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date: 18 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Parents have moral responsibilities to support and nurture their children. Whether and in what circumstances these duties extend to procreators’ duties to support and nurture is a separate ethical question, however, in which sexual asymmetries in reproduction play a role. Variations on the thought experiment of scientists creating a conceptus from inanimate materials and gestating it in an artificial womb illustrate the role of causal and moral responsibility for creation in generating obligations of support. The real world, however, is not so simple. Relying on a caveat copulator principle—which holds each voluntary party to a potentially procreative act responsible for support—would provide a simple solution but one that should be rejected, as it encourages irresponsible behavior and is not reflective of judgments about sexual morality more generally. When one party acts wrongfully in failing to terminate the procreative process, responsibilities similarly devolve on the wrongdoer.

Keywords: procreator’s duties, sexual asymmetries, parental responsibilities, parenthood, abortion

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