The ethics of having children
Michael De Dora
Posted on June 22, 2012
You might recall that a couple weeks ago I posted about an essay in New Yorker, “The Case Against Kids,” in which Elizabeth Kolbert argued that there are circumstances under which it is unethical to have children.
Christine Overall, writing in the New York Times this week, agrees:
The question whether to have children is of course prudential in part; it’s concerned about what is or is not in one’s own interests. But it is also an ethical question, for it is about whether to bring a person (in some cases more than one person) into existence — and that person cannot, by the very nature of the situation, give consent to being brought into existence. Such a question also profoundly affects the well-being of existing people (the potential parents, siblings if any, and grandparents). And it has effects beyond the family on the broader society, which is inevitably changed by the cumulative impact — on things like education, health care, employment, agriculture, community growth and design, and the availability and distribution of resources — of individual decisions about whether to procreate.
Keep reading here.