Permissible Progeny?: The Morality of Procreation and Parenting
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Most Western jurisdictions require parental licensing in the case of adoption but not in the case of assisted or unassisted biological reproduction. In an earlier paper, we set out to show that no arguments in favour of such a system of parental licensing succeed. One argument that we failed to consider, however, is one that appeals to the notion of a right to reproduce. According to this argument, prospective biological parents are protected from parental licensing because they exercise a right to reproduce when attempting to have children, while the same cannot be said about prospective adoptive parents. This paper shows that such an argument is flawed. It also questions whether people have a right to reproduce, and distinguishes this right from other, legitimate, rights, such a right to become a parent and a right to bodily autonomy.