Making Babies: Is There a Right to Have Children?

2003.06.12
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Of course, one could hold that the slave-owners had two duties, one to free the slaves and the other to compensate them. But this would surely be to hang on to the substance of natural rights whilst letting go of the patter, because the only plausible reason to think that the slave-owner should compensate the slaves would be that he has wronged them and they have a claim to redress.

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Certainly, a calculation of general welfare could not be guaranteed to deliver this duty. The substance of the argument seems to be settled rather soon. It is not, however, until p. Still, despite this defense of the possibility of a natural right to assistance in procreation, the conclusion of the earlier argument stands: The discussion so far has concerned the infertile. Women, not wishing to give up their careers, may wish to bank sperm and later be artificially inseminated; or a couple may wish to choose between different eggs when normal procreation would involve a high chance of producing a seriously diseased child; Warnock sees nothing problematic about these cases.

Nor, sensibly, does she see anything wrong with parents who wish to have a child through IVF if this is necessary to produce a child with bone marrow compatible with that of a sibling in urgent need of it, for the child may nonetheless be loved for its own sake.

The crazy, conflicting fertility advice about when women should have children

Homosexuals who wish to have children are given more discussion, but again she can see nothing intrinsically wrong with this and thinks that, like the infertile, they should be allowed to obtain such procedures as AI or surrogacy. Warnock thinks that much of the resistance to such things comes from two fears: But however much we should respect these fears, they are, she thinks, a poor ground for denying people something that they desperately want. When she chaired the Committee of Enquiry into Human Fertilisation and Embryology, she also thought that commercial surrogacy was exploitative at least as it existed in the US at that time and vulgarized the business of childbirth p.

It is unclear whether she is still committed to these views though I suspect that she still has some sympathy with the latter—cf. The book is, despite a somewhat confusing structure, a pleasant read; it gives useful, brief descriptions of some factual and legal matters; and it contains more sound common sense about moral matters than is usual in this area.

But it is in the end rather disappointing, because, at this point in time, the issue demands considerably more sustained philosophical argument than Warnock gives.

As it is, there is little appeal to anything deeper than commonly held moral beliefs. Here is one example. Discussing the question of whether doctors may permissibly deny assistance in procreation to prospective parents whom they deem unsuitable on non-clinical grounds, Warnock says this:. The general meaning of the principle seems clear when the question is, for instance, whether children conceived through AID should be told of this fact p. It is, of course, considerably less clear when the question is whether or not a child is to be conceived or not.

But that is a vanishingly rare sort of case in the context of assisted procreation.

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Making Babies: Is There a Right to Have Children

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. Mary Warnock sensibly navigates the ethical questions surrounding assisted human reproduction. She concludes there is no right to have children She offers carefully balanced assessments of the grounds from which human rights arise and the implications of them. Her closing argument against the language of rights is compelling, "I would deplore any tendency for people to become so much obsessed with their right to have a child Well, to God or nature, or the midwife or the doctor, or the principle of continuity and the renewal of life itself.

It does not matter. She further addresses hot-button topics including cloning and allegations that assisted reproduction is akin to "playing God. At just over pages, Warnock's text makes for a quick and thoughtful read. As a father of three, all concieved via IVF, I enjoyed her book both for her thoughtful treatment and her conclusions.

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She is clearly very well informed on the subject and uses her wealth of knowledge on the subject to make fair judgements. A Choice Too Far? Genes, Disability, and Design. Of course, one could hold that the slave-owners had two duties, one to free the slaves and the other to compensate them. More commonly, the prospective parents are simply, for instance, relatively old, or disabled in some way; or they may have a history of child abuse.

Mary Warnock undertakes a large but manageable task in discussing the issues surrounding 'Making Babies' and delivers an impressive summary. Warnock treats issue with compassion, fairness and careful consideration, making it difficult to disagree with her conclusions. She is clearly very well informed on the subject and uses her wealth of knowledge on the subject to make fair judgements. An enjoyable, thought-provoking read which proved very helpful in reaching a personal ethical opinion on the issue of 'Making Babies'.

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Mary Warnock is rightly renowned as an academic philosopher who has not been afraid to become deeply involved in the practical outworking of her philosophy. Mary Warnock, Making Babies: Is there a right to have children? Oxford: Oxford. University Press, Pp. v, More than twenty years ago, Mary Warnock.