Valuing Having Children

44 Pages Posted: 18 Jun 2009 Last revised: 21 Apr 2010

See all articles by Carter Dillard

Carter Dillard

Uehiro Centre, University of Oxford ; University of Oxford - Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics

Date Written: June 17, 2009

Abstract

Are there objective values on which to base the claim of a right to procreate? Can we articulate reasons for having children so powerful that they justify our doing so, as a matter of right, even where it would conflict with the interests and values of others? This Article systematically and critically examines many of the values that, before now, courts and commentators have simply presumed and relied upon when making the claim that there is and ought to be a fundamental right to have children. This Article first develops a methodology for examining the values and interests on which fundamental moral, and eventually legal, rights might be based. It then applies this methodology to three categories of values specific to procreation: autonomy and relational values, as well as self-regarding values, such as the value of creating genetic lineage. This Article critiques each category as a basis for a right to procreate, rejecting autonomy and relational values, and ending with what might be a surprising conclusion about the final category: that selfregarding values, and the right that would flow from them, are sated when one has a child.

Keywords: reproductive rights, procreation, children, family law, rights, legal theory, right to procreate, value theory, bioethics

Suggested Citation

Dillard, Carter, Valuing Having Children (June 17, 2009). Journal of Law & Family Studies, Vol. 12, No. 151, 2010, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1421552

Carter Dillard (Contact Author)

Uehiro Centre, University of Oxford ( email )

Suite 8, Littlegate House
16/17 St Ebbe's Street
Oxford, OX1 1PT
United Kingdom

University of Oxford - Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics ( email )

Suite 8, Littlegate House
St Ebbes Street
Oxford, OX1 1PT
United Kingdom

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