Parental Rights and Liability to have Children



Parental Rights and Liability


Is there a genuine “Right” to have Children and if so how far does it extend?


It has currently been established that every individual has a right to property while in the capacity of their own selves. Also, an individual has the right to own virgin land that they can, later on, transform using their labor. It has been found out from the two mentioned principles that it is possible to deduce the whole structure related to property rights. However, with regards to children the mentioned case is extremely difficult. Self-ownership rights by an individual seem to only been established for adults. It means that natural self-owners have to effectively use their minds in order to pursue and select their goals. On the contrary, it is common knowledge that newborns do not have a natural sense and thus not aware that they can be self-owners. They are only referred to as potential self-owners and this has created a problem (Katz 22). It is thus not easy to know if there is a genuine right concerning having children.


            The first argument mostly concerns the prenatal child, which seeks to answer questions such as what is the mother’s or parents property right with regards to the fetus. For a long time, the Catholic position regarding the matter has been dismissed in a brusque manner. The position held by the Catholic Church is that every fetus is a living being and anyone who undergoes abortion has indeed committed murder (Mappes & Degrazia 110). Therefore, the individual needs to be outlawed just like in the case of any other person who has committed murder.

Secondly, anti-abortionists claim that the fetus is a living being and thus entitled to all the rights that human beings have. It is no wonder that it is believed that a fetus is a potential human being and has entitlements to human rights just like any other human being. The two arguments prove that people have different opinions when it comes to matters concerning the right to have children (Mappes & Degrazia 123).


            Based upon the presented argument, the objection is that since a mother originally concedes to the issue of conception, a mother has thus entered into a contract. It means that they have a contract with the fetus and if they undergo an abortion, it does not mean that they are violating a contract. This doctrine has quite a number of problems, but at the same time, a future promise cannot be an enforceable contract. The only time that a contract is properly enforceable is when a violation exists and it has involved implicit theft. And when focusing on this argument, a contract does not exist. The reason is that the fetus cannot in any way be described as being a consciously and voluntary contracting entity. Also, based upon a libertarian theory point of view, there is a notion of inalienability of the will. It dictates that it not permissible to enforce slave contracts, which are voluntary (Mappes & Degrazia 132). Even in a scenario whereby a contract existed, it could not be possible to enforce it since the will of the mother is inalienable. Therefore, the mother cannot be enslaved legitimately into having or carrying a baby, if it is against her will or wishes. The objection based on the anti-abortionist argument is that the right to life has to be respected. However, the presented concept is quite ambiguous since accepted property rights that are often implied are available in the right to self-ownership. This is similar to an individual having to be free from any form of aggression.        


            There are many replies, which exist concerning if really a genuine right concerning having children exists. Some individuals believe that having the right to life includes even being able to bare a minimum with regards to the continuation of life. If for example, a mother has given birth to a child, it is claimed the mother is the only visible and certain parent. The baby’s creator becomes the owner and there is no newborn that has knowledge of self-ownership. The mother or any other party has to be the owner of the baby, but claiming that a third party has ownership creates other issues. It will mean that the mother will have natural ownership of the baby since it was seized using force (Mappes & Degrazia 145). A mother is the known rightful and natural owner of a baby and attempts made to seize her baby through forceful means are acts of invasion of property right.

The parents or the mother may at times not receive the child’s ownership in a manner that is absolute fee simple. It is because it tends to imply that it would be bizarre if an adult who is fifty years old to be subjected to unquestionable and absolute jurisdiction to their parent who is seventy years old. At all times, the right to parental property has to have limited time. Furthermore, it has to be limited with regards to kind because a libertarian has a belief in self-ownership. It advocates that a parent can thus have a right to torture or murder her or his children (Katz 39). Therefore even from the time of birth, parental ownership is not in any way an absolute right, but a guardianship or trustee kind. Every time a baby is born, they are not contained in the body of the mother and thus have rights to self-ownership based upon the virtue of being a potential adult and a separate entity. It is a violation as well as illegal when it comes to children’s rights if a parent is aggressive towards the child by murdering, torturing or even mutilating them. Parents should only have children if they are able to take care of them appropriately.


            In conclusion, parents have a right to have children so long as they do not pose any harm to them. A parent has an obligation, which is legal to educate, clothe and feed their children, and this is entailed on positive acts that focus upon depriving the parent of his or her rights. Ethics play a key role in determining if people should have the right to have children. In this case, it is unethical to murder to the fetus, while at the same time, if the life of a pregnant mother is in danger, then abortion would not be viewed as being unethical. It seems that now scientists have succeeded in creating test tube babies in their various laboratories. The creator is thus the scientist and they must have an obligation, which is legal when trying to keep a child alive. Indeed, there is no genuine right concerning the right of a person to have children.


Work Cited

Katz, Sanford.  When Parents Fail. Boston: Beacon Press, 1971. Print.

Mappes, Thomas. & Degrazia, David. Biomedical Ethics. Cincinnati: McGraw-Hill, 1995.Print.



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