Toward Voluntary Parenthood



David Lykken’s proposal to license married parents for child rearing, and to deny the same opportunity to single and inept parents, springs from his deep concern for millions of youngsters cruelly subjected to abusive and neglectful rearing circumstances. Children from such inadequate homes grow up to have high rates of school failure, criminality, and drug addiction. The problem is clear, but Lykken’s remedies of mandated marriage and parental licensure are unacceptable in U.S. society, where our reproductive rights are fortunately protected by our Constitution. As a devoted proponent of reproductive rights, I propose a legally and morally acceptable proposal to the same end. Increasing women’s effective control of reproduction and moving toward entirely voluntary parenthood will accomplish the same goals without compromising our civil liberties.