Birth Control

  • The Voice of Reason: Essays in Objectivist Thought

    The capacity to procreate is merely a potential which man is not obligated to actualize. The choice to have children or not is morally optional. Nature endows man with a variety of potentials — and it is his mind that must decide which capacities he chooses to exercise, according to his own hierarchy of rational goals and values.

    The mere fact that man has the capacity to kill, does not mean that it is his duty to become a murderer; in the same way, the mere fact that man has the capacity to procreate, does not mean that it is his duty to commit spiritual suicide by making procreation his primary goal and turning himself into a stud-farm animal. . . .

    To an animal, the rearing of its young is a matter of temporary cycles. To man, it is a lifelong responsibility — a grave responsibility that must not be undertaken causelessly, thoughtlessly or accidentally.

    In regard to the moral aspects of birth control, the primary right involved is not the “right” of an unborn child, nor of the family, nor of society, nor of God. The primary right is one which — in today’s public clamor on the subject — few, if any, voices have had the courage to uphold: the right of man and woman to their own life and happiness — the right not to be regarded as the means to any end.