les knight at thinking billboard

Les Knight demonstrates message of our public service announcement, displayed on McLoughlin Blvd in Portland, Oregon in February 2024

A couple’s biggest decision in life doesn’t always get the scrutiny it deserves. Our message is a small attempt to encourage thinking about what it means to co-create an all new human being and to care for it. “Is the default life what we both want?”

“First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a baby in a baby carriage.” It isn’t for everyone, though it seems like that’s what’s expected.

Every couple will have different questions to ask themselves and each other. What’s important is making sure they’re in agreement about what they want in life. Many couples split up when they realize parenting isn’t as much fun as they imagined it would be. Honest discussions before making this life-changing decision could avoid a lot of heartbreak and years of convoluted co-parent scheduling. “Oops. I thought it was your weekend.”

Thinking rationally about bringing another person into the world, romatically called “having a baby, having a child” or “starting a family,” isn’t easy for most of us. Natalist conditioning begins early in life and never lets up. Social and familial pressures influence most of us, and require emotional resolve to resist. Many find that giving in doesn’t end the pressure: “When are you going to give them a sibling so they won’t be lonely or spoiled?”

Procreation has always been considered a personal choice, entirely up to the couple. Attempts to dissuade them would be rude, no matter how unwise it may look. Friends might announce they’re pregnant and, even if you think, “Are you out of your minds? You can’t even take care of yourselves,” there’s only one acceptable word: congratulations.

When a couple thinks beyond their own desires, and considers existing family members, their community, society as a whole, the environment, and especially the prospective new human, they’ll have a better idea of what it means to bring someone into existence. Thinking could save couples a lot of grief.

Many people deep down might not want to spend 20 years of their youth raising offspring. As Ogden Nash wrote, “The trouble with a kitten is that eventually it becomes a cat.”

Fortunately, in the US we do have a choice, if we think independently enough. More younger people are questioning co-creating more of us when the future looks so harsh. Often they’re barely supporting themselves and home ownership isn’t looking affordable, even if they don’t procreate. The future isn’t what it used to be.


Choosing to remain childfree liberates women from traditional roles. In the US, childcare often costs as much as a woman earns, so it doesn’t pay to hire someone else to raise a child. Maternity leave is short and few employers can afford to make it long enough to match breastfeeding.

Since 44% of conceptions in the US are unintended, it’s apparent that contraceptive health services are falling short. This also shows that men aren’t doing due diligence: condoms and vasectomies prevent both pregnancies and abortions.

Abortion care is well protected in Oregon, but when men are responsible, women don’t have to endure that procedure. When a couple makes the decision to refrain from co-creating more than they already have, a vasectomy is the best way to avoid pregnancy. It relieves the woman of needing contraceptives, which often have unpleasant side effects. Plan A for men, a reversible contraceptive, is expected to be available in a couple of years.

Many young women, married or not, choose bilateral salpingectomy, or bisalp, the procedure replacing tubal ligation for sterilization. In states where pregnancy can be a death sentence, they’re making sure their lives won’t be in the hands of a patriarchal anti-choice doctor or misogynistic politicians with fetus fixations.

Although the right to procreate is fiercely defended, the freedom to not procreate suffers neglect. In fact, full reproductive freedom doesn’t exist any where. It ranges from inconvenient, to violent and even deadly in some regions. Hundreds of millions of women and girls have no choice in whether they procreate, how many times, or with whom.

Not being able to co-create as many offspring as a couple wants can be heart-breaking. Fortunately, alternatives to parenting children who aren’t co-created with a couple’s specific DNA exist.

Far worse is forcing girls and women into motherhood. That makes at least two victims: the unwanted child and the mother whose life is highjacked with almost no alternative but to make the best of it.

When people are given a real chance to live childfree, they tend to take it. Several nations are trying to convince young people to co-create, to raise more future taxpayers/consumers/soldiers. They are not successful, as young people find their lives happy as is.

The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement advocates for voluntary universal reproductive health services, including prenatal and postnatal care, and the full range of contraceptive choices: Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, or SRHR as it’s called.

For a better world,
Les U. Knight.

“Thank you for thinking before breeding.”