Is there such a thing as a right to be a parent?

Aleardo Zanghellini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The moral right to be a parent has been left surprisingly under-theorised. In this al1icle I am concemed with showing that there is such a right. My starting point will be Raz's analysis of rights, whereby a right exists only if the rightholder's interest is of sufficient weight to: a) hold some subjects bound by a duty (a duty being a peremptory reason for action); and b) overcome possible counter-considerations. On the basis of these observations, I shall take two steps in order to argue that there is such a thing as a right to be a parent. First, I shall elaborate on why the interest in parenting is valuable; secondly, I shall argue that the interest is valuable to such an extent as to ground certain duties. In the process of arguing tllis, relevant counter-considerations will be taken into account, and shown not to outweigh the impOitance of the interest in parenting. I shall begin by briefly elaborating on the moral importance of the interest in parenting, with a view to making a case for its ability to ground duties and, hence, to ground a general right to be a parent. I shall go on to suggest that from this general moral right two different classes of rights can be derived: procreative and parental rights. I shall then examine several claims to the effect that there should be no such thing as procreative lights or parental rights, and which thereby cast doubt on the existence of a general moral right to be a parent in the first place. I shall explain that to the extent that these claims suggest that counter-considerations prevent the importance of the interest in parenting from working as a ground for duties in the areas of reproduction or parenting, they are unconvincing and/or lead to absurd conclusions. On the other hand, to the extent that these claims oppose procreative and parental rights because they regard rights discourse as problematic. I shall argue that the claims tend to misunderstand or misrepresent the concept of right.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-59
Number of pages34
JournalAustralian journal of legal philosophy
Volume33
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Is there such a thing as a right to be a parent?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this