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Barnes, Elizabeth, , . Valuing Disability, Causing Disability
2014, Ethics, 125 (1): 88-113.
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Added by: Rochelle DuFord, Contributed by:

Abstract: Disability rights activists often claim that disability is not – by itself – something that makes disabled people worse off. A popular objection to such a view of disability is this: were it correct, it would make it permissible to cause disability and impermissible to cause nondisability (or impermissible to ‘cure’ disability, to use the value-laden term). The aim of this article is to show that these twin objections don’t succeed.

Comment: This text intervenes in the debate over whether disability, itself, makes someone worse off (the mere-disability/bad-disability debate). It could serve as a clear introduction to the sorts of arguments that support the view that disability is a bad-making feature of someone’s life, and contains easily understood counter-examples to that view. It has a place in a course covering disability, impairment, bioethics, autonomy, and social minorities.

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Conly, Sarah, , . One Child: Do We Have a Right to More?
2016, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
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Added by: Rochelle DuFord, Contributed by:

Summary: A compelling argument for the morality of limitations on procreation in lessening the harmful environmental effects of unchecked population. We live in a world where a burgeoning global population has started to have a major and destructive environmental impact. The results, including climate change and the struggle for limited resources, appear to be inevitable aspects of a difficult future. Mandatory population control might be a possible last resort to combat this problem, but is also a potentially immoral and undesirable violation of human rights. Since so many view procreation as an essential component of the right to personal happiness and autonomy, the dominant view remains that the government does not have the right to impose these restrictions on its own citizens, for the sake of future people who have yet to exist. Sarah Conly is first to make the contentious argument that not only is it wrong to have more than one child in the face of such concerns, we do not even retain the right to do so. In One Child, Conly argues that autonomy and personal rights are not unlimited, especially if one’s body may cause harm to anyone, and that the government has a moral obligation to protect both current and future citizens. Conly gives readers a thought-provoking and accessible exposure to the problem of population growth and develops a credible view of what our moral obligations really are, to generations present and future.

Comment: This book would be an excellent resource for an upper-division course on population ethics, ethcs of reproduction, autonomy, or human rights. It would also serves as a good overview of positions in population ethics or as a supplement to a class on environmental ethics and future generations.

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Lotz, Mianna, , . Procreative reasons relevance: on the moral significance of why we have children
2009, Bioethics 23(5): 291-299.
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by:

Abstract: Advances in reproductive technologies – in particular in genetic screening and selection – have occasioned renewed interest in the moral justifiability of the reasons that motivate the decision to have a child. The capacity to select for desired blood and tissue compatibilities has led to the much discussed ‘saviour sibling’ cases in which parents seek to ‘have one child to save another’. Heightened interest in procreative reasons is to be welcomed, since it prompts a more general philosophical interrogation of the grounds for moral appraisal of reasons-to-parent, and of the extent to which such reasons are relevant to the moral assessment of procreation itself. I start by rejecting the idea that we can use a distinction between ‘other-regarding’ and ‘future-child-regarding’ reasons as a basis on which to distinguish good from bad procreative reasons. I then offer and evaluate three potential grounds for elucidating and establishing a relationship between procreative motivation and the rightness/wrongness of procreative conduct: the predictiveness, the verdictiveness, and the expressiveness of procreative reasons.

Comment: This text is best used in teaching on procreative rights and the ethics of abortion. Since it is rather specialised, we recommend offering it as further reading in undergraduate applied ethics modules, but would suggest making it a required reading in postgraduate teaching.

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