Letter: No `right' to have children

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The Independent Online
No `right' to

have children

Sir: The correspondence about the Child Support Act (16 May) raises ethical and legal questions, some of which are rarely discussed. The general principal of a welfare state is that people who fall on hard times should be supported by the state - that is, the rest of us - and this applies also to any dependent children they have.

Is it right then that society as a whole has no role in saying how many children people should have? I am not suggesting that there should be laws about it; but shouldn't we create a moral climate in which it is considered wrong for people to have children when they are unable to properly support and care for them?

Whenever these issues are raised there are many quick to claim their "right" to have children, and for their work in raising them to be valued. The fact is that, until we find the world actually short of people, those who have no children, or only one per couple, are giving the rest of us far more value by their forbearance, and it is they who should be lauded.