In contemporary Western society, people are more often called upon to justify the choice t to have children than they are to supply reasons for having them. In this book, Christine Overall maintains that the burden of proof should be reversed: that the choice to have children calls for more careful justification and reasoning than the choice t to. Arguing that the choice to have children is t just a prudential or pragmatic decision but one with ethical repercussions, Overall offers a wide-ranging exploration of how we might think systematically and deeply about this fundamental aspect of human life. Writing from a feminist perspective, she also ackwledges the inevitably gendered nature of the decision; the choice has different meanings, implications, and risks for women than it has for men. After considering a series of ethical approaches to procreation, and finding them inadequate or incomplete, Overall offers instead a vel argument. Exploring the nature of the biological parent-child relationship -- which is t only genetic but also psychological, physical, intellectual, and moral -- she argues that the formation of that relationship is the best possible reason for choosing to have a child.
Christine Overall is Professor of Philosophy and University Research Chair in the Department of Philosophy at Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario. She is the author of Aging, Death, and Human Longevity: A Philosophical Inquiry and other books.