Can a Right to Reproduce Justify the Status Quo on Parental Licensing?

In Richard Vernon, Sarah Hannan & Samantha Brennan (eds.), Permissible Progeny: The Morality of Procreation and Parenting. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 184-207 (2015)

Carolyn McLeod
University of Western Ontario
Andrew Botterell
University of Western Ontario
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 an earlier paper, we challenged this system of parental licensing by showing that arguments in favour of it do not succeed. One argument we failed to consider, however, is that prospective biological parents have a right to reproduce that protects them against the sort of state interference that is involved in parental licensing. According to this argument, because prospective adoptive parents do not exercise a similar right when attempting to become parents, they are not similarly protected. In this paper, we argue that this reproductive rights argument, like other arguments in favour of the status quo on parental licensing, is flawed. We also question whether people in fact have a right to reproduce, and in doing so distinguish this right from others that we think are legitimate, including a right to become a parent and a right to bodily autonomy.
Keywords parental licensing  adoption  reproduction
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References found in this work BETA

A Defense of Abortion.Judith Jarvis Thomson - 1971 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 1 (1):47-66.
On the Nature of Rights.J. Raz - 1984 - Mind 93 (370):194-214.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Medical Nonnecessity of In Vitro Fertilization.Carolyn McLeod - 2017 - International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics 10 (1):78-102.
Does Reproductive Justice Demand Insurance Coverage for IVF? Reflections on the Work of Anne Donchin.Carolyn McLeod - 2017 - International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics 10 (2):133-143.
Parental Licensing and Discrimination.Carolyn McLeod & Andrew Botterell - 2018 - In Anca Gheaus, Jurgen De Wispelaere & G. Calder (eds.), Routledge Handbook on the Philosophy of Childhood and Children. New York, NY, USA: pp. 202-212.
Here’s Not Looking at You, Kid: A New Defense of Anti-Natalism.Blake Hereth & Anthony Ferrucci - 2021 - South African Journal of Philosophy 40 (1):14-33.

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