The State's Duty to Ensure Children Are Loved
by Luara Ferracioli
Do children have a right to be loved? An affirmative answer faces two immediate challenges: (i) A child’s basic needs can be met without love, therefore a defense of such a right cannot appeal to the role of love in protecting children’s most basic needs, and (ii) since love is nonvoluntary, it seems that there cannot be a corresponding duty on the part of parents to love their child. In this essay, I defend an affirmative answer that overcomes both of these challenges. First, I argue that the right of children to be loved is grounded in the value of children leading meaningful lives. Second, I argue that the right of children to be loved gives rise to a duty on the part of the state to do all that it legitimately can to ensure that procreation and parenting follow from a truly voluntary decision on the part of its citizens.
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