Child Bearing- Human Right or Social Responsibility?

0920-mother.jpgAge: prefer that married couples are at least 16-18 years older than the child. Health:Prospective parents should in general be in good physical and mental health and have no serious medical conditions or communicable diseases. Finances:All prospective parents will need to show sufficient income or financial ability to care for a child. Criminal History:Parents who have any criminal history may find it very difficult. This is evaluated on a case-by-case basis and depends on the nature of the crime. Divorces:Some countries only allow a specific number of divorces for prospective parents.

The above would read as it would speak to the requirements for one to reproduce, they do not. They speak to the requirements to adopt a child. It seems a little unfair that a family hoping to adopt a child must undergo such scrutiny(which is a good thing), however traditional families(for the purposes of this article, consists of parents who birth naturally) are not subject to the same scrutiny and set of ‘preventative legislation’ (in this case speaks to requirements to ensure that children are placed in stable homes and afforded all the ‘Rights of the Child’).

For those who know me personally, they will understand that this is something I feel very passionately about. My views on the matter are quite clear. I feel that before a man or woman decides to produce or adopt a child, they should be financially and mentally equipped to undertake such a heavy responsibility. To me, it is not merely ‘my right’ to reproduce, I have a responsibility to society and my child to provide a stable home, feed, clothe, school and provide emotional guidance for my child. Alas, that is the opinion of one and the world would be a dull place without variety.

Quite recently I participated in a discussion about whether there should be a limit on the number of children one should be able to produce once they are deemed to be unfit parents. From my above argument, it would be pretty obvious what my take on the matter would be, but is it fair to impose my own beliefs through legislation on others? In my opinion, I have observed first hand what a society with many ‘irresponsible breeders’ looks like; and in very frank terms, it is rather depressing. I am of the opinion that it ultimately leads to a high crime rate, high illiteracy rate, low level of morale, high level of government dependence and a sense of entitlement. I can also acknowledge what happened to China after the introduction of their one child policy. Which brings me to my next point. Let’s look on the flip side. I feel that every child or potential child(in this case, starts from conception), is  a blessing from my deity. I feel that any intervention to bar this fruition is an abomination and an infringement on my human rights and freedom to practice religion. In a democratic society this would be an outcry as these liberties are the very foundation upon which democracy was formed. Besides, an unplanned pregnancy doesn’t necessarily mean my child will play no positive role in society.

The discussion was heated but fell back on legislation. I could go on and on in listing my own points for both sides but ultimately one of the roles of government, democratic or otherwise is to create policies and laws that govern the citizens of any country in a bid to promote growth and development. Most democratic societies would have seen suitably qualified persons with the aptitude, skill and competence elected to carry out these roles. To me, this also translates to taking decisive action, preventative or reactive where required. It may conflict with existing freedoms, however there must be considered for ‘the greater good’. Who determines the greater good? The government you elected.

I’ll end with the following questions, consider them food for thought

1. It is your right to reproduce, do you know what your child’s rights are? Do they even have rights and what should they be?

2. It is clear that adoptive families are held to a higher standard than biological families but why is that the case? 

3. I am robbed by someone, in his interview, he claims to not have received the proper guidance from his parents as there were 11 of them as children and his parents were unable to care for him. He received guidance from someone he considered to be a role model and embarked on a life of crime, influenced by his  new found ‘mentor’. In the above scenario, would a child restriction at 2(number  of children) made a difference?

4. Does the government at any point in time have the right to intervene in reproduction?

http://kidstoadopt.org/how-to-adopt/adoption-qualifications
http://web.mit.edu/lipoff/www/hapr/summer03_security/CHEN.pdf
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/china-to-dramatically-ease-one-child-policy
http://www.ohchr.org/en/professionalinterest/pages/crc.aspx

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