Workout: Parent and Competent Parent Essay

Submitted By umiamishakes
Words: 1392
Pages: 6

American society grants us many rights that other cultures and countries deprive their citizens. For example, the right to free speech, the right to choose our own religion, even the right to decide whether or not we wish to become parents. With all these privileges, the question we must ask ourselves becomes, “What morally ought I do?” As the law currently stands under the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, a woman many end her pregnancy if she wishes. However, debate over abortion still divides political party lines. Most arguments center around the mother’s right to control her own body or the fetus’s right to live. Neither side discusses whether or not a person’s expected parenting quality should instead determine the decision. Despite the very palpable influences of parenting, our society does little to highlight the importance of attempting to gage one’s ability to parent before doing so. In her article “That Many of Us Should Not Parent”, Lisa Cassidy addresses this issue and takes the stance that only those who can estimate that they will be excellent parents should have children. While I applaud Cassidy for her concentration on the child’s perspective rather than the traditional mother-centered point of view, I believe her claim is too extreme and that it is not immoral for predictably competent parents to conceive.
Before examining Cassidy’s claim, it is important to define incompetent, competent, and excellent parenting. I agree with Cassidy’s standards and believe they provide a good common ground for both of our points of view. In her article, she defines competent parents as those who “preserve their children by meeting their basic needs, then nurture them by meeting their psychological and emotional needs, and finally prepare them for inclusion in the social world in which they live,” (Cassidy, 47). An excellent parent, however, performs the obligations of a competent parent but in “an exemplary way” and possesses a “true vocation” for parenting. Lastly, incompetent parents are those who physically or emotionally abuse their children. Any standard of ethical evaluation easily concludes that a child being starved, beaten or sexually assaulted is morally unacceptable. Therefore, little to no debate follows when examining Cassidy’s Claim A, “Those people who anticipate being incompetent parents should not parent.” However, when considering Claim B, “Those people who anticipate being averagely competent parents should not parent,” (Cassidy, 46) several significant doubts arise. How do you establish concrete differences between a competent parent and an excellent parent? Are these differences then a great enough risk to the child’s life to morally warrant refusing a competent parent the right to conceive? In Claim B, Cassidy argues against competent parents deciding to have children and presents one main justification: “parenting is just too important to do in a way that is just good enough,” (Cassidy, 47). Cassidy believes that an averagely competent parent risks a child’s life to an extreme that morally outweighs his or her right to parent. She argues that parents hold a special obligation towards their children. Therefore, they must go beyond the duty to “do right” and provide more than simply loving them and not abusing them. Her reasoning stems from the fact that very young children depend entirely on their parents for physical well-being, education, and moral development. Even after that period, the critical parent-child relationship continues to influence the child’s personality and outlook. However, there is still a significant need to address whether competent parenting results in enough of a risk to refuse a potential parent procreative rights. One major flaw in Cassidy’s article is that she does not adequately answer questions that are fundamental to defending her Claim B. On page 48, she states, “Claim B is not that merely competent parents will cause direct harm to children or prevent their