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Morality of Procreation

Edited by Ruchika Mishra (Program in Medicine and Human Values, California Pacific Medical Center)
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  1. Judith Andre, Leonard M. Fleck & Thomas Tomlinson (2000). On Being Genetically "Irresponsible&Quot;. Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 10 (2):129-146.
    : New genetic technologies continue to emerge that allow us to control the genetic endowment of future children. Increasingly the claim is made that it is morally "irresponsible" for parents to fail to use such technologies when they know their possible children are at risk for a serious genetic disorder. We believe such charges are often unwarranted. Our goal in this article is to offer a careful conceptual analysis of the language of irresponsibility in an effort to encourage more care (...)
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  2. Jonny Anomaly, Public Goods and Procreation.
    Procreation is the ultimate public goods problem. Each new child affects the welfare of many other people, and some (but not all) children produce uncompensated value that future people will enjoy. This essay addresses challenges that arise if we think of procreation and parenting as public goods. These include whether private choices are likely to lead to a socially desirable outcome, and whether changes in laws, social norms, or access to genetic engineering and embryo selection might improve the aggregate outcome (...)
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  3. Andrew Botterell & Carolyn McLeod, Can a Right to Reproduce Justify the Status Quo on Parental Licensing?
    The status quo on parental licensing in most Western jurisdictions is that licensing is required in the case of adoption but not in the case of assisted or unassisted biological reproduction. To have a child via adoption, one must fulfill licensing requirements, which, beyond the usual home study, can include mandatory participation in parenting classes. One is exempt from these requirements, however, if one has a child via biological reproduction, including assisted reproduction involving donor gametes or a contract pregnancy. In (...)
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  4. Ben Bradley (2013). Asymmetries in Benefiting, Harming and Creating. Journal of Ethics 17 (1-2):37-49.
    It is often said that while we have a strong reason not to create someone who will be badly off, we have no strong reason for creating someone who will be well off. In this paper I argue that this asymmetry is incompatible with a plausible principle of independence of irrelevant alternatives, and that a more general asymmetry between harming and benefiting is difficult to defend. I then argue that, contrary to what many have claimed, it is possible to harm (...)
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  5. Sylvia Burrow (2012). On The Cutting Edge: Ethical Responsiveness to Cesarean Section Rates. American Journal of Bioethics 12 (7):44-52.
    Cesarean delivery rates have been steadily increasing worldwide. In response, many countries have introduced target goals to reduce rates. But a focus on target goals fails to address practices embedded in standards of care that encourage, rather than discourage, cesarean sections. Obstetrical standards of care normalize use of technology, creating an imperative to use technology during labor and birth. A technological imperative is implicated in rising cesarean rates if physicians or patients fear refusing use of technology. Reproductive autonomy is at (...)
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  6. Stephen M. Campbell (2007). Hare on Possible People. Journal of Applied Philosophy 24 (4):408–424.
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  7. Jan Deckers (2010). The Right to Life and Abortion Legislation in England and Wales: A Proposal for Change. Diametros 26:1-22.
    In England and Wales, there is significant controversy on the law related to abortion. Recent discussions have focussed predominantly on the health professional's right to conscientious objection. This article argues for a comprehensive overhaul of the law from the perspective of an author who adopts the view that all unborn human beings should be granted the prima facie right to life. It is argued that, should the law be modified in accordance with this stance, it need not imply that health (...)
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  8. Ezio Di Nucci (forthcoming). Fathers and Abortion. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy.
    I argue that it is possible for prospective mothers to wrong prospective fathers by bearing their child; and that lifting paternal liability for child support does not correct the wrong inflicted to fathers. It is therefore sometimes wrong for prospective mothers to bear a child, or so I argue here. I show that my argument for considering the legitimate interests of prospective fathers is not a unique exception to an obvious right to procreate. It is, rather, part of a growing (...)
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  9. Ezio Di Nucci (2013). Killing Fetuses and Killing Newborns. Journal of Medical Ethics 39 (5):19-20.
    The argument for the moral permissibility of killing newborns is a challenge to liberal positions on abortion because it can be considered a reductio of their defence of abortion. Here I defend the liberal stance on abortion by arguing that the argument for the moral permissibility of killing newborns on ground of the social, psychological and economic burden on the parents recently put forward by Giubilini and Minerva is not valid; this is because they fail to show that newborns cannot (...)
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  10. Brian D. Earp, Anders Sandberg & Julian Savulescu (2012). Natural Selection, Childrearing, and the Ethics of Marriage (and Divorce): Building a Case for the Neuroenhancement of Human Relationships. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Technology 25 (4):561-587.
    We argue that the fragility of contemporary marriages—and the corresponding high rates of divorce—can be explained (in large part) by a three-part mismatch: between our relationship values, our evolved psychobiological natures, and our modern social, physical, and technological environment. “Love drugs” could help address this mismatch by boosting our psychobiologies while keeping our values and our environment intact. While individual couples should be free to use pharmacological interventions to sustain and improve their romantic connection, we suggest that they may have (...)
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  11. Rachel Fredericks (2013). Review of Christine Overall, Why Have Children? The Ethical Debate. [REVIEW] Hypatia Reviews Online.
  12. Gerald K. Harrison (2012). Antinatalism, Asymmetry, and an Ethic of Prima Facie Duties. South African Journal of Philosophy 31 (1):94-103.
    Benatar’s central argument for antinatalism develops an asymmetry between the pain and pleasure in a potential life. I am going to present an alternative route to the antinatalist conclusion. I argue that duties require victims and that as a result there is no duty to create the pleasures contained within a prospective life but a duty not to create any of its sufferings. My argument can supplement Benatar’s, but it also enjoys some advantages: it achieves a better fit with our (...)
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  13. Gerald K. Harrison & Julia Tanner (2011). Better Not to Have Children. Think, 10(27), 113-121 (27):113-121.
    Most people take it for granted that it's morally permissible to have children. They may raise questions about the number of children it's responsible to have or whether it's permissible to reproduce when there's a strong risk of serious disability. But in general, having children is considered a good thing to do, something that's morally permissible in most cases (perhaps even obligatory).
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  14. Tim Henning (forthcoming). Retter-Kinder, Instrumentalisierung und Kants Zweckformel. Ethik in der Medizin.
    Definition of the problem The creation and selection of children as tissue donors is ethically controversial. Critics often appeal to Kant’s Formula of Humanity, i.e. the requirement that people be treated not merely as means but as ends in themselves. As many defenders of the procedure point out, these appeals usually do not explain the sense of the requirement and hence remain obscure. Arguments This article proposes an interpretation of Kant’s principle, and it proposes that two different instrumental stances be (...)
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  15. R. Juha (2001). Coercive Population Policies, Procreative Freedom, and Morality. Philosophy and Geography 4 (1):67 – 77.
    I shall briefly evaluate the common claim that ethically acceptable population policies must let individuals to decide freely on the number of their children. I shall ask, first, what exactly is the relation between population policies that we find intuitively appealing, on the one hand, and population policies that maximize procreative freedom, on the other, and second, what is the relation between population policies that we tend to reject on moral grounds, on the one hand, and population policies that use (...)
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  16. Hannelore Koerner (1989). Ethics in Reproductive Medicine in the German Democratic Republic. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 14 (3):335-341.
    The paper discusses the practice of genetic counseling and elective abortion in the German Democratic Republic. Keywords: elective abortion, embryo transfer, in vitro fertilization, protection of human life, reproductive ethics, German Democratic Republic, bioethics CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this?
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  17. Jacqueline A. Laing (2008). Inter-Species Embryos and Human Clones: Issues of Free Movement and Gestation. European Journal of Health Law 15: 421-431.
    The United Kingdom's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, introduced into Parliament on the 8th of November 2007 contains a number of controversial proposals inter alia expressly permitting the creation of inter-species embryos for research and destruction and increasing the scope for human cloning also for destructive research. It is supposed that there ought not to be a blanket ban on the creation of human clones, hybrids, cybrids and chimeras because these embryos are valuable for research purposes. The prohibition on the (...)
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  18. Jacqueline A. Laing (2005). Artificial Reproduction, the 'Welfare Principle', and the Common Good. Medical Law Review 13:328-356.
    This article challenges the view most recently expounded by Emily Jackson that ‘decisional privacy’ ought to be respected in the realm of artificial reproduction (AR). On this view, it is considered an unjust infringement of individual liberty for the state to interfere with individual or group freedom artificially to produce a child. It is our contention that a proper evaluation of AR and of the relevance of welfare will be sensitive not only to the rights of ‘commissioning parties’ to AR (...)
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  19. Lawrence Masek (2011). The Contralife Argument and the Principle of Double Effect. National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 11 (1):83-97.
  20. Lawrence Masek (2010). On Some Proposals for Producing Human Stem Cells. National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 10 (2):257-264.
  21. Lawrence Masek (2008). Treating Humanity as an Inviolable End. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 33 (1):1-16.
    I argue that contraception is morally wrong but that periodic abstinence (or natural family planning) is not. Further, I argue that altered nuclear transfer—a proposed technique for creating human stem cells without destroying human embryos—is morally wrong for the same reason that contraception is. Contrary to what readers might expect, my argument assumes nothing about the morality of cloning or abortion and requires no premises about God or natural teleology. Instead, I argue that contraception and altered nuclear transfer are morally (...)
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  22. Lawrence Masek (2008). Improving the Analogies in Contralife Arguments. Heythrop Journal 49 (3):442-452.
  23. Hugh V. McLachlan (2010). Moral Rights to Life, Both Natural and Non-Natural: Reflections on James Griffin's Account of Human Rights. Diametros 26:58-76.
    Rather than to focus upon a particular ‘right to life’, we should consider what rights there are pertaining to our lives and to our living. There are different sorts. There are, for instance, rights that constitute absences of particular duties and rights that correspond to the duties of other agents or agencies. There are also natural and non-natural rights and duties. Different people in different contexts can have different moral duties and different moral rights including rights to life. The question (...)
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  24. Carolyn McLeod (2010). Morally Justifying Oncofertility Research. In Teresa Woodruff, Lori Zoloth, Lisa Campo-Engelstein & Susan Rodriguez (eds.), Oncofertility: Reflections from the Humanities and Social Sciences. Springer.
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  25. Carolyn McLeod & Francoise Baylis (eds.) (forthcoming). Family Making: Contemporary Ethical Challenges. Oxford University Press.
    This book concerns the ethics of having children through adoption or technologically-assisted reproduction. Some people who choose between these methods struggle between them. Others do not agonize in this way, perhaps because they have a profound desire for a genetic link to the child(ren) they will parent and so prefer assisted reproduction, they view adoption as the only morally decent choice in an overcrowded world, or for some other reason. This book critically examines moral choices that involve each of these (...)
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  26. Carolyn McLeod & Andrew Botterell (forthcoming). Not For the Faint of Heart: Assessing the Status Quo on Adoption and Parental Licensing. In Francoise Baylis & Carolyn McLeod (eds.), Family Making: Contemporary Ethical Challenges. Oxford University Press.
    The process of adopting a child is “not for the faint of heart.” This is what we were told the first time we, as a couple, began this process. Part of the challenge lies in fulfilling the licensing requirements for adoption, which, beyond the usual home study, can include mandatory participation in parenting classes. The question naturally arises for many people who are subjected to these requirements whether they are morally justified. We tackle this question in this paper. In our (...)
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  27. Thaddeus Metz (2012). Contemporary Anti-Natalism, Featuring Benatar's Better Never to Have Been. South African Journal of Philosophy 31 (1):1-9.
    A critical overview of the latest discussion of anti-natalism, with particular reference to David Benatar's work and three additional rationales for anti-natalism that differ from Benatar's.
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  28. Thaddeus Metz (2011). Are Lives Worth Creating? Philosophical Papers 40 (2):233-255.
    In his book Better Never to Have Been, David Benatar argues that it is generally all things considered wrong to procreate, such that if everyone acted in a morally ideal way, humanity would elect to extinguish the species. I aim to carefully question the premises and inferences that lead Benatar to draw this anti-natalist conclusion, indicating several places where one could sensibly elect to disembark from the train of argument heading toward such a radical view.
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  29. Thaddeus Metz (2005). Review of David Benatar, Life, Death, and Meaning. [REVIEW] Philosophical Papers 34 (3):459-463.
  30. Catherine Mills (2011). Futures of Reproduction: Bioethics and Biopolitics. Springer.
    Issues in reproductive ethics, such as the capacity of parents to ‘choose children’, present challenges to philosophical ideas of freedom, responsibility and harm. This book responds to these challenges by proposing a new framework for thinking about the ethics of reproduction that emphasizes the ways that social norms affect decisions about who is born. The book provides clear and thorough discussions of some of the dominant problems in reproductive ethics - human enhancement and the notion of the normal, reproductive liberty (...)
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  31. Timothy Murphy (2012). The Afterlife of Embryonic Persons: What a Strange Place Heaven Must Be. Reproductive Biomedicine Online 25:684-688.
    Some commentators argue that conception constitutes the onset of human personhood in a metaphysical sense. This threshold is usually invoked as the basis both for protecting zygotes and embryos from exposure to risks of death in clinical research and fertility medicine and for objecting to abortion, but it also has consequences for certain religious perspectives, including Catholicism whose doctrines directly engage questions of personhood and its meanings. Since more human zygotes and embryos are lost than survive to birth, conferral of (...)
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  32. Timothy F. Murphy (2012). Ethics, Sexual Orientation, and Choices About Children. The MIT Press.
    Should parents be able to select the sexual orientation of their children, if that were possible through prenatal interventions? _Ethics, Sexual Orientation, and Choices about Children_ reviews the history of this debate which started in the 1970s and has been invigorated by scientific reports about the origins of sexual orientation. This book describes the debate and offers an evaluation of key issues in parental rights, children's rights, and family welfare.
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  33. Timothy F. Murphy (2012). The Ethics of Fertility Preservation in Transgender Body Modifications. Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 9 (3):311-316.
    n some areas of clinical medicine, discussions about fertility preservation are routine, such as in the treatment of children and adolescents facing cancer treatments that will destroy their ability to produce gametes of their own. Certain professional organizations now offer guidelines for people who wish to modify their bodies and appearance in regard to sex traits, and these guidelines extend to recommendations about fertility preservation. Since the removal of testicles or ovaries will destroy the ability to have genetically related children (...)
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  34. Timothy F. Murphy (2005). Gay Science: Assisted Reproductive Technologies and the Sexual Orientation of Children. Reproductive Biomedicine Online 10 (Sup. 1):102-106.
    There are no technologies at the present time that would allow parents to select the sexual orientation of their children. But what if there were? Some commentators believe that parents should be able to use those techniques so long as they are effective and safe. Others believe that these techniques are unethical because of the dangers they pose to homosexual men and women in general. Both sides point to motives and consequences when trying to analyse the ethics of this question. (...)
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  35. C. Palacios-González, J. Harris & G. Testa (forthcoming). Multiplex Parenting: IVG and the Generations to Come. Journal of Medical Ethics.
    Recent breakthroughs in stem cell differentiation and reprogramming suggest that functional human gametes could soon be created in vitro. While the ethical debate on the uses of in vitro generated gametes (IVG) was originally constrained by the fact that they could be derived only from embryonic stem cell lines, the advent of somatic cell reprogramming, with the possibility to easily derive human induced pluripotent stem cells from any individual, affords now a major leap in the feasibility of IVG derivation and (...)
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  36. L. A. Paul (2015). What You Can't Expect When You're Expecting. Res Philosophica 92 (2):1-23.
    It seems natural to choose whether to have a child by reflecting on what it would be like to actually have a child. I argue that this natural approach fails. If you choose to become a parent, and your choice is based on projections about what you think it would be like for you to have a child, your choice is not rational. If you choose to remain childless, and your choice is based upon projections about what you think it (...)
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  37. Thomas S. Petersen (2001). Generocentrism: A Critical Discussion of David Heyd. Philosophia 28 (1-4):411-423.
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  38. Stuart Rachels (2005). Review of Mary Warnock, Making Babies: Is There a Right to Have Children? [REVIEW] Philosophical Review 114 (2):130-132.
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  39. David Shaw (2006). Genetic Morality. Peter Lang.
    This book will attempt to show that these and other problems are ultimately resolvable, given careful and unbiased application of established ethical principles ...
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  40. John R. Spencer & Antje Du Bois-Pedain (eds.) (2006). Freedom and Responsibility in Reproductive Choice. Hart Pub..
  41. Ema Sullivan-Bissett & Rafe Mcgregor (2012). Better No Longer to Be. South African Journal of Philosophy 31 (1):55-68.
    David Benatar argues that coming into existence is always a harm, and that – for all of us unfortunate enough to have come into existence – it would be better had we never come to be. We contend that if one accepts Benatar’s arguments for the asymmetry between the presence and absence of pleasure and pain, and the poor quality of life, one must also accept that suicide is preferable to continued existence, and that his view therefore implies both anti-natalism (...)
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  42. Robert S. Taylor (2009). Children as Projects and Persons: A Liberal Antinomy. Social Theory and Practice 35 (4):555-576.
    A liberal antinomy of parenting exists: strong liberal intuitions militate in favor of both denying special resources to parenting projects (on grounds of project-neutrality) and granting them (on grounds of respect for personhood). I show that we can reconcile these two claims by rejecting a premise common to both--viz. that liberalism is necessarily committed to extensive procreative liberties--and limiting procreation and subsequent parenting to adults who meet certain psychological and especially financial criteria. I also defend this argument, which provides a (...)
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  43. Brooke Alan Trisel (2012). How Best to Prevent Future Persons From Suffering: A Reply to Benatar. South African Journal of Philosophy 31 (1):79-93.
    David Benatar claims that everyone was seriously harmed by coming into existence. To spare future persons from this suffering, we should cease having children, Benatar argues, with the result that humanity would gradually go extinct. Benatar’s claim of universal serious harm is baseless. Each year, an estimated 94% of children born throughout the world do not have a serious birth defect. Furthermore, studies show that most people do not experience chronic pain. Although nearly everyone experiences acute pain and discomforts, such (...)
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  44. Bruce N. Waller (1995). Abortion and in Vitro Fertilization. Journal of Social Philosophy 26 (1):119-128.
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  45. Tomasz Żuradzki (2013). Ślepy traf a preimplantacyjna diagnostyka genetyczna. Przeglad Filozoficzny - Nowa Seria 22 (1):31-46.
    Wedle Stanowiska Komitetu Bioetyki przy Prezydium PAN nr 2/2012 z dnia 8. czerwca 2012 r. w sprawie preimplantacyjnej diagnostyki genetycznej (PDG) jednym z głównych problemów wiążących się z prawnym uregulowaniem PDG jest nierozstrzygalność sporu na temat statusu moralnego ludzkich zarodków. Stanowisko i zgłoszone do niego zdania odrębne stwierdzają, że ci, którzy uznają, że wczesne zarodki mają pełny status moralny, nie mogą się zgodzić na diagnostykę preimplantacyjną. W artykule pokazuję, że przyjęcie nawet skrajnie konserwatywnego poglądu na status wczesnych embrionów ludzkich, czyli (...)
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  46. Tomasz Żuradzki (2012). The uncertainty about the moral status of human embryos and preimplantation genetic diagnosis (in Polish). Diametros 34:179 – 189.
    In this paper I report the discussion about the argument from moral uncertainty that took place in November 2012 during the debate on the website of the Polish Bioethics Society on preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD). The discussion was initiated by the Statement on PGD made by the Bioethics Committee of the Polish Academy of Sciences. Here I discuss the theses of the Statement and dissenting opinions that initiated the debate, then I concentrate on the following issues: (I) the permissibility of (...)
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