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Tue. December 06, 2022
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Around the World, Across the Political Spectrum

Some ideas about a human right to childlessness


Human rights are difficult to enforce all over the world. However, they are in place to protect people and ensure the right to the pursuit of happiness.  There is a human right to family, there is a human right to work. There is NO human right to childlessness.

We need to add to human rights.

Not every woman under every circumstance desires children. In our generation, one in four women remain childless. We don’t know the reasons. There may be many. Better protections against pregnancy might be one reason. However, other reasons might also play a role, such as different social customs in which relationships can be started and ended more easily, high levels of precariousness, in which women avoid starting a family naturally if they have a choice, poverty, violence and illnesses, which all are natural counterarguments to starting a family.

In addition, some advances in women’s rights mean that women in our times might dream of higher achievements in other areas. Women have been granted more freedoms due to advances in women’s rights. This might mean women might decide against children in favour of pursuing other goals.

From a feminist perspective, this would be direly needed. For true gender equality, we would need women who become great artists, great musicians, great philosophers or sportsmen. The LGBT community would agree with this predicament.

Forced marriage and pressure to reproduce should be outlawed, even if both still happen even in the most advanced countries. Unprotected intercourse if not for the mutual purpose of producing children could be classified as rape. The responsibility would need to lie with the male, as it is easier for the male to protect and usually the male incites intercourse.


Dr. Anna Cornelia Beyer is lecturer in international relations at the University of Hull UK. Her previous publications include: Violent Globalisms: Conflict in Response to Empire Ashgate, 2008 and Counterterrorism and International Power Relations IB Tauris: 2010. More information is to be found on her website: www.corneliabeyer.net.


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