|A Culture of Life Taking Hold?|
|Written by Sherry|
|Friday, 18 January 2008 06:14|
The March for Life, San Francisco will once again be taking place tomorrow and it has become quite a eclectic gathering. Via Catholic online:
Pastor Clenard Childress, a Baptist minister in Montclair, N.J., and Northeast regional director of the Life Education and Resource Network, is scheduled to speak at the 4th annual Walk for Life West Coast on Saturday, Jan. 19.
“In an area that is more or less perceived as the bastion of all liberal thought, we find here a movement growing that one would deem to be conservative,” Childress told Catholic San Francisco. “I would just call it righteous.”
‘It’s good for the country’
Childress, who is active in the pro-life movement nationally, said the San Francisco march is his favorite pro-life action. He said it is diverse, touches many denominations and is nonpartisan.
“It’s good for the country,” he said. “I think it’s good for the people to see what the pro-life movement is. It’s the most maligned movement in America. The perception it has among Americans isn’t what it truly is. These are some of the dearest people who are very humble, who truly want to reach out to all mothers in order to save their children.”
Childress said the pro-life movement is “often viewed as a tool of the Republican Party.” He added: “When you go to San Francisco, you don’t get that.”
And there is some evidence that a culture of life might be influencing the choices of Americans. As the major news outlets reported this week (the quotes below are from Fox) we are in the middle of a "boomlet" of births in the US - a 45 year high - and in this we are quite distinct from other highly developed countries. 25% of US births are among Hispanic immigrants:
Fertility rates often rise among immigrants who leave their homelands for a better life. For example, the rate among Mexican-born women in the U.S. is 3.2, but the overall rate for Mexico is just 2.4, according to the Pew Hispanic Center, a Washington-based research organization.
"They're more optimistic about their future here," said Jeff Passel, a Pew Center demographer.
But all American groups have experienced a rise in birth rates - including white Americans.
Fertility rates were also relatively high for other racial and ethnic groups. The rate rose to 2.1 for blacks and nearly 1.9 for non-Hispanic whites in 2006, according to the CDC.
Fertility levels tend to decline as women become better educated and gain career opportunities, and as they postpone childbirth until they are older. Experts say those factors, along with the legalization of abortion and the expansion of contraception options, explain why the U.S. fertility rate dropped to its lowest point — about 1.7 — in 1976.
But while fertility declines persisted in many other developed nations, the United States saw the reverse: The fertility rate climbed to 2 in 1989 and has hovered around that mark since then, according to federal birth data.
Kohler and others say the difference has more to do with culture than race. For example, white American women have more children than white European — even though many nations in Europe have more family-friendly government policies on parental leave and child care.
But such policies are just one factor in creating a society that produces lots of babies, said Duke University's S. Philip Morgan, a leading fertility researcher.
Other factors include recent declines in contraceptive use here; limited access to abortion in some states; and a 24/7 economy that provides opportunities for mothers to return to work, he said.
(this is fascinating - is a culture of life taking hold?)
Also, it is more common for American women to have babies out of wedlock and more common for couples here to go forward with unwanted pregnancies. And, compared with nations like Italy and Japan, it's more common for American husbands to help out with chores and child care.
There are regional variations in the United States. New England's fertility rates are more like Northern Europe's. American women in the Midwest, South and certain mountain states tend to have more children.
And here's the kicker:
The influence of certain religions in those latter regions is an important factor, said Ron Lesthaeghe, a Belgian demographer who is a visiting professor at the University of Michigan. "Evangelical Protestantism and Mormons," he said.
Vibrant faith communities that have strong convictions about the important of family and the value of children. The same groups who will be out in droves tomorrow.
Why didn't he mention Catholics? Anyone know?