Last Updated 29 Mar 2021

Parents Should Have a License to Have Children

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  • Parents should have a license for having children.
  • I think so. It's pretty ridiculous that anyone can procreate and keep the kids, but you have go to through red tape, often for years! , to adopt. Everyone should be required to take parenting classes through an unbiased (aka non-religious) source, like a hospital. I say non-religious because the discussions will undoubtedly change to moral rearing, when the biggest problems are with physical and logical raising. I have no problem with kids being raised with religion, of course.
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Now, we can't control people getting pregnant unless we have mandatory sterilization of some people--but, we really couldn't do that with our rules on medicine (and people change as they age). However, the moment you go to your doctor for your first appointment, you should have to sign up for those parenting classes. If you really want the kids, you will make time for the classes. I don't really care how busy you are. I'm in class or working for about 12 hours per day, and if I got pregnant, I would make the damn time because it would be for the well-being of my children.


  • Less accidents (parents are informed of different precautions with children).
  • Precursor for disease prevention (blood tests could determine diseases)
  • Will baby be raised in a psychologically stable environment? (If one of the parents is a sexual offender, parental rights will not be allowed).
  • May lead to less crime (Offenders are often known to be raised in a deviant environment).


  • The population-replacement level is already low.
  • It interferes with our right to reproduce.
  • It is costly (doctors will have to operate on every woman, and be able to reverse the process).

How are you going to control sexual behavior? No, and here's why:

  • While it feels logical on some level, the administrative challenge of determining fit parents is mind-boggling. Does it require a financial means test? A psychological evaluation? A visit to a marital counselor to ensure a stable marriage? Even the lowest bar - say, attending a few hours of parenting clases, which most hosptials encourage and offer at low or no cost - requires making judgements about culture and values that are dicey.
  • The absolute truth is that parents can look good on paper and fail in practice, and vice versa. One of the best moms I know was 20, unmarried and employed as a cashier when her daughter was born. Nothing in her history suggests she'd be so competent and loving, but there it is. And plenty of well-heeled, highly educated men and women - myself included - struggle with the transition. Parenting licenses would likely be tainted by the same accusations facing our legal system - do the affluent have an advantage? Is that just?
  • Since the act of conceiving a child occurs far outside the reach of the law, how would we regulate it? Would women be forced to take pregnancy tests? That's a funny twist in the abortion debate, actually. Is there a right to choose to become a parent, and if so, can the state stop you? Would men and women who fail a licensing test be obligated to take birth control? What if they're morally opposed? (After all, you may opt out of military service for religious and moral objections, if they can be confirmed by church membership or a similar proof. )

What happens to the kids born to unlicensed parents?

Are they forcibly taken away from their parents? Who gets them? Again, there's a potentially ugly social justice issue there - poor children, possibly of color, being given to affluent parents, possibly white, because we define adequate parenting by a standard that doesn't apply universally. (When a friend adopted a second child, she learned that each child had to have his own bedroom. In a pricey city, if we have a second kid, there's no way they'll both have their own rooms - but if the state is imposing rules, they may well favor the affluent in ways that are unjust - or bizarre. 5. Assuming unlicensed parents have children, how will the state pay for costs associated with those children's care? Most states' youth and family services offices are already woefully underfunded and many are tragically ineffective. 6. It will become a pricey and chaotic legal battleground. Some will want same-sex couples to be refused parenting licenses; others will argue that unwed parents are undeserving. The court battles will cost millions, and will probably not result in substantially better parenting.

In the end, I think that's really the challenge - will the licensing process create better parents? Licensing is a one-time act, and an all or nothing proposal. You get the license or you don't. But parenting doesn't work like that. It's a gradual process, with days where we get it right and days when we just plain screw up. You can license a driver because there are, in general, a finite set of circumstances you must be prepared for behind the wheel. Parenting licensure could never be that simple, and so it is doomed. Good luck!

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Parents Should Have a License to Have Children. (2017, Apr 17). Retrieved from

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