Should unfit people be prevented from pro-creating?

Discuss Irish and International politics

Should people deemed unfit by the state to be parents, be prevented from pro-creating

Yes
6
38%
No
8
50%
Don't know
2
13%
 
Total votes: 16
munsterdevil
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Should unfit people be prevented from pro-creating?

Post by munsterdevil » Mon Aug 17, 2009 3:58 pm

This has reared its head in a few countries recently including the USA and the UK.

Personally I don't think such a law should be brought in, as due to human nature, human error will inevitably occur and perfectly normal women might be depreived of having children. Besides who are we to play "God"...

postedit:

I changed the word mothers to people, as it was correctly pointed out to me that fathers should not be excluded. I also changed the phrase "having children" to procreating, as it was also correctly pinted out to me that "having" could mean adoption. By unfit I mean, have a history of neglecting children, and abuse.
Last edited by munsterdevil on Tue Aug 18, 2009 3:19 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Tulip1
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Re: Should unfit mothers be prevented from having children?

Post by Tulip1 » Tue Aug 18, 2009 8:37 am

Very difficult one. I think when a mother is a danger for her kids and just keeps on having kids maybe. I'm always a scared about laws like this and how they will be used.

I'm a don't know at the moment. Would really like to read some more opinions.
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Re: Should unfit mothers be prevented from having children?

Post by Ygern » Tue Aug 18, 2009 9:47 am

There was a debate in the UK last year on this subject. It is a very emotional subject, and the idea of preventing someone from reproducing sticks in most people's craw. It is too reminiscent of the eugenics programs of the early 20th century; and I think that most people fear that the policy starts on a slippery slope that can only go badly.

On the other hand, the advocate's argument is that if someone has already been deemed an unfit parent - i.e. their existing children have been taken away from them; then it is logical to prevent them from having more children. The prevention method need not be permanent and could be reversed when the parent(s) are deemed fit.

Such people would never be allowed to adopt a child - they wouldn't stand a chance - but if they get themselves pregnant the automatic assumption is that it is their "right". But is it?

As a thought exercise, think about the tragic case last year in Roscommon http://www.irishhealth.com/article.html?id=14942
Should this woman be allowed to get pregnant again?

If you want to watch the Big Questions debate its available here:
http://richarddawkins.net/article,3486, ... c-2008,BBC
(Richard Dawkins is in parts 2,3 + 6)

But before I answer your question I have to ask a question: why only the mothers? Surely in a case where a man is guilty of child abuse / neglect / mistreatment he should be prevented equally from fathering children?
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munsterdevil
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Re: Should unfit mothers be prevented from having children?

Post by munsterdevil » Tue Aug 18, 2009 1:37 pm

Ygern Said:
But before I answer your question I have to ask a question: why only the mothers? Surely in a case where a man is guilty of child abuse / neglect / mistreatment he should be prevented equally from fathering children?
Yes that is a fair point and one I should have addressed, but how exactly does one strictly prevent a man from fathering children, a vasectomy? and if the law changes their mind later on a reverse vasectomy? But come to think of it it would be just as hard to control women bar a hysterectomy which is irreversible, (I hope I'm not coming across as sexist in this argument), it all goes back to my argument of playing "God".

I remember the debate you mentioned, and as I recall Dawkins was all for the law(I think), but I would have to disagree with him on that one.
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Re: Should unfit mothers be prevented from having children?

Post by Ygern » Tue Aug 18, 2009 2:12 pm

I think that those arguing for the policy were talking about a chemical method which would not be permanent, there are already injections and slow-release implants etc available to women that last anything from a year upwards. For example, the copper IUD has no hormones and can be used for up to 10 years.

There are fewer options are available for men. Vasectomies are technically reversible, although obviously difficult enough not to be recommended as conventional male contraception. But then these would not be conventional circumstances.

What are your objections to temporary legally required birth control in cases of an abuser?

Thought exercise:
We are talking about cases such as the parents of Baby P or the mother in the Roscommon case.

Would you let any of these three adopt a child once they have served their sentence?
Why, or why not?
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munsterdevil
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Re: Should unfit mothers be prevented from having children?

Post by munsterdevil » Tue Aug 18, 2009 2:31 pm

Would you let any of these three adopt a child once they have served their sentence?
No I obviously would not, they have shown they are unfit to look after children.
What are your objections to temporary legally required birth control in cases of an abuser?
Well for starters what is this "chemical method"? is it safe, has it been tested, are there long term affects/side affects etc.

Human error is another issue, if a woman decides to have a child say in her 40s and the powers that be wrongly decide that she is unfit, then it may be too late for her to bear a child, likewise in a mans case.

I know where you are coming from in your argument, but I would have to disagree with such a law, it just sounds like a slippery slope to a 1984ish totalitarian law.
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Re: Should unfit mothers be prevented from having children?

Post by Beebub » Tue Aug 18, 2009 2:55 pm

No because there would be no way of ensuring it's never abused. Apart from the fact that the death penalty is just wrong, I would have a similar view on it. A smaller part of the reason why I don't like the death penalty is because it is open to abuse and there circumstances where the jury/ prosecution can't be 100% sure they have the right person.

Look at the McBrearty case in Donegal.

It's also easy to cite black and white examples like the woman in Roscommon, but there must be examples of people claiming to have been abused by parents/ someone else that simply aren't true.

We had a case of it here recently. A woman came forward to say she made up a story agaisnt a young man when she was 11 to say he had abused her. He was convicted and later had it overturned. She said she did it because the two families were not getting on and she wanted to do something to them. Fine, she didn't fully understand what she was doing at the age of 11 but what if this man had been chemically prevented from having children after his conviction? He could later have his case called a mis-carriage of justice (which I think he did from memory) but he couldn't go back and undo being prevented from pro-creating.

This level of state control would scare the hell out of me.
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Re: Should unfit mothers be prevented from having children?

Post by nozzferrahhtoo » Tue Aug 18, 2009 3:09 pm

Interesting thread, but in dire need of some clarifications I think.

The main one being what do you mean by "unfit". What would your definitions and criteria be for this before proceeding to the second premise of whether to prevent them having children.

The second one and almost as important is what do you mean by "having children"? When I opened the thread and voted I just assumed we meant procreation and reproduction. However it is clear some users are also talking here about adoption. Do we mean both or one or the others? One is a lot less susceptible to people screaming "Eugenics" at every drop of the hat, while also being a lot easier to police. Denying someone adoption rights is on a much different level to denying them the right to conceive.
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Re: Should unfit mothers be prevented from having children?

Post by munsterdevil » Tue Aug 18, 2009 3:21 pm

nozzferrahhtoo wrote:Interesting thread, but in dire need of some clarifications I think.

The main one being what do you mean by "unfit". What would your definitions and criteria be for this before proceeding to the second premise of whether to prevent them having children.

The second one and almost as important is what do you mean by "having children"? When I opened the thread and voted I just assumed we meant procreation and reproduction. However it is clear some users are also talking here about adoption. Do we mean both or one or the others? One is a lot less susceptible to people screaming "Eugenics" at every drop of the hat, while also being a lot easier to police. Denying someone adoption rights is on a much different level to denying them the right to conceive.
I have amended it :wink:
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Re: Should unfit mothers be prevented from having children?

Post by Ygern » Tue Aug 18, 2009 3:24 pm

Re: long-term contraception for women - yes it's safe.
We're not talking about Frankensteinish experimental medicines. As with all medicines & medical procedures there are some side effects and contra-indications that will affect some women, but this is what is currently offered by GPs and family planning clinics to women who are looking voluntarily for contraceptives. Quite likely some of the women you know are already using one of these choices.

More on long-term contraceptives: http://www.online-ambulance.com/article ... ngterm.htm

My question for munsterdevil, while I completely share your concern about that "slippery slope", do you not see there is a contradiction between your saying this:
No I obviously would not, they have shown they are unfit to look after children.
but then allowing such a person to go ahead and have another child?

The argument that such a penalty might be incorrectly administered to an innocent person, while it is a serious concern, is not I think a sufficient argument to dismiss the issue completely. Everyone going to court in both a civil or criminal case runs the (statistically tiny) risk of being a victim of the miscarriage of justice.
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