Retired NFL player Benjamin Watson is husband to Kirsten and father of seven precious children. He recently wrote an excellent opinion piece in Newsweek titled “To Address America’s Declining Birth Rate, We Need a Culture of Life.” Ben says this:
Americans aren’t having kids like they used to. The most recent census shows that the U.S. birth rate has hit its lowest level since 1979. In fact, the birth rate has fallen almost every year since 1991. Today, at just 1.64 births per woman, American families aren’t even having enough babies to meet the replacement rate of 2.1 births.
Our plummeting birth rate is a complex issue, of course. But it presents a unique problem for our country. We need to view this trend as a part of a broad and deeply concerning cultural drift away from the importance of the family.
…raising a family is hard, and not just economically or financially. Aspiring parents need things like job security and health care, that’s for sure. But they also need a robust life-respecting culture that supports mothers, encourages fathers and inspires young couples to raise families.
Our historically low birth rate is the canary in the coal mine; it’s a sure sign that we don’t have that kind of culture anymore. Young parents need support and guidance, but our culture gives them confusion, doubt, worry, pessimism and fear. Instead of uplifting and protecting the dignity of families, our culture seems to systematically devalue them.
(Read the rest of his excellent article here.)
Ben points out a major anti-family issue in our culture:
It’s almost impossible to understate the scale of devastation that abortion is wreaking on the family. With our historically low birth rate, the census data reports that there were just over 3.6 million babies born in 2020. The pro-choice Guttmacher Institute reported that in 2017, the last year of available data, there were more than 860,000 abortions.
Not only are fewer people than ever before finding their way to a full appreciation and embrace of the family, but hundreds of thousands of babies are being killed every year by the for-profit abortion industry. Our culture doesn’t just devalue the family and discourage pregnancy; it actively supports killing what few children are conceived.
One of the pro-choice claims I address in my book ProChoice or ProLife? is “The world is overpopulated, so the fewer births the better.” As I explain in the book, the problem of a shrinking population propagates itself. Because today’s women have fewer children, there will be fewer parents tomorrow, resulting in still fewer children. Fewer and fewer people having fewer and fewer children adds up to dying societies.
Society used to view children as an asset. Now we view them as a liability. Even in the church people with large families tend to be looked at like they’re weird, because we’ve bought into the Planned Parenthood mentality that children are inconveniences that interfere with our lifestyles. But Psalm 127 says children are a blessing from the Lord.
Ben points out, “…people need to hear the truth about children. They need to hear stories and learn from perspectives that center the inherent worth, dignity and beauty of loving a brand-new person into existence. People need to be inspired by the special, simple glory of raising a new human being the world has never seen before.”
As God’s people, may we demonstrate to the world that parenthood is a joy and a calling, far more important than any vocation. Our children and grandchildren are an ongoing investment, a gift we leave to a world we won’t be part of, but which we will impact for eternity through the generations that follow us. And for those unable to have children of their own, adoption is a possibility, so is foster care, and the investment in the life of a child through mentorship and example is also eternity-impacting! Creating a culture of life involves people from every life stage joining together to uphold God’s plan for the family and the dignity of each person, created in His image.