David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 30 (5):491 – 516 (2005)
An objection often is raised against the use of reproductive technology to create "nontraditional families," as in ovum donation for postmenopausal women or postmortem artificial insemination. The objection states that conceiving children in such circumstances is harmful to them because of adverse features of these nontraditional families. A similar objection is raised when parents, through negligence or willful disregard of risks, create children with serious genetic diseases or other developmental handicaps. It is claimed that such reproduction harms the children who are created. In reply to this Harm to the Child Argument, it has been pointed out that the procreative acts that supposedly harm the child are the very acts that create the child. This reply has been developed into an argument that, in most of the types of cases under consideration, creating the child does not harm her. This reply, the No Harm Argument, has been stated in three main ways, and it is one of the most misunderstood arguments in bioethics. This paper examines the main rebuttals that have been made to the No Harm Argument and argues that none of them is successful.
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