WNPR

Should Parents Need A License To Have Kids?

Apr 10, 2018

Having babies is something we're supposed to do - even though few of us know anything about parenting until we're deep in the game. 

At the most basic level, we have babies to pass our genes to the next generation. There's also society, which needs children who will grow up and support the economy. And, at a personal level, babies bring us love and connection to something bigger than ourselves.

Yet, despite all that, should everyone who wants to be a parent get to be one?  Should we need a license to parent like we need a license to drive?

That's a tough one. I would not want the reproductive choices of my three daughters curtailed any more than I wanted my own choices challenged. The intimacy of parenting defies reducing it to a license.   

On the other hand, are limitations warranted to slow human population growth beyond the seven billion people already on Earth when roughly one billion children are abused every year and many are already experiencing shortages of food and water? 

On the flip side, who gets to decide how we take care of the kids we already have?  Utah just legalized 'free-range' parenting to prevent parents from being arrested if they allow their children more freedom to roam and stay alone. How the government will distinguish good parenting from neglect is still to be determined, but history shows it has a lot has to do with race and class.

That's the problem when we try to legislate human relations. There are tradeoffs to every decision we make in life. Maybe more so when we try to control the messiness of our humanity.

So, who should get to decide how we reproduce and under what conditions? Join the conversation.

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Colin McEnroe and Chion Wolf contributed to this show.