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Who Knew That Laws Can Be Great Contraceptives?

Scratch a male who is a Mississippi Republican and he’ll tell you it’s not a big deal.

4 min readAug 18, 2022


There is a strange new study that was just released a few days ago. The title of the study was even stranger, “Car Seats as Contraception”. The summary of the study tells us of a trend that started 45 years ago:

Since 1977, U.S. states have passed laws steadily raising the age for which a child must ride in a car safety seat. These laws significantly raise the cost of having a third child, as many regular-sized cars cannot fit three child seats in the back. Using census data and state-year variation in laws, we estimate that when women have two children of ages requiring mandated car seats, they have a lower annual probability of giving birth by 0.73 percentage points. Consistent with a causal channel, this effect is limited to third child births, is concentrated in households with access to a car, and is larger when a male is present (when both front seats are likely to be occupied). We estimate that these laws prevented only 57 car crash fatalities of children nationwide in 2017. Simultaneously, they led to a permanent reduction of approximately 8,000 births in the same year, and 145,000 fewer births since 1980, with 90% of this decline being since 2000.

This is the strangest form of contraception I have ever seen or heard of. It’s a subtle force that works against parents in consideration of having a third child. I can distinctly recall my wife suggested that we stop at two since it would be hard to fit a third child. But that opening sentence…

Our experience has shown that sitting in the front passenger seat can be fatal for kids. The airbags are designed to pop with greater force to accommodate idiots who refuse to wear a seatbelt. Why does anyone refuse to wear a seatbelt? Mostly, “I feel really uncomfortable wearing a seatbelt.” Is that so?

What convinced me to wear a seatbelt is something called inertia. If the car comes to a sudden stop, the seatbelt stops me with the car. That means as a driver I have much better control of the car because the seatbelt makes my body move with the car.

There was a brief time when one of my daughters would not wear her seatbelt. I…