The special physiological and psychological features of pregnancy and of the birth and growth of the child are what give the family its particular character. It is these too which impose clear-cut and unvarying rules of conduct on the members of this elementary social group. Father, mother and children constitute a kind of organism, an association of different but complementary entities. Like the organs of our body, they work for one another. But they only form a harmonious whole if, by voluntary effort, they fight against their natural selfishness, vanity, coarseness, intemperance, and nervous irritability. Unlike the bitch or the cow, a woman needs the help of her consort to provide for her during the final period of her pregnancy until after lactation.
A woman's period of fertility varies from thirty to forty years. During the first year of its life, a child is extremely frail Subsequently it still needs constant care, attentive protection, gaiety and peace. Psychological shocks are extremely harmful to it. It develops very slowly; its formative period lasts at least eighteen years. Thus the task of reproducing the race demands the greater part of a woman's life. The ultimate reason for the permanence of marriage is this slow development of the young. To consider marriage as a temporary association which the parties can break at will is an error springing from ignorance of the way a child develops and of a mother's true function. Parents who upset their children's lives by their quarrels, their intemperateness, their adulteries, divorces and remarriages, seriously transgress the law of the propagation of life. The family organism is a collective individual of a very special character which should have a legal status in accordance with its structure and its function. One of the strangest aberrations of the French Revolution was to have made marriage a contract which could be dissolved like others, by its law of the 20th September 1792.
To develop in the best possible way, children need a stable and ordered family background. This order and stability can only be obtained by observing certain rules. First, by a prudent choice of partner; next, by getting rid of the egoism which makes married life impossible; lastly, by putting oneself in the material conditions necessary for the happy birth and bringing up of children. In modern society, employment of women, cramped housing, insecurity and the ignorance of parents make these conditions difficult to obtain. Thus the State should give generous aid to couples who are capable of having healthy and intelligent children. It is necessary, too, that future parents should realize the extent of their own ignorance and learn their difficult task of training the young. The bankruptcy of modern education is one reason for the disfavor into which the family has fallen.
Modern children constitute a truly insupportable burden for the family group. Their hardness, rudeness and ingratitude to their parents are the inevitable consequence of the parents' own selfishness, ignorance and weakness. The law of propagation demands of all young people who intend to marry a thorough moral and intellectual reform. This reform will be difficult and laborious but it is indispensable to their own well-being and to the survival of our civilization.