Boy will this be controversial.
A recent shooting in the US got me researching the local gun laws. While gun laws are famously lax in America, one still needs a license to buy. Switzerland has a similar situation. You still need a license to use a gun, because there’s a lot of responsibility that comes with a gun. In America, you also need a license to fish and to hunt. After all, you could affect animal populations too greatly and destabilize the local biome. Of course, one needs a license to drive in all countries. We, as humans, require others to have licenses to do activities that bear responsibility. We can’t trust a person who hasn’t been qualified to do something. This is logical.
To which I ask, why aren’t we doing the same with child-bearing?
Surely giving birth and raising a child can only be performed by responsible parents. Yet, for some reason, we allow any person who is willing (or not) to raise a child without any qualifications. We require people to have a license to fish, yet anyone can raise a child.
It is a known fact that children raised in poverty or with unwilling or irresponsible parents are more likely to be involved with crime. They have an unstable childhood, which leads to an unstable adulthood. People might argue by saying that forcing hopeful parents to undergo tests might be restricting their freedom, but so is forcing hopeful gun owners to get a license. Raising a child requires much more responsibility and knowledge than using a firearm.
There is an interesting statistic from the book Freakonomics. Freakonomics made shockwaves when it came out due to its unconventional economic theories. One such theory – perhaps its most controversial – involved crime.
Freakonomics states that the massive drop in crime in America in the mid-1990s wasn’t due to better policing or drug control, but population. Abortion had been legalized nationwide roughly twenty years earlier, in 1970. The authors posited the theory that this was why crime dropped in the 90s. The women in the early 70s who normally would be giving birth to criminals of the 90s weren’t because they were aborting them. Most women who would be getting abortions were more poor and lived more unstable lives, meaning their children would’ve been more likely to grow up to be criminals. That meant that crime dropped in the 90s simply because the number of criminals did as well.
This theory could be applied to the tests for parenthood. Parents who pass these certain tests would be more likely to raise upstanding citizens. This system, while completely hypothetical, could lead to a drop in crime, just as a bonus.
One could make the argument that this could unjustly punish victims of rape or people who accidentally became pregnant and want to keep the child. If this system were to come into place, I would make sure the punishment is light. Not too light that nobody would follow the rule, but not too harsh so as to punish people for having a failed birth control. Perhaps exceptions could be made in these cases.
I understand that this is definitely an unpopular opinion. I have spoken to a friend about this, and he outright told me I was crazy. I think though that certain restrictions on freedom are necessary to create a better community. We accept restrictions on most things, why not this? It would lead to a populace with a more stable home life, more willing parents and probably a lower crime rate. I know my idea might never catch on, but if it causes just one person to think, I’ll be happy.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and are not necessarily endorsed by The Update. We encourage anyone who would like to send an opinion piece to sign up in the join us section of the website.