It’s not China’s draconian one-child policy, but a lawmaker in Washington state is proposing legislation to urge parents to have no more than two children.

State Rep. Maralyn Chase is the sponsor of what she calls the Two-or-Fewer Bill, which aims to promote population sustainability.



Washington state Rep. Maralyn Chase

The bill does not mandate the number of children, but calls for a pamphlet to be distributed by Washington’s health department spelling out the presumed benefits of having no more than two children.

Mother and preschool owner Lori Saymon told radio station KXLY in Spokane, Wash., she thinks the idea is ridiculous.

“I think it’s wrong, I think it’s wrong,” she said. “If I had it to do over I would have had 10. I think it’s wrong for the government to get involved with that.”

Chase, a Democrat from the Seattle suburb of Edmonds, said the bill is up for discussion, and if it gains support would be put to a vote in the next legislative session.

China’s one-child policy incorporates a variety of punishments for parents who have more than one child in an attempt by the communist government to curb population growth.

In an editorial, the Seattle Times called Chase’s proposal “unabashed government nannyism.”

The paper notes the birth rate in many Western countries “has declined to sustainable levels, largely because individual couples decided to have fewer children for economic and quality-of-life reasons, not because of a state-sponsored pamphlet.”

A contributor to an online bulletin board soliciting comments about the proposed bill wryly suggested it might be a good idea if it’s limited to Democratic households, since “they already produce far too many dependents upon society.”

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