The United Nations predicts human population growth will surpass 9 billion around 2050.
The world already has too many people. 7.3 billion. It’ll probably hit over 11 billion by the end of the century. Too many people, too few resources, too much damage to the environment. Disaster, Disaster, Disaster.
But that doesn’t answer the question. Do people have the right to have children or not? General theories of right and morality are above my pay-grade. But I’m certain that some people don’t have the right to have children.
In particular, I don’t think teenage boys have the right to make women pregnant. We don’t let kids drive until they are 16, vote until they are 18, or drink until they are 21. Children should not be allowed to create a situation where a girl or young woman has a nine-month pregnancy, which leads to a human being that may be around for 90 or 100 years. It’s a lot to expect a hormone driven teenage boy with a not fully developed brain to make such a consequential decision. Thoughtless act has huge direct consequences on two other human beings. Ridiculous to call that a right.
To implement this policy we’d need to develop sure-fire reversible vasectomies. Boys get one at puberty and can get it reversed at 21 or 25 --- or maybe 45 --- when they are old enough to make rational decisions.
As to girls, I don’t see that hormone crazy, boy crazy young girls have the right to foist an additional human being on the world, and existence on that human being, before they are old enough to take care of themselves.
Well how about a married, adult, reasonably rational couple. Do they have the right to have a child? Two children? As many as they want? I think if the world reached population equilibrium, couples should have the right to biologically produce 2 children, and to adopt as many more as they can care for.
China was faced faced with a non-equilibrium situation: a population bulge that would enlarge the world’s largest population, in a country with limited resources. So their one-child policy could be justified on utilitarian grounds. But not the way they implemented it, which I gather included forced abortions and such. I don’t think utilitarianism is the right moral theory, although it may be part of it. But I think utilitarian considerations are appropriate for social policies that effect the future of the whole world.
But, as I said, I try to be moral, but thinking about morality is above my philosophical level of competence. But does that mean I shouldn’t do it?