greg (grysar) wrote,

Pandagon article on reproduction as a positive right.

Pandagon discuesses a book that posits child-bearing as a positive right

"To be clear about it, the liberal view of reproductive rights is that there’s a negative right to conduct your reproductive right free from government interference, which means that you have a right to use birth control, IVF, have a baby, have an abortion, whatever, but the government has no obligation to provide the means for these things. Roberts forwards an interesting argument that reproduction is so critical to basic human dignity that we should have government provide support to make our choices, and without generous welfare, public funding for birth control and abortion, and possibly some government control over IVF, reproductive rights remain something that’s available for a fee and aren’t really rights."

Anyhow, this book finds that there are a whole lot of inducements available to prevent lower-class African American women and/or welfare recipients from having kids. No forced sterilizations anymore, but subsidizing Norplant inserts with no funds available for removal (which is particularly problematic when it causes health problems).

Anyhow, I'm sympathetic to free coverage of birth control for both ideological and practical reasons. Similarly a universal health care system of my devising would probably cover both semi-permanent birth control and methods for removing said control.

However, I don't really buy reproduction as a positive right. I tend to think of positive rights as nigh necessities to living a fulfilling life or indeed living at all. There may be exceptions, monks vowing to do without something, but those exceptions are widely seen as making a great sacrifice. Moreover, even under a more generous welfare state, raising children takes a lot of work. Actively removing hurdles seems at odds with the responsibility being undertaken. This may change at some point in the future, although I'd be surprised if such a future came about anytime soon.
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