There are risks and costs to a program of action. But they are far less than the long-range risks and costs of comfortable inaction.
—John F. Kennedy (1917–63) American Head of State, Journalist
Telegram to a friend who had just become a mother after a prolonged pregnancy: Good work, Mary. We all knew you had it in you
—Dorothy Parker (1893–1967) American Humorist, Journalist
I could be content that we might procreate like trees, without conjunction, or that there were any way to perpetuate the world without this trivial and vulgar way of coition.
—Thomas Browne (1605–82) English Author, Physician
Of all vanities and fopperies, the vanity of high birth is the greatest. True nobility is derived from virtue, not from birth. Titles, indeed, may be purchased; but virtue is the only coin that makes the bargain valid.
—Richard Burton (1925–84) Welsh Actor
If men were equally at risk from this condition — if they knew their bellies might swell as if they were suffering from end-stage cirrhosis, that they would have to go nearly a year without a stiff drink, a cigarette, or even an aspirin, that they would be subject to fainting spells and unable to fight their way onto commuter trains — then I am sure that pregnancy would be classified as a sexually transmitted disease and abortions would be no more controversial than emergency appendectomies.
—Barbara Ehrenreich (b.1941) American Social Critic, Essayist
A man may be born, but in order to be born he must first die, and in order to die he must first awake.
—Georges Gurdjieff (1877–1949) Armenian Spiritual Leader, Occultist
I positively think that ladies who are always enceinte quite disgusting; it is more like a rabbit or guinea-pig than anything else and really it is not very nice.
—Queen Victoria (1819–1901) British Royal
The management of fertility is one of the most important functions of adulthood.
—Germaine Greer (b.1939) Australia Academic, Journalist, Scholar, Writer
I’m hurt, hurt and humiliated beyond endurance, seeing the wheat ripening, the fountains never ceasing to give water, the sheep bearing hundreds of lambs, the she-dogs, until it seems the whole country rises to show me its tender sleeping young while I feel two hammer-blows here instead of the mouth of my child.
—Federico Garcia Lorca (1898–1936) Spanish Poet
We have been God-like in our planned breeding of our domesticated plants and animals, but we have been rabbit-like in our unplanned breeding of ourselves.
—Arnold J. Toynbee (1889–1975) British Historian
If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament.
—Florynce Kennedy (1916–2000) American Lawyer, Civil Rights Leader, Feminist, Activist
Although it is generally known, I think it’s about time to announce that I was born at a very early age.
—Groucho Marx (1890–1977) American Actor, Comedian, Singer
Man’s main task in life is to give birth to himself, to become what he potentially is. The most important product of his effort is his own personality.
—Erich Fromm (1900–80) German-American Psychoanalyst, Social Philosopher
Good birth is a fine thing, but the merit is our ancestors.
—Plutarch (c.46–c.120 CE) Greek Biographer, Philosopher