An Atlanta couple is harassed by obscene telephone calls after they and their eight children appear on a television commercial for a laundry detergent. The Good Samaritan, a large hospital in Los Angeles, closes down its maternity ward as the number of abortions in the area approaches the number of live births. Underused elementary schools are turned into bakeries or motels. Young people gather in Manhattan's Central Park to honor the "nonparents of the year" and celebrate their childlessness in a "non-fertility rite" complete with dancing.

These scenes, which only a few years ago would have seemed unusual, even extraordinary,...

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