Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Friday, July 25, 2014

Article on Intergenerational Justice for Children

Elizabeth bartholetElizabeth Bartholet (Harvard Law School) recently published an article entitled, Intergenerational Justice for Children: Restructuring Adoption, Reproduction and Child Welfare Policy, Law & Ethics of Human Rights, Vol. 8 Issue 1, 103-130 (May 2014).  Provided below is the article’s abstract:

An intergenerational justice perspective requires that we look at the condition of the existing generation of children and those to be born in the future. Many millions of the existing generation of children are now in trouble and at high risk of never fulfilling their human potential. These children are in turn unlikely, if they live to produce children, to be capable of providing the nurturing parenting that the next generation will need.

The article’s starting premises are that we should count child interests as of equivalent value to adult interests and that we do owe justice not just to the existing generation of children but to the next generations as well. Justice to the next generations means encouraging the creation of children who will have a good chance to enjoy the pleasures of life, children who will be born healthy and will be brought up by nurturing parents. Given these premises, there is much wrong with current reality and related policy.

We now encourage the reproduction of more children than we can care for, provide limited child welfare enabling poor parents to better care for their children, and discourage adoption both domestic and international. We should reverse these policies. We should change the pronatalist and anti-contraception policies that encourage the reproduction of children who won’t likely be born healthy or receive nurturing care. We should provide child welfare so that poor parents who want to keep and raise their children can do so. We should encourage adoption, both domestic and international.


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