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Rightwing pressure to have children has no place in a world facing ecological and social catastrophe

Stable Planet Alliance's advisory board chair, Nandita Bajaj, writes in a letter to The Guardian:

Kenan Malik’s article is an excellent expose of the rise in rightwing populism across the globe (“Conservative calls for women to have more babies hide pernicious motives”, Comment).

Coercive pronatalism – pressures to compel women to have more children – inspired by nationalism, xenophobia, militarism or market fundamentalism is at an all-time high, and is a threat to reproductive rights everywhere. The decline in fertility rates is cause for celebration because it represents greater gender equality and greater reproductive autonomy in countries where it occurring.

This is a distant reality for the more than 250 million girls and women who do not have access to education, autonomy or reproductive health care services in order to decide whether and when to have children. A globally unified effort to elevate reproductive rights, not squash them for ideological agendas, is what is urgently needed. In addition, the billions of dollars going towards such coercive pronatalist policies would be better used towards climate mitigation efforts, rewilding, supporting an aging population and assisting the more than 1 billion people expected to become climate refugees in the coming decades. On a planet facing numerous ecological and social catastrophes, bemoaning a decline in national fertility rates is a reprehensible distraction.

Nandita Bajaj, executive director, Population Balance Toronto, Canada

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