Academic journal article Ethics & Medicine

Why Have Children?: The Ethical Debate

Academic journal article Ethics & Medicine

Why Have Children?: The Ethical Debate

Article excerpt

Why Have Children?: The Ethical Debate. Christine Overall. Basic Bioethics Series. Cambridge, MA and London: MIT Press, 2013. ISBN 978-0-262-vERBACK, $18.95.

In this compelling manuscript, the author addresses the philosophical and moral arguments for and against the decision to have children. She maintains that the burden of proof for the desire to have children should be shifted from those who do not want to have children to those who do. She presents her arguments from a feminist perspective, maintaining that women bear the brunt of conceiving, gestating, birthing, and rearing children. While she essentially agrees that there is not one ethic for choosing to have children, she believes that having children is morally risky and thus should include rational arguments that take into account the future well-being of the child, the prospective parent/s' resources to care for the child, and the global problem of overpopulation. After dismissing what she considers to be the typical deontological and utilitarian arguments that people put forth for having children, she posits the following as the optimal motivation: "The lifetime of parent-child interaction is, I believe, key to understanding what is good about procreation" (p. …

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