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The Ethics of Parenthood$
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Norvin Richards

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199731749

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199731749.001.0001

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Whose Child Is This?

Whose Child Is This?

(p.51) 3 Whose Child Is This?
The Ethics of Parenthood

Norvin Richards (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

When someone has been separated from his or her children and wants to be a parent to the child, it has to be decided whether (l) that is to be permitted or (2) this person is to have no special standing at all with regard to the child or (3) he or she is to have a lesser role than full parenthood (and, if so, what that role should be). The chapter argues for a way of deciding that gives proper weight to the reason for the separation, its length, whether those who served as parents to the child in the interim were complicit in the separation, the best interests of the child, and the child's own preferences. It then applies this approach to the cases of Baby Jessica and Baby Richard, cases of “prenatal abandonment,” cases in which children are conceived in casual sexual encounters, and cases in which it is later discovered that two babies were “switched at birth.”

Keywords:   parents, children, parenthood, best interests of the child, Baby Jessica, Baby Richard, prenatal abandonment, switched at birth, casual sexual encounters

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