Procreative and Reproductive Rights and Responsibilities

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As might be expected, whenever restrictions are placed on people's actions or activities, there will be resistance, particularly if these restrictions are seen to violate fundamental human rights. Does this apply to reproduction and procreative rights? There are at least three issues that are raised.

1. Individual/Human Rights versus Public Good. This matter boils down to parental rights to have as many children as desired (cf. Adamson et al., 2000) in opposition to one or more levels of the government placing limits on family size. China was discussed earlier in this regard.

2. Women's Health and Fertility. Some of the most cogent discussion of reproductive rights has come from a position that argues for empowerment of women generally. For instance, Hartmann (1995) succinctly presents this argument for government policy to address women's reproductive health needs rather than attempting to impose population control measures, which she stated often have denied women's rights in the area of fertility and family planning.

3. Men's Responsibility in Family Planning. This takes on the issue of more actively involving men in family planning, such as a consistent use of condoms, undergoing vasectomy (which is less risky than tubal ligation), and being receptive to research development that may lead to a male contraceptive pill (Ren etal., 2001).

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