Artificial reproduction, the 'welfare principle', and the common good

Abstract
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 but also to public policy considerations. We argue that AR has implications for the common good, by involving matters of human reproduction, kinship, race, parenthood and identity. In this paper we challenge presuppositions concerning decisional privacy. We examine the essential commodification of human life implicit in AR and the systematicity that makes this possible. We address the objection that it is an ethically neutral way of having children and consider the problem of ‘existential debt’. After examining objections to the thesis that AR is illegitimate for reasons of public policy and the common good, we return to the issue of decisional privacy in the light of considerations concerning the legitimate role of the state in matters affecting human reproduction.
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