Conservative and child-free

We should tread carefully in pressuring others into marriage and/or families. When promotion of child rearing becomes pressure to raise children (as it has been for centuries), how is this sound, or even conservative, public policy? Stable families, and in particular families independent of government assistance, emerge when individuals – without outside pressure – desire to build families. If history indicates anything, it’s that this desire is widespread, naturally occurring, and definitely not in need of any it-takes-a-village encouragement. It’s unconservative, recklessly so, to push the idea of having kids just for the sake of having kids. After all, the person who truly wishes to, and who is able to, will reach that conclusion on his or her own.

Far too many women have a child, then another, then another because, well, it’s something to do or even because their friends are all giving birth. Women often reproduce before they are ready – or even despite true interest in being mothers at all. When the marriage crumbles under the weight of unhappiness, or when the woman finds herself unfulfilled by motherhood, how is society better off? This is not a very conservative outcome – which is why conservatives often caution against welfare benefits incentivizing the (undesirable) outcome of single motherhood. So why would conservatives encourage motherhood among women who just don’t want to be mothers?