(Mike Ehrmann/Getty)

The New York Times has an online section known as the Opinionator, where a reader searching for even more commentary and opinion can have his or her thirst electronically slaked. Today, the front page of the Times website features an Opinionator article with the headline “Think Before You Breed.” Even more provocative was its subheading “Those who choose to be childless should not have to justify their decision.”

In the piece, Christine Overall writes:

“Choosing whether or not to procreate may not seem like the sort of decision that is deserving or even capable of analysis. The Canadian novelist Margaret Laurence wrote, “I don’t really feel I have to analyze my own motives in wanting children. For my own reassurance? For fun? For ego-satisfaction? No matter. It’s like (to me) asking why you want to write. Who cares? You have to, and that’s that.”

In fact, people are still expected to provide reasons not to have children, but no reasons are required to have them. It’s assumed that if individuals do not have children it is because they are infertile, too selfish or have just not yet gotten around to it. In any case, they owe their interlocutor an explanation.”

I thought about this double standard and sensing that the Times was trying to dupe me (yet again) into following its agenda, I immediately called my mother. Taking a page from Overall, I asked her if it would be necessary for me to justify not having children to others.

“You absolutely would have to justify it.” she averred. “From a Jewish perspective, men are obligated by the commandment for all people to be fruitful and multiply.”

Scrambling, I went back to the text to see what other ammunition Overall had. I fired away.

What if it’s not practical?
“It may not be practical today, but it will be practical tomorrow. There’s an old saying ‘If you wait until you’re ready to have children, you’ll never be ready.’ ”

What if I don’t meet the right person?
“Ever? Impossible. Everyone has their basheret.”

What if I fear that parenthood will limit the things I can do with my life?
“Nothing beats parenthood. Except grandparenthood.”

Shouldn’t I think about it instead of just chalking it up to biological destiny?
“It’s something everyone should do. Just have at least one kid. Anything else?”

Well, that settles that. Your move, Opinionator.

Think Before You Breed [NYT]