What is the most magnificent thing that any woman can achieve from sex? Is it to attain fleeting feelings of bliss and union? Could it be to find a cure for aging or even loneliness? Surely the answer should be: creating a new human being.
In his self-published book Sex, Meaning and Procreation, Dr. Harry Becker explores the disturbing contrasts between three closely linked themes: firstly, the magnificence of creation, secondly the whimsical and occasional nature of the sexual acts and thirdly, the unpredictable, risky and potentially unsafe future of each new existence. Dr. Becker exposes the selfish nature of procreation that leaves the reader with no doubt that humans are generally created from acts of self-indulgence.
The mystery of conception and choice
The ideas offered in his book are not original. The author confesses the profound influence of Richard Dawkins' The Selfish Gene, first published in 1976, where the writer attempts to place human procreation in an evolutionary context. Each new coming into existence of human life places on the new parents and on society, a huge burden of responsibility and unintended consequences. This presents us with another puzzle. A woman's genetically induced optimism, overconfidence, wishful thinking and the pervasive tendency to self-delusion tends to blind her to the very probable misfortune and suffering of the life she will give birth to. In this context the very frequent occurrence of unwanted and unplanned pregnancies is a tragedy that should never happen and should be entirely avoided.
If women willingly have unsafe sex and/or if the environment that women live in is unsafe then our intelligence as humans must be renewed with a sense of moral consciousness and justice to the risks on every new life and all of life, a reality which needs to be carefully and compassionately explored.
According to U.N. sources there are up to 150 million street children in the world today. Many of these children are born into families with existing socioeconomic challenges. The reality of making "provision" for the lives has to be seen in the context of the enormous levels of physical, emotional and spiritual deprivation that this new life will be exposed to when they are born into families with socioeconomic challenges or to younger women who leave children to be brought up by their grandmothers.
On what is to be done
Women leaders, women in the judiciary and women in politics need to unite with a growing sense of urgency to involve experts, social workers, lawmakers, human rights champions, celebrity writers, parents and young people to engage on the issue of the Rights of the Unborn Human and to find solutions to reduce unprotected sex, the pervasive rape culture, unwanted pregnancies and unconscious parenting through public education, so that there would be fewer unwanted and neglected humans. We need to:
- Create awareness on the Rights of the Unborn Human -- the right to a name and nationality, the right to health and nutritious foods and the right to survival and development;
- Raise interest and attach more value on these rights before conception;
- Take particular interest on the entire life of women who deny themselves so that they may provide for the newly born life;
- Find out from women what their circumstances were when they conceived and why they decided to bring a new life in the absence of provision;
- Take particular interest in experiences of teenagers becoming mothers at the age of 16 and younger, with no support from the father, and the great sacrifices that are required to bring up a new life with limited resources;
- Follow up on cases of fathers who are not providing for the new life they have co created;
- Check and ratify what South African law says about parents who do not provide for their children; and
- Monitor how far children are able to progress in life without provision.
Implications to state resources
The government needs to be transparent about the reality of having to care for a growing population. The more humans are born the more responsibility on government to provide resources and opportunities; be it grants, early childhood development, education or employment. If our country continues to have less educated and subsequently less employable citizens the consequence is that there will be less tax payers. The implications also to childcare are due to the low rate of marriage, the high rate of divorce and high rate of teen pregnancy.
We must think about the future of new humans and about the suffering we bring into the world by creating them without consideration of the unprepared environment to which they are born and we must discourage random and unprotected sexual interactions. At a practical level it is clear that the present state of unconscious conception, unwanted pregnancies, family dysfunction and domestic violence, including child molestation, is unsustainable for our country's economy.