With the Russian birthrate far below the level needed to sustain the country’s population, the central Russian province of Ulyanovsk celebrated Russian Independence Day on June 12 by giving TVs, refrigerators, jeeps and even new houses as prizes for women giving birth on that day. Nine months earlier, Sept. 12, had been declared the Day of Conception in hopes of an Independence Day baby boom. The plan seems to be working, as births in the region were up, as reported on the First Things blog and an MSNBC story, among others.
Here in the U.S., where people are getting rid of their SUVs because they can’t afford to fill the tank, maybe a year’s supply of gasoline would be a better incentive. Oh wait, I forgot, we Americans aren’t supposed to have babies because they’re bad for the environment. Maybe Berkeley or Santa Monica or Santa Fe will declare October 4 the Day of Non-Conception and offer hybrid electric mini-cars to women who don’t give birth next July 4.