Parents with Disabilities

In Leslie Francis (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Reproductive Ethics. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 407-427 (2017)
Abstract
Having and raising children is widely regarded as one of the most valuable projects a person can choose to undertake. Yet many disabled people find it difficult to share in this value because of obstacles that arise from widespread social attitudes about disability. A common assumption is that having a disability tends to make someone unfit to parent. This assumption may seem especially relevant as a factor in decisions about whether to allow, encourage and assist disabled people to reproduce and raise children. Yet there are reasons to doubt whether there is such a close connection between having a disability and lacking the ability to raise a child well. The aims of this paper are, first, to identify and clarify some values that are relevant to questions about allowing, encouraging and assisting disabled people to procreate and raise children, second, to give an overview of how these values can help us to address certain legal questions that arise for disabled people who aim to procreate and parent, third, to raise concerns about how to properly assess the parenting capacities of people with disabilities, and fourth, to suggest some ways in which having a disability can actually make someone a better parent.
Keywords disability  parents with disabilities  Rawls  justice
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