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Should we have reproductive rights at all?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/9/2018 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 482 times Debate No: 106540
Debate Rounds (5)
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*Ignoring any religious arguments or supposed religious "evidence" (i.e. an afterlife)

It is only logical that our "conscious" (for lack of a better term) is sculpted de novo from conception and throughout life by the various influences and pathways we take (obviously with some genetic influence, however this only predisposes and slightly limits but doesn't ultimately determine who we are) as such does anyone (referring to humans and equivalent sentiment beings if there are any) have the right to give birth to a being unless they can ensure they have a perfect life (which is impossible) rather than birthing them into a world that has joy only because of comparative pain. Obviously I think no one has that right (disclosure: i'm probably a slightly depressed individual who is extremely abnormal hence my pattern of thinking ;p) as no one can completely shelter/ provide a perfect life and therefore its logical not to me that we shouldn't take the non-existent (who doesn't know anything: not happiness, but not pain - a somewhat peaceful state to me, although it's not a state at all * it's non existent) and then somehow presume that we gave them the miracle and gift of life when really most people don't understand the sheer responsibility giving birth to another being is or ponder the fact that they are ultimately giving birth to a child for selfish reasons (as the child is non-existent it has no want or say to be anything - it isn't anything) . I'm not sure if this comes across clearly, but to me there is no reason to conceive a child: other than in the reality of most peoples scenarios selfish, societal and biological urges (which is simply rooted in survival and is essentially equivalent to existing just because we can - e.g. we all have a ancestral link to a simple bacterial cell that existed on the premise of surviving, lacking any conscious reason to do so at all just because that was the mechanism of life at the time) reasons to give birth.


Hey, non-religious person here, so that's outta the way. So when you say there's no reason to have a kid, that might just be your way of thinking but when you use the term "right" are you implying that you would get the government involved to stop a couple from having a kid? I still there think there is reason to have a kid: one of them being the fact that a lot of people are responsible for making the world a much better place than it was even thirty years ago, and I think life will keep improving, as the trend shows. So if none of those life-changers were born, life would kind of suck.
Debate Round No. 1


Hi non-religious person. I may have phrased "right" wrongly, I mean it as less of a government enforced law (that would be impossible to enforce and would resemble a 100% nanny state) and more of a philosophical choice that we should make if we were truly compassionate beings. I take your point that the world is increasingly improving, in some certain areas at rapid rates, however I feel it will be true that whenever we solve or conquer one problem new ones are arising at double the rate. Take 2017 as an example of a disastrous global year, as we find all the progressive initiatives we have started as a society (equal pay, sexual harassment, bullying now progressing to cyber bullying, racism & even an attack on actual facts) are all unravelling before our eyes or we now understand to have been built among shaky foundations in the first place.
I simply do not understand how, if someone really thought about it, they felt it their right to give birth to a being that wouldn't have had to go through any of this? They simply would not have existed and it wouldn't matter as they have no want to be alive or not to as they don't exist, yet we make this decision for them.
I guess this leads onto another argument that why should the human race live on, if every human just did not give birth and consequently we die out and no humans existed there would logically be no "evil" / "wrong" as these are all human concepts. What really would be wrong with this - I mean we know all human life will end at some-point eventually. It almost questions why we even give birth (other than selfish reasons) when we know our children's impact and their children's impact really has no impact in the long term scheme of things (and regarding that time is just relative it just goes to show nothing really truly matters as it all comes to an end- so why even put anyone through that with the high possibility that at the end of their life they will not truly have enjoyed their lives? )


I guess it just depends on your view of life; sure everyone can be a half-full or a half-empty person, and there is a chance your child can be an optimist, somebody who changes the world, or at least an accomplished person. Having a successful kid means that you, as a parent, are a success. So sure we have problems, but that doesn't have to stop people from being happy and doing their part to make life better for everyone. Who knows, you can have a kid that cures cancer. There's a world of possibilities. I understand the argument of having the human race die off, you're right there is technically nothing wrong with that. However, a problem is that even if you choose to have no children, other people might accidentally conceive, so now there's a new person in the world who can benefit from having a companion of some sort. Maybe your kid can get married to that accidental child when they grow up.
Debate Round No. 2


Sorry didn't see your post yesterday.


1. "chance your child can be an optimist, somebody who changes the world"

But why must we put them in this position? Why should we have children to correct the mistakes of the previous generation which only leads to an endless cycle of their children correcting their mistakes and so on?
It just seems sensless. We are creating beings and pushing them into a world were it is impossible to quell all wrongdoings (again this is impossible in another sense , in that as long as 2 people exist on earth right and wrong is purely subjective). It seems selfish that instead of letting ourselves die without procreating instead we persist this cycle of pain. Of course in the flipside you could say there is happiness but in truth if we look outside those of us who are privaleged to live in first world developed countries (who still face a variety of modern day problems -e.g. mental health and stress) many face poverty and basic violations of universally agreed human rights. So regardless of if they are an optimist or not, the reality is there is a high chance they will at some point be in a very pesimistic situation (we can't judge how painful that situation might be so we put a being who would not have to go through it at all through that. Lastly, this may just be a "pessimists view" but it seems far more logical that true hapiness is only born out of the relisation of the abscence of sadness & pain etc.

2. "Having a successful kid means that you, as a parent, are a success"
This is the very thing I take issue with. Your children are not your moulds to present to the world to show that you are not a failure. Their lives in reality should have no entaglment with your own. In my mind you have thrust (in a quit literal sense ;P) this child into the world without it having any say (again because it has had no previous existence) and so you should devote your life to ensuring it is as perfect as can be (which of course to many would seem like a delueded helecopter parent). Your children are completely seperate to you, they are not your second lives and nor should they be trophy children and nor should they be born to simply follow the mould of thinking "well everyone has children therefore I should" without even questioning the life that child might have.

3. "So sure we have problems, but that doesn't have to stop people from being happy and doing their part to make life better for everyone. "
Again happiness is a temporary state like sadness. Its also hard to weigh up emotions and the strength of emotions to decide in a mathematical sense if your life has been "good" (e.g. 51% happy therefore I had a good life). Secondly, again, regardless of how they improve others lives it like fighting a loosing battle as there will always be someone in the world facing absolute imaginable pain and suffering (I literally wake up everyday feeling absolutely disturbed in some of the societys we live in) at any point in time. But essentailly this could all be ended it we cease to exist.

4. "you can have a kid that cures cancer"
Then in 100 years time we all face the serious effect of superviruses and bugs due to antibiotic resistance. Also you can't cure "cancer", you could cure "a cancer" and also it would be a collective effort of generations of people not just one. Almost this is a bit to literal but cancer would not exists in humans if humans didn't exist. Also mutations are constant and that means there is a constant and almost an endless amount of issues the human body can face (although gene editing could fix this, it would constantly be limited -and right so- by society). Sorry for the tangent.

5."However, a problem is that even if you choose to have no children, other people might accidentally conceive, so now there's a new person in the world who can benefit from having a companion of some sort. "

I agree that the premis of my argument fails in a literal, implementable sense, but im arguing it as more of a philosophical awakening that we don't need to exist. Of course there are hundreds of thousands of people a day who engage in sexual intercourse with some absent mindly producing children and not giving a second care to their quality of life. However I find it shocking that "voluntary childlessness" firstly ins't generally accepted (with many people defenses that i've come across being "I want, children" and I say why and they reply with a multitude of selfish reasons or worse "because everyone does, that what you do!") or widely more though about. I'm arguing it is morally justified and a superior action not to have children than to have children.

Tackling the second part of companionism, do we need a companion for benifit?, do we need more than one companion? (poligamy). Also in India and China there are thousands of children who will not have companions as selfish people value males over females as personal status symbols, leading to huge gender imbalances (again just an example of mindless procreation). It is evolutionarily programmed into us to want to survive and at the same time evolution has given us this unique (*to our knowledge) ability to questio n the very reason why we exist and shoudl continue to exist in a world without fixed purpose or instruction.

Thank you for having this debate with me as it has lead me to discover the school of thought I have been arguing for absent midedly.

Antinatalism -is a philosophical position that assigns a negative value to birth. Antinatalists argue that people should refrain from procreation because it is immoral.

I have yet to fully look into the position, but this is one of the quotes I find best suits my position on the matter.
"Consciousness has become over-evolved in humans, therefore making us incapable of functioning normally like other animals: cognition gives us more than we can carry. We want to live, and yet because of how we have evolved, we are the only species aware that it is destined to die. We are able to analyze the past for broad expectations of the future, both our situation and situations of others; we expect justice and meaning in a world where neither occur. This ensures that the lives of conscious individuals are tragic. We have desires: spiritual needs which reality is unable to satisfy, and our species still exists because we limit our awareness of what that reality actually entails. "

" According to Zapffe, humanity should cease this self-deception, and the natural consequence would be its extinction by abstaining from procreation"

Looking forward to next round. 🙂



1. We just gotta remember that there are people out there that are happy they are born. You don't have to be rich to be happy and you don't have to live in poverty to be sad. So some people are pessimists, and if they don't want to, they don't have to have children. It really is a case-by-case basis: some people are happy, some are not.
2. What I meant by this is not "you as a person are success..." I meant "you did your job just as a parent." I disagree that children are not a second life, I think they become a giant time-consuming responsibility once they are conceived.
3. You're right, a lot of people are in pain all the time, but that doesn't quite justify ceasing to exist because it ignores the people that are not in pain all the time and are happy. What do you think about them though? Should they cease to exist eventually?
4. Maybe curing cancer was not a good example haha but you can think of anything that improves peoples lives, maybe creating a better treatment for depression, for example.
5. I agree we don't need* to exist necessarily, but it is nice (IMO).
Debate Round No. 3
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Debate Round No. 4
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Debate Round No. 5
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by canis 3 years ago
"Should we have reproductive rights at all? "
An evolutionist would probably say that we have no rights at all. Rights have to be taken/won. In a democracy you just have to wote..
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