Should There Be A License to Have Children?

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A thoughtful piece by Charleston family law attorney Gregory Forman on the recklessness and irresponsibility with which people have children they are not competent to raise. In it he writes, "Look how many obstacles are placed in front of folks who want to adopt a child: social worker home studies; guardians ad litem; formal court proceedings. Meanwhile we allow any ole damn fools in the back seat of an automobile to become parents without any government oversight or intervention."

See his entire blog post here.http://www.gregoryforman.com/blog/2010/08/licenced-to-parent/


Many of the social problems I observe—in family court; in my community; in the media—are the result of people becoming parents when they did not intend to become parents. Not a month goes by when my local paper, The Charleston Post & Courier, doesn’t report some horrific story of parental abuse or neglect, usually from some parent who clearly had no ability to properly parent a child.

As wags often note, we require folks to get a license to drive a car but not to become a parent. This is because driving is considered a “privilege” and not a “right.” Yet try to live in South Carolina without a car and see how well you function: my wife, who managed without a drivers license for 13 years after reaching the age where she could obtain one, decided she needed one within months of our move to downtown Charleston—one of the few locations in South Carolina in which one could conceivably do without a car. I sometimes think that the fact that one needs a license to drive a car is a historical anomaly. Had the car predated John Locke, and the development on an Anglo-Saxon rights culture, driving might well be considered a civil right. What if we treated parenthood rather than driving as something that required a “license?”

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