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America's Reproductive Slaves

America's Reproductive Slaves

Chris Hedges

On Wednesday, the day it was announced that the U.S. birthrate fell for the fourth straight year, signaling the lowest number of births in 32 years, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed into law the most draconian anti-abortion law in the country. That the two developments came at the same time could not have been more revelatory.


“If women refuse to produce children at levels desired by economic planners, Brown says, then abortion and contraception will be banned or made difficult to obtain.”

Sort of sounds like we are all just “economic” cogs, now doesn’t it. Not me, as I heretically did not procreate. Money was supposed to serve man (tally stick anyone?) not vice versa. What a pathologically sick system has evolved. It must be crushed and the likely causative agent will be anthropogenically induced climate change largely driven by the “economic” system itself. Beyond Shakespeare.


“Birth Strike”? No, it is simply a demographic fact that as incomes rise, birth rates fall. For example, both Western Europe and Japan have lower birth rates than the US, and if you look at demographic trends across all countries, you will find that as GDP rises and infant mortality rates fall, birth rates fall as well.

As to the point that Sweden has one of the highest birth rates in the EU, Chris fails to note that it is still less than the US birthrate, even with all the parental leave that Sweden provides.

Sorry Chris, there is no grand conspiracy here. It’s just demographics.


“America’s corporate state has no intention of funding programs and building institutions to ease the burden of rearing and nurturing children. Yes, the corporate state needs young bodies as fodder for the bloated military and endless foreign wars. Yes, it needs workers, especially a surplus of workers, to toil in menial, poorly compensated labor.”

What? What are you talking about? There has never been a surplus of labor anywhere in the world! If you are unemployed, it’s your fault! There is a good paying job for anyone who wants one!

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Although Hedges’ “birth strike” hypothesis applies in high rent urban (and some not so urban) venues, it is less applicable in medium and low rent areas.

I worked in Seattle for 25 years and lived in an 80 year old two bedroom/one bath house. With the same income in the midwest, south, or other low rent parts of the US a new house on the fairway with a four car garage would have cost as much as my “vintage” two bed/one bath in Seattle.

Not to mention that we barely had enough parking space for a Honda Civic…forget the minivan, SUV or crew cab pickup that exurban and rural breeders haul their kids around in.


Hedges sez:
“These Christian fascists … have little regard for the sanctity of life.”

They are, however, down with the sanctity of gestation. And patriarchy.


The escalating attempts at stripping away power from women goes hand in hand with the collapse of the biosphere.

Psychopaths, sociopaths,malignant narcissists are sucking the life blood out of everything on this earth and will, if allowed, render earth uninhabitable.

It boils down to greed, patriarchy, objectification and power over:
women, all nonhuman life, all ecosystems and indigenous peoples.

Women are used just as “natural resources” are used as supply for those in power.

Women having power over their lives, their bodies does not fit into the narrative of pathological beings.

Objectifying (calling living things, “resources”), controlling, extracting, raping and pillaging is ramping up:


How about this, there is some truth to all the things mentioned here as “variables” Another variable is that the baby boomer generation (an artificial increase) is returning to a normalized level. However, use of birthing laws to determine the birthrate and other manipulations is really gross negligence and subject to a lot of manipulation. You can make better comparisons, what is a stable birthrate in the U.S. historically?

Great informative column and another good reason why capitalism must be destroyed and replaced by socialism.

I remember when there were Personnel Departments before they became Human Resource Departments. We’re just resources to be thrown away when we’re no longer useful and soon will be thrown out onto the street unless there are some family members willing to feed and house us until we die.

It is amazing to me how far people will go to make the human race some sort of divine or exceptional dust, and stardust is nothing so special.

Human emotion seems to always corrupt reason. I do believe the odds are against us and that the human race will soon join the other 99% extinct creatures, but I hope I’m wrong.

Due to the fact that women are now able to obtain abortion-inducing medications for safe self abortions “(Misoprostol, which is also used to treat ulcers, can be ordered online.)” the new anti-abortion laws, such as Alabama’s, seek to make abortion a Class A felony and throw women who have abortions in jail for 99 years although I suspect they would soon make abortion a death penalty capital offense.

If only we could abort conservatives!

Post-Roe America Won’t Be Like Pre-Roe America. It Will Be Worse.
The new abortion bans are harsher than the old ones.


What a wonderful world you present where no one needs to work for a minimum wage much less be unemployed.


The Birth Rate in Sweden is higher than the USA. Added to that the Birth Rate in Sweden from 1960 to today dropped from 2.17 to 1.85. The USA from 1960 dropped from 3.65 to 1.80.


Using Sweden as a metric for the U.S. is really a stretch.

Fern, the rate has dropped steadily. The birth rate, as denominated in births per 1,000 people has dropped from 30.1 in 1900 to 13.8 in 2009 (and it continues to decrease). From 1972 to 2000 it fluctuated between 14.5 and 16.7, so it was fairly stable. In the 50’s until 64 it was averaging about 25.0.

I stand corrected. I was looking at 2009 data when the US was 2.0 and Sweden was 1.9. Today Sweden is slightly ahead - 1.85 versus 1.84

Oh, thanks for that information. There have been a lot of different influences over that span of time. Infant mortality was a huge factor in the early 1900’s and epidemics like the Spanish flu that killed millions of people. There are trends where people adapt to these changes, adapting to our circumstances has really been one sided for a long time.

Concurrent with reduced birth rate, US infant mortality/maternal death rate has continued to increase while life expectancy has continued to decline during the past 25 years.


As indicated in 1960 the Birth rate in Sweden was 2.17.
The Infant mortality rate was 16.13.

Today the Birth rate is 1.85.
The Infant mortality rate is 2.16.

In 1960 US Birth rate was 3.64
Today it is 1.80.

Infant mortality rate in 1960 was 26
Today it is 6.0.

For a decrease in infant mortalilty in the USA of about 4 times, the birth rate dropped by nearly half. For a decrease in infant mortality in Sweden of 8 times the Birth rate dropped by 15 percent.

From 1960 to today Swedens GDP has not grown faster than the USA. The overall growth has been about the same.

You over state the correlation. While certainly true that as wealth increases birth rates drop, policy differences play a significant role. Just as example when Albertas economy here in Canada boomed through the early 2000s and on there was a baby boom. When the economy slowed the birth rate dropped. The booming economy had people deciding they could afford to have larger families.

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I think Chris is right on the mark here, as he almost always is. All you have to do is watch the reflexive Libertarian ax-grinding which quickly appears in defense of the Holy Grail of

Chris Hedges has expertly and accurately cut through the thick swirling fog of propaganda and BS which surrounds this issue. The “conventional wisdoms” on this topic have been so inculcated into the consciousness of Americans by the State, the Media, and the Church, that it is hard to see the forest for the trees.

Good job, Chris! Thank you!

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It is a pretty honest article in my opinion. I guess there is a link between birth rate and extractive dominated industry as this is a pretty clear correlation.


Yes but the war on women is not an outcome of demography but of an organized effort led by the chuches and Republican Party to vastly expand capitalist patriarchy.