Human reproductive interests: Puzzles at the periphery of the property paradigm

Social Philosophy and Policy 29 (1):106-125 (2012)
The question of ownershipis important in addressing many issues of public policy. But the attempt to subsume all questions of rights under what I describe as exerts a distorting influence on debates about a variety of complex moral issues. More specifically, I argue that the application of the property paradigm deformed discussion of the nature and basis of parental rights. The claim that parental rights are not best understood as property rights is now widely acknowledged. However, while the property paradigm exerts only vestigial influence on contemporary discussions of parental rights, it still exerts a significant distorting effect on discussions of reproductive rights. I argue that focusing on the question of the ownership of gametes, in particular of sperm, tends to warp the moral dialog concerning reproductive rights. Those sensitive moral debates are better framed in terms of individuals' legitimate interests than in terms of property.
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DOI 10.1017/S0265052511000070
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Susan Moller Okin (1991). Justice, Gender, and the Family. Philosophy and Public Affairs 20 (1):77-97.

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