The right to procreate - Freedom and necessity

Van Bogaert, Louis-Jacques (2005)

CITATION: Van Bogaert, L.-J. 2005. The right to procreate - Freedom and necessity. South African Medical Journal, 95(1):32-34.

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Rights do not exist without corresponding obligations. As with all rights, the right to reproduce has a flip-side, viz. the duty and responsibility to control it. Matters of life and death and ethical issues surrounding the beginning and end of life are at the heart of bioethical debates. The view that life is a gift that is not ours to give and take is at the heart of the religious and moral tradition. However, the taking of life seems to attract more moral consideration than the giving. The ethics of adding more people to life rather than more life to people is conspicuously shunned. As noted by Campbell et al.,1 ‘ironically, the sanctity with which we endow all human life often works to the detriment of those unfortunate humans whose lives hold no prospect except suffering’.

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