SAAP Annual Meeting 2013

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Functional Families: Defending the Childless by Choice

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Timothy McCune
Southern Illinois University Carbondale
United States

In light of recent social conditions, such as increased population growth and urbanization, nearly one in five women in her early 40s is childless in the U.S., many by choice. Meanwhile, continued growth is encouraged for economic reasons, and the use and availability of birth-control has encountered renewed political and social resistance. I argue here that childless couples can still function as families, and their life-choice should not be viewed as “anti-life.” A functional family may include associations of mutual support, love or caring, respect and understanding amongst its members, and cooperation, meaningful communication, and commitment. Not only might a childless couple by choice experience these family features with each other, they can also extend their family sphere into their work and community. As we move toward a stable global population, childlessness should be seen as a viable, culturally acceptable family option.


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