Policing Preconception and Pregnancy? Procreative Moral Responsibilities and a Role for Parental Virtue.

UoM administered thesis: Master of Philosophy

  • Authors:
  • Rachel Warren

Abstract

Abstract: Policing Preconception and Pregnancy? Procreative Moral Responsibilities and a Role for Parental Virtue. The University of Manchester Rachel L M Warren Master of Philosophy (MPhil) 2017 This thesis is about the procreative moral responsibilities of prospective parents that intend to conceive, and the role of a parental virtue approach in encouraging prospective parents to discharge these procreative responsibilities to their future child without legal enforcement, or policing preconception and pregnancy. Following an introduction, Chapter One considers if procreative moral responsibilities exist, and if so, what they are. It identifies and explores key examples of procreative moral responsibilities. It addresses who has them, when, and why. It tackles the significance of the behaviour and character of prospective parents both before conception and during pregnancy. It considers the significance of the intention to conceive and the proximity to conception in terms of relevant capacity (fertility) and behaviour. It examines why the choice to continue a pregnancy to term and the choice to conceive both create procreative moral responsibilities, and the relevance of an account of parental virtue in this context. It explains why prospective parents that intend to conceive have procreative moral responsibilities to their future child that begin before conception. Chapter Two addresses whether the procreative moral responsibilities of prospective parents are currently legally enforceable (in England and Wales) and whether they should be. It explains what enforcement means, and argues that enforcement is not currently within the role of the law or state. As legal change is possible, it argues that enforcement should not be within the role of the law for ethical, legal and societal reasons. Furthermore, it suggests that procreative moral responsibilities could not be enforced, because enforcement via surveillance, intervention or sanctions is impractical. Finally, the practical reasons against enforcement suggest that these responsibilities are unenforceable. Chapter Three argues that prospective parents can be encouraged to discharge their procreative moral responsibilities without the use of legal enforcement, and describes how. It suggests that there is a useful role for a parental virtue approach, because an account of parental virtue can help to encourage prospective parents to discharge their procreative responsibilities without enforcement. This Chapter explores how and why. This thesis concludes that procreative moral responsibilities exist, and prospective parents who intend to conceive have procreative moral responsibilities to their future child that begin before conception. However, these moral responsibilities are not legally enforceable. Preconception and pregnancy should not be policed. Nevertheless, prospective parents can be encouraged to discharge their procreative moral responsibilities without the use of legal enforcement. Finally, there is a role for parental virtue in encouraging prospective parents to discharge their procreative moral responsibilities without legal enforcement.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Advisors
Award date31 Dec 2017