Sex & consequences: world population growth vs. reproductive rights

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Publication Type Journal Article
School or College College of Humanities
Department Philosophy
Creator Battin, Margaret P.
Title Sex & consequences: world population growth vs. reproductive rights
Date 1997
Description Conflict between concern over global population growth (still rising precipitously, even though growth rates have slowed) and concern for reproductive rights is intense. NeoMalthusians, on the one hand, point to the dire consequences of overpopulation; feminist defenders of reproductive rights and religious opponents of population control, on the other, point to abuses population programs have involved. In this paper 1 explore how developments in reproductive technology, present and future, may provide a solution to this conflict - one which promises both a significant drop in population growth and the fullest protection of reproductive rights and preferences. Drawing on the distinction between two principal types of contraception, short-acting or "time-of-need" technologies and long-term or "automatic" contraception, it poses a thought-experiment: What if everybody - all fertile females, and when the technology becomes available, all fertile males - were to use "automatic," "reversible contraception? The effect of this circumstance would be to reverse the default mode, so to speak, in human reproduction, so that having a child would require a deliberate choice, followed by the action of removing or neutralizing one's form of contraception. Under the assumption that people would choose to have fewer children than they would accept having when unplanned conception occurs, we can predict a dramatic decrease in population growth - indeed, the greatest possible decrease consistent with the full protection of reproductive rights for both females and males, Such a prospect would be morally acceptable only under two conditions, 1) universality, to avoid the targeting of groups perceived as at higher risk. And 2) guaranteed reversibility, so that people can always attempt to have the children they want. If these conditions are met, it is possible to resolve much of the conflict between neoMalthusian concerns over population growth, on the one hand, and feminist and at least some religious concerns about reproductive rights and population control on the other.
Type Text
Publisher Center for Philosophic Exchange
Volume 27
First Page 16
Last Page 31
Subject Reproduction; Population growth; Birth control; Feminism
Subject LCSH Contraception; Population
Language eng
Bibliographic Citation Battin, M. P. (1997). Sex & consequences: world population growth versus reproductive rights. Philosophic Exchange, 27, [16]-31.
Format Medium application/pdf
Format Extent 7.091,503 Bytes
Identifier ir-main,2518
ARK ark:/87278/s6n30f7z
Setname ir_uspace
Date Created 2012-06-13
Date Modified 2021-05-06
ID 704277
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