A proprietarian theory of custodial rights over children
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT REQUEST OF AUTHOR.] I defend a view that individuals have custodial rights over children in virtue of being the genetic parents of the child and that those rights are ownership rights over the child. We generally believe that custodial parents have rights over a child that no other person has. These are custodial rights. Contemporary reproductive technology has introduced a new problem; it is now possible for a variety of individuals to plausibly claim custodial rights in some cases. The question is, why do some people have custodial rights over a given child and others do not? To answer this question, I consider existing views of how custodial rights are grounded and present objections to those views. I then formulate and defend a proprietarian theory, based on self-ownership, which appeals to a right to products principle. This theory is sensitive to the interests of society and the rights of the child. As a result, it avoids common objections to proprietarian theories of custodial rights.
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