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Who has the right to make life?

October 09, 2004

God's creating continues through nature and, especially and

primarily, people. "Procreation," producing offspring to extend

humanity generation to generation, is a sacred responsibility. Unless

we procreate, well ... there is no future for humankind. However, the

"right to procreate" is not absolute. Holy Scripture and history

witness that many blessed people did not procreate and should not

have done so.

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As both a father and dad, I appreciate the sound bite: "Any male

can be a father; it takes a man to be a dad!" Don't we all know

people who should not be parents? Society is obligated to make

decisions about who are, and who are not, responsible adults, able to

live among the rest of us without specific restrictions and to

exercise their rights freely in our society. Clearly, there are

people we don't want around our children; there are others who should

not be out and about alone. Should there be criteria for who may

parent?

When, in the first chapter of Genesis, God said, "Be fruitful and

multiply," neither "without limitation" nor "irresponsibly" were

included. I think that both "responsibly" and "with reasonable

guidelines" were implied. In the Ohio case cited, it seems to me

unlikely that this fellow will "start paying child support" unless

his wages are appropriated, so the lower court's promise to imprison

him may be enforced. Attaching wages seems appropriate; imprisonment

for procreating, even irresponsibly so, seems harsh to me. At least

no one is threatening more drastic actions. God forbid!

THE VERY REV'D CANON

PETER D. HAYNES

St. Michael & All Angels

Episcopal Parish Church

Corona del Mar

Absolutely not. No state, organization or person should impose on

another person the inherent right to procreate. The Ohio Supreme

Court made the right decision. Had the courts ruled otherwise, then

other "unacceptable standards" of parenthood could also be argued.

This is not to say that the father should not be held accountable in

sustaining his children; to the contrary, he should be hounded.

IMAM SAYED

MOUSTAFA AL-QAZWINI

Islamic Educational Center of

Orange County

Costa Mesa

This one is a bit dicey, because it pits the morality of

responsibility against the morality of personal rights. What happens

if the government gets in the business of determining who has the

right to become parents? Over time, could these same restrictions be

applied to people of color, social status or religion? Granted, it is

far fetched, but why open the doors? Once precedent is set, things

change very quickly.

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