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    Reproduction is a liberty, not a right. Instead of “reproductive rights” we have “reproductive liberties” which are protected by rights to some extent.

    A person may chose to reproduce but other people have no obligation to help them. If the birth rate is too high leading to unsustainable population growth, the people can collectively decide to limit reproduction if it’s done in a way that doesn’t violate people’s rights, for example the right to equal opportunity (to reproduce).

    If a person fails to reproduce and that failure was not caused by anyone else, nobody has an obligation to make it happen. In some cases it may not even be possible.

    If a person did reproduce but the children died, and the person cannot have any more children, nobody has an obligation to make it happen.

    If a person has committed crimes for which the person has been convicted and imprisoned, and the person fails to reproduce before or after being imprisoned, nobody has an obligation to make it happen for them.

    If society agrees that it has overpopulated in comparison with available natural resources, society may enact a law limiting the number of children that each person may have. Such a law must be applied fairly to all, and be written and enforced in such a way that it does not violate anyone’s rights. Ideally, society would enact such a law before the consequences are so severe that they threaten everyone’s survival, and consequently everyone would still have an equal opportunity to reproduce at least once.

    If each person were to have an individual right of reproduction with no limits, and if everyone reproduces as much as they can, the global overpopulation will continue to become worse and the consequences will threaten everyone’s survival.

    So what are the reproductive liberties?

    Each person has the liberty to seek out a means of reproduction that’s available to them. This could be a partner, a donor, or medical assistance.

    Each person has the liberty of choosing when and where they reproduce. No person shall force another person to reproduce without consent. Rape is defined as sexual intercourse without consent, which violates the person’s right to dignity.

    Each person has the liberty of using contraceptives or abstaining from sexual intercourse if they don’t want to reproduce.

    See the abortion topic for a full discussion of abortion.

    Modern technology allows people to extract and store eggs or sperm for use later. If a person has stored eggs or sperm as a kind of reproduction insurance in case of a future injury, and someone takes the eggs or sperm and creates an embryo without consent, that violates the person’s right to property.

    Comparison to the United Nations:

    Article 16.1 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights states “Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.” Although people may disagree about whether marriage is a right or a liberty, and whether founding a family is a right or a liberty, we agree in principle that all people should be free to pursue reproduction without unfair discrimination by other people or by the state to adversely affect their outcomes. If the state must impose restrictions on reproduction, they must be done in a way that protects rights including the right to consent and the right to equal opportunity and the right to parental control.

    Related topics

    Sex. Abortion.

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