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Bortolotti, Lisa, , Daniela Cutas. Reproductive and Parental Autonomy: An Argument for Compulsory Education
2009, Reproductive Biomedicine Online, 19 (Ethics Supplement): 5-14.
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Added by: Rochelle DuFord, Contributed by:

Abstract: In this paper we argue that society should make available reliable information about parenting to everybody from an early age. The reason why parental education is important (when offered in a comprehensive and systematic way) is that it can help young people understand better the responsibilities associated with reproduction, and the skills required for parenting. This would allow them to make more informed life-choices about reproduction and parenting, and exercise their autonomy with respect to these choices. We do not believe that parental education would constitute a limitation of individual freedom. Rather, the acquisition of relevant information about reproduction and parenting and the acquisition of self-knowledge with respect to reproductive and parenting choices can help give shape to individual life plans. We make a case for compulsory parental education on the basis of the need to respect and enhance individual reproductive and parental autonomy within a culture that presents contradictory attitudes towards reproduction and where decisions about whether to become a parent are subject to significant pressure and scrutiny.

Comment: This text provides a clear overview of debates about reproductive autonomy and compulsory education. It also contains responses to well known criticisms of compulsory parental education. It would be best used in a course dealing with issues of parenthood and procreation, reproduction, or autonomy in a medical context.

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Inmaculada de Melo-Martin, , . Rethinking Reprogenetics: Enhancing Ethical Analyses of Reprogenetic Technologies
2017, New York: Oxford University Press
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Added by: Björn Freter, Contributed by:

Publisher’s Note: Reprogenetic technologies, which combine the power of reproductive techniques with the tools of genetic science and technology, promise prospective parents a remarkable degree of control to pick and choose the likely characteristics of their offspring. Not only can they select embryos with or without particular genetically-related diseases and disabilities but also choose embryos with non-disease related traits such as sex.

Prominent authors such as Agar, Buchanan, DeGrazia, Green, Harris, Robertson, Savulescu, and Silver have flocked to the banner of reprogenetics. For them, increased reproductive choice and reduced suffering through the elimination of genetic disease and disability are just the first step. They advocate use of these technologies to create beings who enjoy longer and healthier lives, possess greater intellectual capacities, and are capable of more refined emotional experiences. Indeed, Harris and Savulescu in particular take reprogenetic technologies to be so valuable to human beings that they have insisted that their use is not only morally permissible but morally required.

Rethinking Reprogenetics challenges this mainstream view with a contextualised, gender-attentive philosophical perspective. De Melo-Martín demonstrates that you do not have to be a Luddite, social conservative, or religious zealot to resist the siren song of reprogenetics. Pointing out the flawed nature of the arguments put forward by the technologies’ proponents, Rethinking Reprogenetics reveals the problematic nature of the assumptions underpinning current evaluations of these technologies and offers a framework for a more critical and sceptical assessment.

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Olsaretti, Serena, , . Children as Public Goods?
2013, Philosophy and Public Affairs 41(3): 226-258.
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Added by: Carl Fox, Contributed by:

Content: Olsaretti is interested in the question of whether nonparents in a just society have a duty to share some of the costs of raising children with those people who choose to be parents. She considers the main argument in favour of that claim, that children are public goods. Although she sees some merit in the public goods approach, she develops an alternative socialised goods argument, which she holds to be ultimately stronger.

Comment: Helpful for examining issues around children, parents, non-parents and distributive justice, and also for thinking about individuals bearing responsibility for choices more generally. Could be a specialised required reading or further reading.

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Veit, Walter, , . Procreative Beneficence and Genetic Enhancement
2018, KRITERION – Journal of Philosophy 32(1): 75-92
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Added by: Björn Freter, Contributed by:

Abstract: Imagine a world where everyone is healthy, intelligent, long living and happy. Intuitively this seems wonderful albeit unrealistic. However, recent scientific breakthroughs in genetic engineering, namely CRISPR/Cas bring the question into public discourse, how the genetic enhancement of humans should be evaluated morally. In 2001, when preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) and in vitro fertilisation (IVF), enabled parents to select between multiple embryos, Julian Savulescu introduced the principle of procreative beneficence (PPB), stating that parents have the obligations to choose the child that is expected to have the best life. In this paper I argue that accepting the PPB and the consequentialist principle (CP) that two acts with the same consequences are morally on par, commits one to accepting the parental obligation of genetically enhancing one’s children.

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