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Poll #460607 Follow… - Sally's Journal
March 24th, 2005
01:49 pm

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Poll #460607 Follow on Poll

People have a right to be parents whether or not they'd be objectively seen to be good at it

Yes
27(56.2%)
No
21(43.8%)

I would be happy to give the right to choose if I could have children or not to

Noone - it is my decision if I can cope and bring up children well
19(38.0%)
A "perfect" power (some Godlike being) who could judge all the factors wisely (and was happy to do this to the best of their ability)
7(14.0%)
The government
0(0.0%)
A system like the driving test (in what way is this *not* the government?)
7(14.0%)
Other (please comment)
2(4.0%)

Which of the following are fair reasons to stop someone having children?

Not enough money
0(0.0%)
Previous criminal convictions for crimes against children
8(21.1%)
Previous criminal convictions for "irrelavent" crimes
0(0.0%)
Not enough knowledge about practical skills like nappy changing
1(2.6%)
Carry faulty genes (child will die before 14)
0(0.0%)
Carry faulty genes (not fatal stuff)
0(0.0%)
No permanent relationship with childs other parent
0(0.0%)
Other
2(5.3%)

(58 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments
 
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From:filecoreinuse
Date:March 24th, 2005 01:59 pm (UTC)
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Ack! It is hard to answer any of those questions (quite apart from me thinking there is no such thing as a 'right' - only society's expectations). Certainly I think that the world would be on the whole better if people were in some way required to really think before having kids but generally I tend to be of the opinion that - since we effectively removed survival of the fittest - the genetic 'quality' of the human race is in a unstoppable downward spiral.

Not too optimistic an outlook I know but I don't think there is anything to be done about it so hey, we might as well enjoy ourselves whilst we can :).
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From:smhwpf
Date:March 24th, 2005 02:01 pm (UTC)
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I would far rather that 'unsuitable' people were able to have children, than that the government - any government, or agency thereof, were given the power to decide who is or is not suitable. I do not trust anyone, however wise or well-intentioned, with that sort of power.
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From:the_alchemist
Date:March 24th, 2005 02:03 pm (UTC)
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No-one has a 'right' to be a parent, but unfortunately the consequences of allowing the government to make that decision are worse than the consequences of allowing individuals to make it.
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From:aldabra
Date:March 24th, 2005 02:04 pm (UTC)
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Haha, I'd never changed a nappy in my life. You learn these things.

_How_ are you going to stop people having children? The people you'd most want to stop are probably the ones who get pregnant unexpectedly anyway, so any intervention is going to have to be universal, early and obtrusive. I think "No!" to that. Even the "obvious" cases of people who have already "killed" three of their own babies turn out to be dodgy when you examine the convictions; I'd err on the side of keeping government a long way away from this.

OTOH, a "right" to be parents? I think I'd stop at "a right to try to be parents", and possibly exclude those who are already dependent on State assistance for day to day living due to mental handicap (though this is difficult because I wouldn't try to enforce excluding them if they were dependent on a family which was happy to keep helping, and ideally you don't want to penalise people too far for not having functional families).
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From:naath
Date:March 24th, 2005 02:25 pm (UTC)
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People (not allways the ones you here about in the news) *do* kill their own children - through both neglect and malice. People molest, rape, starve, beat, torture and kill *their own children*. And it's disgusting. Yes, sometimes babies die naturally but whilst you can't tell if it was cot death or deliberate in some cases in others it's bleeding obvious.

A man (or woman) who abuses children is much more likely to abuse their own. If you wouldn't want a paedophile teaching your children in school then you ought to feel sorry for the poor child being abused by his/her father/mother.

Beyond child abuse I think that I (as a tax payer) don't like paying for benefits for people's children when said people *knew* that they weren't going to have any money to raise the child when they chose to have the child. Everyone has the right (in my view) to assistance if they fall upon hard times and often people have children so then the children need assistance too but many people who have no money and are allready reliant on the gonvernment have children - costing the government even more money (also chavs are breeding too fast... my plan is to rid the world of chavs via unnatural selection).

Yes - you learn the skills of feeding and nappy changing but then if there was a test you'd just learn them a bit earlier. Me - I *know* I couldn't cope... Don't know how to test if people can cope with having a baby though.
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From:rochvelleth
Date:March 24th, 2005 02:05 pm (UTC)
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I don't think it's right to stop anyone having children, so I voted "other" for fair reasons etc.. If children are mistreated (I'm not commenting on extent - that'd difficult to quantify), then they should probably be removed from offending parents (though I have mixed feelings about social workers and their propensity for misjudging situations (which is not to say they do most of the time)). Um, so, yeah, that's what I think.
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From:satanicsocks
Date:March 24th, 2005 02:08 pm (UTC)
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At the moment it strikes me that intelligent people who realise they would not give a child the life it deserves[1] will not have kids, but less intelligent people don't realise that bringing a child into a world where it will be seen as a hindrance rather than an object of love is a bad idea. The problem seems to be making those people who fall into the second camp realise that reproducing is a bad thing, and to stop them doing it...

The whole idea of government/higher-power controlled fertility just feels completely and utterly wrong to me. The government have an almost infinite propensity for screwing things up... and it reminds me of the children lottery in Supertoys Last All Summer Long where couples wait most of a lifetime to be awarded one chance to reproduce. Yeek.

[1] I'd like to consider myself in this camp; I firmly intend never to have children but haven't quite worked through the "for the good of the society my genes should survive" arrogance yet :)
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From:mair_aw
Date:March 24th, 2005 02:31 pm (UTC)
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aw, but I can just see you with children. they'd be lovely!
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From:randomchris
Date:March 24th, 2005 02:13 pm (UTC)
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I think that a test should ideally be given, but not one that it's possible to fail. The test answers should be used to indicate whether the child is likely to have problems during childhood, and if necessary to give social workers an idea of whether they ought to visit the family, and what support might be needed from the government (child benefit etc.) that the parents might not know how to claim.

Just because someone doesn't seem to be suited to parenting doesn't mean that they won't be once they try it - there's no way to judge beforehand.
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From:naath
Date:March 24th, 2005 02:27 pm (UTC)
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Um yeah. People who can't stand children don't make for good parents. Also child molesters. And people with no money no matter how good their intentions aren't going to get very far.
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From:ewx
Date:March 24th, 2005 02:13 pm (UTC)
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(Obviously the right to be a parent doesn't mean anyone else has a duty to supply sperm/a womb so you can be a parent; and we might well think some people lack the capacity to make the decision. I'm ignoring these kind of details.)

Since I don't think there is any such perfect power I don't see I'm surrendering much by be willing to give up powers of decision to one l-) Of course I'd have to be convinced of their perfection, which would be difficult. I suppose my answer there really reflects that (like many other decisions) I'd be prepared to be talked out of it by someone with sufficiently good arguments.

I doubt that one can predict in advance whether someone will be good at being a parent (much as for many other activities), which is a large part of my answer to the first question.

I think ‘driving test’ would be a test that anyone could see the rules for, and learn for, while ‘government’ has more implications of arbitrary decisions by the currently powerful.

Practical skills can be learned, and I don't see why e.g. bank robbers can't make adequate parents.

I'm not sure how you stop a couple having children if they really want to. I'm venture that laws that can't be enforced, or can't be enforced in a proportionately humane way, are not good laws. So ‘fair reasons to stop people having children’ might not actually prohibit those people from having children even supposing I got to rewrite the law however I wanted it.

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From:naath
Date:March 24th, 2005 02:28 pm (UTC)
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Reversible surgical sterilisation at birth.
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From:oedipamaas49
Date:March 24th, 2005 02:16 pm (UTC)
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Most of this falls into the gap between "things I would consider it wrong to do myself" and "things I'm comfortable stopping other people doing".

The only thing I'd really be happy about the state doing is encouraging potential parents to *really* know what they're getting in for - e.g. have them spend x hours looking after other people's children beforehand. That, and of course keeping children away from child-abusers.

Problems with imperfect parents are better dealt with by making sure children are dependent on their parents for as little as possible. That way, if the parents are incompetent, the children can survive some other way. E.g. school meals, play-groups, sports clubs. Also generally working our way towards a less broken system of social contact, so children meet more people outside their family. And not continually telling them that 'mummy knows best', when it clearly isn't always the case.
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From:ixwin
Date:March 24th, 2005 03:00 pm (UTC)
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a less broken system of social contact, so children meet more people outside their family.

I agree - I think that would benefit all families, not just the really broken ones.
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From:cartesiandaemon
Date:March 24th, 2005 02:37 pm (UTC)
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It might be one of these 'best of unsatisfactory systems' thing.

In theory making sure people are competant to be parents[1] would be a good thing, but in practice the tests would be likely to end up including subjective stuff in a way that makes the entire thing unacceptable.

[1] And I've no idea where I'd draw the line. Lots of people probably aren't particularly good as parents, but not awful enough that I'd know in advance I'd want to stop them, and most of their kids turn out as well as anyone else's.
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From:cartesiandaemon
Date:March 24th, 2005 02:39 pm (UTC)
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Another related quagmire is that the opinions are related to the question:

"Would you rather not have been born or live but have a problematic childhood?"

Which I think people would answer in different ways, making it difficult for us to, as a society, choose an answer on behalf of potential people...
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From:wildeabandon
Date:March 24th, 2005 02:51 pm (UTC)
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I think that convictions for violent crimes in general should be a reason to stop people having kids. Also drug/alcohol addiction (not social use though).

I can't really answer the second question, as I (really, really, really) don't want children. I'm torn between feeling that letting the government or similar decide would be deeply unfair, and (rather harshly) that that's just tough luck, and the "right" to have kids is ridiculous anyway.
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From:enismirdal
Date:March 24th, 2005 02:56 pm (UTC)
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I'd be willing to undergo a fair amount of 'testing' to see if I was a suitable parent if it means that people who should NOT be bringing up children are never allowed to breed...

Things that to me should disqualify people from being parents include: inability to feed children healthily, lack of any kind of ambition for their children (I don't mean I want them to push them and try to turn them into child prodigies, but at the same time, some parents don't even seem to consider anything for their kids beyond getting a few so-so GCSEs and then getting an underappreciated job), having kids because they are bored/lonely (I have seen this happen), not having a clue how to discipline kids properly and bring them up with some understanding of the concept of respect...

OK, so I have a belief that there are way too many unfit parents breeding more and more unfit parents at present... *grumble grumble*
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From:feanelwa
Date:March 24th, 2005 03:20 pm (UTC)
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I don't know about the first question: There is no way to stop people having children when they want to have them, that is not very cruel to the people in question. Even for somebody who abuses their child, having them taken away by the social services causes emotional pain (that said I think it's still a better solution than leaving the child with them to be further abused).

I don't think there should be anybody else who decides whether I should have children but my reason for thinking this is not 'it should be my decision'. It's 'if I wanted to and somebody wanted me not to, they would do something very cruel to bring this about'. I think decisions only have owners after they've happened. I also don't think there is such a perfect being who could choose for me; if the perfect being is a god who controls the fates of people on earth, I'd throw things at it and send it packing to do something about Africa instead of making decisions in the first world that on the whole would have been made the same without it.

What I would like to happen would be that people who have children are taught that they have to treat their children like human beings if they want their children not to grow into wolves. The main problem with the children of teenage mothers is that the mother spends more time talking to other people on her mobile phone than talking to the child, so the child turns up at school aged five with a ten-word vocabulary. These teenagers aren't bad people - they just haven't been alive long enough to figure it out yet.

For me personally, I don't want to have biological children because my family on both sides has a lot of crap genetic or part-genetic conditions that I don't want to give anybody - that and I'd go insane looking after a baby in a house all day. I am thinking about adopting one day though - I think I'd be good at that because I know what it's like to arrive in a normal world and realise that behaviours that made perfect sense in a world of violence are now considered weird and unnecessary.
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From:ixwin
Date:March 24th, 2005 03:59 pm (UTC)
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teenage mothers

Of course, some teenagers do a very good job of parenting; just as some older parents are utterly dire.
From:neonchameleon
Date:March 24th, 2005 04:40 pm (UTC)
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Wrong questions.

People who have chldren have the responsibility to be good parents.

The govenment should not be able to tell people that if they can have childern then they must not, but they sould equally not ecourage people to have children.

(I'm of the view that parents should be compelled to invest a sum equal to each of their annual incomes in each child they have, reemable only by the child and only whe the child reaches 18)
From:neonchameleon
Date:March 24th, 2005 04:50 pm (UTC)
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Carry faulty genes (child will die before 14)

This shouldn't prevent adoption in any way, shape or form.
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From:ghoti
Date:March 24th, 2005 05:04 pm (UTC)
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I don't think anyone has the *right* to be a parent. I do think that noone should have the right to forcibly abort an'unauthorised' pregnancy.
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From:sashajwolf
Date:March 24th, 2005 05:11 pm (UTC)
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I don't think it's ever right to stop someone from having children (except indirectly, as has been pointed out, by putting them in prison for a criminal offence.) There are fair reasons for taking the children away, but not for preventing someone from having them in the first place. It's too much of an infringement of civil liberties. Just think what would be involved in enforcing it.

The only exception I can think of is in cases where someone has a learning disability which prevents them from understanding the process of sex, conception, pregnancy and birth - but that's an issue of capacity to consent.
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From:vyvyan
Date:March 24th, 2005 06:31 pm (UTC)
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I voted for allowing the government or some driving-test-like system to decide, but I haven't suggested any specific grounds for stopping people reproducing, because I don't really feel in a position to say what might make someone a good or bad parent. I'm more in favour of such restrictions on reproduction for environmental reasons than for child protection reasons, so I'd be just as happy with a quota system (e.g. the government works out how many children need to be born each year to maintain the population at a desired level, and anyone who wants to have a child can apply to produce one of these children), and no particular restrictions on who can be parents.

If this sounds very anti-child, don't worry - I've rendered myself incapable of reproducing anyway.
From:grumpyangel
Date:March 24th, 2005 07:52 pm (UTC)

*points to icons on other journal

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Sojourner's Land is based around the idea of a Britain in which the whole country has been sterilised at 12, in order to prevent the spread of Lauser's Syndrome. I'm kind of exploring the nature of Fertility - not just the biological sort - and also what right do we have to expect that the human race won't die out.

Given the declining population in certain countries, should we be making people have children?

Speaking for myself, if the government are funding IVF then they should have some say in who gets to receive it. IMO there is no right to have children.
Watching a friend going through a pregnancy from a distance, and knowing that it's likely the child will be in care before it's 18 months old (long story), I think parenting licenses would be a good idea. They shouldn't be academic, as there are academics who really shouldn't breed ;). It's more about flexibility, and ability to respond to situations. And then people who still want to be parents should be treated as any other professionals - salaried and it should be treated as a full time job for one parent.
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From:chess
Date:March 27th, 2005 10:35 pm (UTC)

Re: *points to icons on other journal

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The idea of professional parents is one that I outlined when I decided to document a perfect world government at the age of about 11...
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From:sonicdrift
Date:March 24th, 2005 09:34 pm (UTC)
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If there was a longlife implant you could have put in at puberty that didn't get taken out until you actually *wanted* kids it might be a start. With a course on parenting skills when it was? Admittedly the idea of testing someones competence/basic knowledge of childcare is tempting but I don't think I'd trust a government enough to let them decide who got to have children.
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From:leonato
Date:March 24th, 2005 11:45 pm (UTC)
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Just thought I'd say that in Britain, and elsewhere, there is clearly no legal right to parenthood (as opposed to actually giving birth, which we can't do anything about). Children are taken into care, fostered and adopted all the time. The government does decide who can and cannot be a parent. Does anyone who thinks we have a "right" or that the government cannot make such a choice object to the current system?
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