The right to a child is an absolute right. Discuss. (10 marks) – Madeleine Pengelly
Originally rights were seen to come from God, being made by God and being scared gives us rights. Some still hold this view while others now believe our rights com from nature simply because we are human and therefore have a higher intrinsic value than other creatures. However, others argue that our rights come from duties or responsibilities that we gave towards others. The right to a child is certainly not seen as an absolute right when applying to all ethical theories, each either believe it is a natural gift or will weigh up the situation and decide depending on the consequences making it a relative decision and right.
Followers of natural law would tend to focus of the ‘sanctity of life’ that is the ...view middle of the document...
However, it could be argued that the doctrine of double effect could counter the argument seeing the destruction of embryos as an unintended consequence of IVF. Overall, however, Natural Law would reject any means of a right to a child disagreeing with the idea that it is an absolute right.
However, followers of utilitarianism would weigh up the pleasures and pain of those involved and decide based on the situation and the consequences. They would consider the greatest pleasure for the greatest amount of people involved, possibly concluding that the amount of funding required by IVF would be better spent in life saving operations as it would support and benefit more people. Preference Utilitarianism would consider that no one’s happiness is more important than another is, so the happiness of a couple is considered. However, unlike natural law does not protect the status of the embryo or see it as sacred in any way as they don’t agree in the sanctity of life from conception.
Conversely, Kantian followers demand through the categorical imperative that people are treated as ends not means therefore ruling out the possibility of other people involved in actions such as IVF, sperm donors and surrogates. They believe that all humans should have the same moral treatment but see that there is a danger of treating the human life such as an embryo as another consumer good. The categorical imperative of universalisation would question whether it was possible to offer IVF to every infertile couple and if not arguably refuse it.
Overall, the right to a child is certainly not viewed as an absolute right but one that is either absolutely wrong as in the majority of cases of strong natural law followers and followers of Kantian ethics, or completely relative to the situation and the consequences of those involved in the case of utilitarianism.