don’t see that there’s any massive contribution to the ‘over-population problem’ by gibbons or gorillas, since like most other primates they tend toward extinction, or that an influx of human shaped robots is stressing the Earth.


    I realize that some people think being in-your-face offensive is necessary to get people’s attention, but the problem with that technique is that once the offensiveness has riveted their attention, they are convinced not that you have a point but instead that your ideology is probably as dumb as your attitude.

  • saltyc

    Your pithy post summed up my entire effort. And you sure rang a bell in my head when you said don’t waste your time. I am struggling with procrastination and need to go on an internet diet yesterday!!!!

  • kittle

    Now that you mention it, I do engage anti-abortion protesters, on the streets, at their own demonstrations.

    We don’t change each others’ positions, but we’ve had honest, frank & surprisingly respectful discussions. Those are good stories, but they would take up too much space for this message board.

    With all due respect, you continue to miss my point.

    You say, “Most of us here support ‘personal population control’ through choice.” Great. But why is sustainable breeding the one ecologically-sound behavior we are afraid to PUBLICLY promote?

    I’m guessing here — you don’t have Hummers, a monster house or blood diamonds. You don’t support wars of empire based on lies. AND… you don’t hesitate to PUBLICLY discourage such things.

    Overbreeding is EVERY BIT as destructive — so why not PUBLICLY discourage it? If you did, you’d get basically the same responses you get discouraging those other ecologically-destructive behaviors:
    —–Some people will resent you, in varying degrees, for varying reasons.
    —–Some people just don’t care.
    —–Some people will already agree with you.
    —–Some people will be delighted to have some missing dots connected.

    Global ecological collapse is proceeding so fast it seems crazy not to try.

  • kittle


  • kittle

    I already answered your question — see my comment:

    [My “chatter”? Well, that’s nicer than your last insult. November 25, 2010 – 2:22am]

    Now how about answering mine? I repeat:

    If the rest of life on Earth could weigh in, do you think they’d advocate even MORE billions of humans, or LESS?

  • kittle

    Right, humans have “the same general SHAPE as a human” — hence we are “humanoids.” Got that?

    You sure don’t have any problem with slanderous & obscene insults (“troll,” “asshat,” etc.) directed at me. 

    I try to make carefully reasoned comments, backed up with facts, not hyperbole. I also use my real name every time, despite the risks. Apparently you can’t refute anything I say, so you (hiding in your own anonymity) get all huffy because I dare to engage in mild sarcasm.

    What you PC humanoids REALLY want is for humanoids like me to present the humanoid demographic nightmare in a bland enough fashion that you can continue ignoring it, as you always have.

    If your preferred approach is so effective, WHEN are you going to start using it? (If you have started using it, why is it such a failure?)

  • beenthere72

    Happy Thanksgiving, Pat. 


  • kittle

    Typical — you’re too embarrassed to answer a relevant question so you ignore it.

    If the question is repeated, you censor it.

    For the record (assuming this comment isn’t censored too)… I repeat:

    If the rest of life on Earth could weigh in, do you think they’d advocate even MORE billions of humans, or FEWER?

  • rebellious-grrl

    Overpopulation is not a result of fair pay. Not a result of subsidized childcare, medical care, public schools, etc…..Overpopulation comes from women’s disempowerment.

    The issue of fair pay for women goes beyond women with children or not. I want to receive a fair salary for my work. If I am doing work equal to a man (all things equal), I expect to be paid the same. Pitting women against each other is what the opposition to fair pay wants. I don’t have children and don’t plan to have children but I support my family and friends that have decided to have children. I don’t want to have children — It’s just not for me. I love spending time with my nieces and nephews, but I can’t do it 24-7.  I think families that decide to have children should be supported by society, and those who decide not to have children should also be supported.

    There has been a sustained effort to make people depend on their jobs more than on their friends and families and society in order to create the monster we call our present consumerist society.

    So true.

  • kittle

    THIS ARTICLE: “Fair Pay Could Mean a More Fertile Future”

    YOU & SALTYC: “Overpopulation is not a result of fair pay.”

    (Take that up with Elizabeth, who wrote this article.)

    As for me, I PUBLICLY advocate fairness for all humans.

    I also PUBLICLY encourage sustainable birthrates — a major taboo here, obviously. You’d think I’m defending Wall Street banksters. All I’m really doing is advocating fairness for rapidly vanishing non-human life.

  • arekushieru

    Your question isn’t being censored.  That would have meant that your comment was removed.  But, if you click on the grey-highlighted tab with your name, you’ll find that your comment now appears in full, JUST like you originally wrote it.  So, stop whining and creating strawmen arguments.

  • arekushieru

    Umm, it’s rather amusing that you haven’t realized that you’ve just revealed yourself to be the troll you are and the reason why your comments have been ‘collapsed’ (NOT censored).  By saying that Elizabeth is the one they should take the issue up with, you’ve either inadvertently disclosed that you are derailing the topic (on PURpose), because you were never really talking about her article (even though you made a connection between fair pay and overpopulation, yourSELF), in the first place, or you really don’t understand what the topic is about but thought to put your two cents in, anyways, after all.  

    We have no problem with encouraging sustainable birth rates.  However, you, with your singular lack of comprehension have been unable to see that your questions have been answered in the very responses you have directed my fellow commenters to ask elsewhere (ie. Elizabeth).  Or with your typical strawmen, have been unable to answer our OWN questions.  So, let me enlighten you.   The FACT that we are saying that overpopulation is not a result of fair pay, MEANS that we are asking for sustainable birth rates.

    Besides, you sound much like a person who is demanding that we change from a more oppresive form of a kyriarchy to a less oppressive form.  (Ie, changing from a patriarchy to a matriarchy.)  Benevolent oppression is still oppression, after all.  (Benevolent) Oppression because, for the good of all other species, you deem that a certain group of humans (a group that you are not a part of, I guess I must remind you) must be denied equality with any other group of humans.

  • arekushieru

    I am not annoyed.  There go your ASSumptions again (and, no, the capitalization of the first three letters of that word does NOT mean that I am annoyed.  It’s emphasis and a pointed reminder of what assumptions make out of BOTH you and me, which I don’t appreciate.  Learn the difference).  Fair pay is not perfection.  It’s a start.  That’s it, that’s all.  

    I am talking about a certain segment of the human population because you are ignoring them (along with women) in your own attempts to create a different form of oppression.  And it was in *direct* response to crowepps own argument, on top of that.  Like someone else mentioned to you, reading comprehension is your friend.  

  • kevin-browning

    Women don’t get compensated fairly for many things, even here in the U.S. It should anger all of us, and we should stand up against the mistreatment of women, not only here, but especially elsewhere, where the abuse is much worse. The empowerment of women and girls is one of the most beautiful things I can imagine. 

    But this article sucks. There is no excuse for portraying higher birthrates in a positive light. More people is bad for everything, unless you are one of the diseases or parasites that feed on us. Let me know if I need to explain the misery and destruction caused by adding more people to this world.

    Perhaps the biggest problem with politics is the games people play in order to push their agenda. All sides are guilty, though some individuals try to be more honest than others. For example, the rhetoric of “pro life” is just as deceptive and vague as “pro choice.” Most readers here are probably well versed in the hypocrisy of the “pro life” agenda, so I won’t elaborate on that here, unless someone asks me to.

    Instead, I want to talk candidly about some problems with the “pro choice” movement. Let me first point out that I once organized a counter demonstration to Operation Rescue. I was also an activist in a pro-choice club, and I did enough volunteer work for Planned Parenthood, they eventually gave me a free vasectomy. I’m a strong supporter of women’s rights in general.

    But I’m not a supporter of women’s wrongs, and I won’t hesitate to point them out. It seems to me the term “pro choice” was strategically invented in order to appeal the American values of individual freedom. This was a tactical decision to counter the appeal of “pro life” rhetoric, in order to keep abortion legal. 

    Personally, though I don’t think abortion is fun for anybody, I do think it’s important for it to remain legal. But the idea that it’s a sacred right for any woman to choose when, and how many, children to have, has no moral or rational basis. Any behavior that affects others should allow for those affected to have some say in the matter. And everyone is affected by childbearing.

    Some people are dangerous to children for many possible reasons. Some people can’t afford children. And some planets can’t afford more people. We have laws that control who can adopt, so why not laws that control who can create? My own cousin and his girlfriend (both were drug-dealing gangsters) had three kids, whom they abandoned in a crack house. After the parents were sent to prison, the kids were in need of parents. Fortunately, my mother took in one, my grandparents took in another, and the third went to various foster homes.

    When my cousin got out of prison six years later (the mother may still be in prison), did he change, get a vasectomy, or take care of his offspring? No, he had a couple more kids. But he and the mother are just a couple examples of people who should not have been allowed to have kids, at least not when they did have them.

    I could go on and on about the moral fallacy of “pro choice.” Hopefully you will be able to think about it honestly and clearly enough, so I don’t have to. 

    The timber industry says things like, “there are more trees now than there were a hundred years ago.” Well, it’s true. But it’s dishonest. The trees are WAY smaller now, the habitat was destroyed, and the total bio-mass has been greatly diminished. “Pro choice” is just as hollow and deceptive—it’s simply emotion-inducing rhetoric that millions of people have convinced themselves actually has some merit. It doesn’t. Do you think people should be able to do anything they want, even if it harms others? Of course not. So why do women get this sacred right?

    I guess if you tell a big enough lie, people will believe it. Especially if they have a victim complex, and the lie gives them some special privilege. It’s the same reason that otherwise-intelligent people, who want to be in denial about forest destruction, will believe the statistical deceptions put out by the timber industry. 

    I think honesty is the only thing that will ultimately bring good to this world. Political games won’t. “Pro choice” is a political game without any moral or rational basis—it’s just more manipulation of selfish motives, in order to push an agenda where those who are pushing it have convinced themselves that the ends justify the means. It’s wrong and it will ultimately backfire. Strange thing is, most of you have probably already convinced yourselves that it’s right. It’s not, not on any grounds. Never has been.




  • kittle

    (“Umm” has long since become a cutesy-cliched way to start a comment, but that’s the least of your lapses.)

    Since you’re a slow learner, I repeat — “trolls” don’t use their real names. I do. How about you? “Trolls” call others obscenities. I don’t. But I am called an obscenity and that doesn’t bother you at all.

    I repeat:

    If the rest of life on Earth could weigh in, do you think they’d advocate even MORE billions of humans, or FEWER?

    Funny how you self-pitying humanoids NEVER answer that one. Pathetic, but funny.

  • kittle

    I said nothing whatsoever out of line, even if it doesn’t pass through your sanctimonious PC filter.

    I NEVER stoop to your level, even when I’m called obscenities, as I am in this forum.

    Unlike you, I take free speech seriously.

  • beenthere72

    It doesn’t creep you out just a little that I was able to figure out what you look like and where you live in a matter of minutes?     Now try hanging out in a space that attracts people that support the murdering of doctors, that accuse us of being murderers, that stalk our clinics, and could quite possibly stalk us.   There have been credible threats on this board.   We have families to protect, jobs to protect, ourselves to protect;  hence the need for anonymity.  


    I mean, seriously: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-abortion_violence


    Judging from your “conversations” on Santa Cruz message boards, you are not a nice person, to say the least.   ‘Asshat’ is probably not obscene enough.

  • kittle

    My my you are not only a nasty hypocrite, you are also a coward. I already told you I know the risks of using my real name. I already told you I say all this stuff PUBLICLY. “PUBLICLY,” get it?

    All I’ve done here is advocate for non-human life, which is being crowded out of existence by overbreeding humanoids.

    For my efforts, you call me “asshole” — which you can do that safely with me, I won’t hurt you. But maybe you tried that on the wrong humanoids — for example, right here in Santa Cruz, CA we have illegal aliens that would blow your head off if you called them that. But of course you wouldn’t — underneath your bluster you’re a timid anonymous PC coward, who’s happy to censor (“collapse”) factual comments you can’t handle.

    I never stoop to your cowardly petty potty-mouthed level, even in retaliation.

  • kittle

    Nothing I’ve said here is remotely as nasty as what’s directed at me, yet my comments are mysteriously being censored (“collapsed”).

    I stick to facts, and use nothing stronger than mild sarcasm.

    Just curious — do you approve of this? If not, are you powerless to stop it?

    An honest explanation of how your censorship/collapse policy works would be appreciated.

  • kittle

    I said nothing whatsoever out of line, even if it doesn’t pass through your sanctimonious PC filter.

    I NEVER stoop to your level, even when I’m called obscenities, as I am in this forum.

    Unlike you, I take free speech seriously.

  • beenthere72

    Dialogue with you is a waste of time.   

  • rebellious-grrl

    I doubt Rush would agree with anything I say. Being that I’m an eco-feminist he pretty much would poo poo anything from me. But I digress.

    What is your point? Talking about sustainable birth rates is certainly NOT taboo here. I fully support sustainable birth rates. Blaming the destruction of the earth and the destruction of non-human life on women is offensive. Working towards women being empowered world-wide would do more for a sustainable earth than blaming and belittling others.

    What I took away from the article was an analysis of gender in the workplace, gender and paid and non-paid work. If women had more money they might have more children, then again they might not.

  • rebellious-grrl
  • rebellious-grrl

    Pat, you are the strangest troll I have encountered on this site. I’m using the term troll because you’re derailing the conversation to a very negative end, and you’ve been very rude to people here.

    I agree with you about advocating for non-human life. Humans need non-humans to survive, non-humans don’t need humans to survive. Humans need to live sustainability with the earth. But, yelling at us and blaming women who want equal pay for equal work is wrong and not helping! I’m childfree by choice but I don’t blame my friends/family who have children. I teach my younger family members about nature, sustainability with nature, and how to respect the earth. They listen to me because I’m not screaming at them.

    Just saying, your barking up the wrong tree and being a jerk about it. Why don’t you argue at an anti-choice website? Or a an anti-envornmental site? Or a climate change denier site?

  • elizabeth-gregory

    Hi Pat,

    To answer your immediate question, the system operates by its own rules, not mine. Seems to respond to the votes your comment gets, and seems to go into effect after a day or so.

    Re your point about destruction of species, it is horrible.  Fewer people globally, and certainly not many more people, would be one way to address it (along with pollution management, warming reduction…).  

    As in my comment above, I think there’s a difference between what you’re understanding me to have said (pro higher birth rates) and what I intended (suggesting that there would be less of a decline in US birth rates [currently at replacement] with fair pay than without it).  

    You said:


    As human beings blithely continue multiplying by the billions, non-human beings vanish ever faster and forever into extinction. Yes, life on Earth is literally in its greatest catastrophe in 65,000,000 years. Do you ever contemplate such things?

    Because here’s all you have to say about it:

    “Of course there are positives to a falling fertility rate, since overcrowding is a global environmental problem.  But since a lower birthrate also brings big social and economic stresses…”

    In effect you’re saying global ecological collapse is preferable to abandoning the delusional pursuit of endless growth (“a more fertile future”).”

    I responded that I actually said more than that on the topic, in the bit you buried in the elllipses:

    But since a lower birthrate also brings big social and economic stresses, some judicious investment in future generations seems crucial.”

    The hard part in writing pieces of this (short) length on complex topics like global fertility, is that you’re forced to focus on particular elements of the larger topic and leave other things for elsewhere. The word “judicious” was meant to suggest that the investment in future generations should include recognition of the many environmental issues I could not address here.   

    I appreciate that your focus is on species destruction, which deserves much more attention. 


  • kittle

    (If you’re a teenager you may have an excuse for hiding behind such a silly egotistical screen name.)

    You don’t seem to even read what I say carefully, because I have to keep repeating myself. I’m not trying to stop all humanoid breeding, although that’s what you people seem to read into my comments.

    I repeat — I stick to facts, and use nothing stronger than mild sarcasm.

    How often do breeders show any consideration for the vastly important contribution non-breeders make? If “it takes a village to raise a child” the village ought to have a say in whether the would-be parents dump that burden on the village. As it is now, parents think they should be allowed to breed without limit, and non-breeders should just shut up and pick up the tab.

    Any objection to that brings on the obscenities and slander and censorship (you call me a troll, so presumably you’d delete my comments entirely if you could).

    We are rapidly approaching an enormous ecological crash, and the children of today are going to be stuck in it. It’s going to be incredibly ugly, and all your complaining isn’t going to help at all. All today’s problems will seem laughably trivial.

    The only real chance we have is to seriously put the brakes on the very thing that got us in this mess in the first place — human overbreeding. I’m not defending greed or social injustice — but that’s been around a loooong tiime, and if you think we’ll fix that FIRST and THEN stop overbreeding, you’re sadly mistaken. Future generations will not appreciate your folly.

    This article suggests even more “fertility” is highly desirable, and I am refuting that, using my real name and no obscenities. And you’re calling me the troll. Now THAT’s funny.

  • kittle

    THAT is exactly the kind of sloppy reasoning that the Earth cannot afford.

    BTW, I’m clear of the concept that it takes two to breed — I never singled out women for irresponsible overbreeding — men are just as responsible, if not more so. You’re reading your own sense of victimhood into what I say. Don’t.

  • kittle


    Thanks for your civil reply (it’s unusual around here).

    You clearly think fertility is too low now. It’s not. We are fast approaching a cliff, and our top priority should be hitting the brakes, not worrying about stopping too fast.

    No offense intended, but given your priorities, I doubt if you really understand the dire ecological straits we’re in (or you wouldn’t be encouraging fertility above what we now have).

    What sources do you get your ecological information from?

    Best regards,

     — Pat Kittle

  • elizabeth-gregory

    I am not “encouraging fertility above what we now have.” I do not say that fertility is too low.  The essay is a discussion of the way low pay may depress the birthrate – as inequity has down in Germany, Italy and Japan – to less than replacement.  It considers the extent to which this is desirable, and suggests that the decline in the rate might be less with equal pay than without it, but in either case it’s about decline.  “More fertile” was not in my title – but I think the editor who added that meant not “more fertile than now” but “more fertile than would otherwise be the case.”  



  • arekushieru

    you continue to ignore the FACTS that we have answered your question, rePEATedly and that we have never said anything about you trying to stop all humanoid breeding.  Because what we are ACTually talking about is the fact that fair pay is a less oppressive way of conCURrently reducing overpopulation levels than what YOU are proposing.  

    Since Elizabeth’s article said nothing about encouraging ‘overbreeding’   (another reason that I must assume that it is not ourselves who aren’t doing the reading), and I (et al) am going by that assumption, the only possible  reason (and, thus, method) that I can think of for you to propose any of your solutions is to reduce population below replacement levels (by denying the fair pay act)      

  • kevin-browning

    Just checking to see if this blog is still open. I might add more later.