IN February last year, there was a proposal to limit the number of children per family to three. The three children per couple rule would, according to experts, help to reduce poverty in our country.
Many say the policy isn’t in support of the rich, and I say that’s right. I mean if a person is clearly capable of looking after his children and giving them the finer things in life then it is quite absurd to tell him that he can’t. Even though the rich usually produce that number of children even without this policy and could easily adjust to it, no one has rights over another’s uterus!
For the poor who constitute 44.9% of the population in Rwanda, this policy is a flesh-and-blood tiger with claws and fangs. In the countryside, they need as much help as they can get especially on farms (this is their major source of income). Without help, most of the work is left to the parents. In a family of five, some could work in the garden or take the animals for grazing while others can help at home with cooking and cleaning. So this policy would only affect these people.
In China, following their one child policy, those who give birth illegally are fined. Here, we have no fines but then, how many people in rural areas have access to contraceptives? Even condoms are not taken as seriously as you would hope and I’m guessing there is a reason for that. Nationally, the estimated induced abortion rate is 25 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44, or approximately 60,000 abortions annually. Since abortion is illegal in Rwanda, they keep popping baby after baby, giving them more responsibilities and less money to handle the tasks, making them poorer every day.
However, regardless of whatever negativity comes out of having hordes of kids, individuals should have the freedom to make these decisions for themselves. It’s not right to tell a grown man he can only have 3 kids when his dream was to have about 12! It’s not right to tell a woman that her dream of having a son one day is useless now because she already has 3 girls! Let us figure out how to do this without laws being imposed on us.