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View Poll Results: Should mentally handicapped ppl be allowed to have children?

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Thread: Should mentally handicapped ppl be allowed to have children?

  1. #1 Should mentally handicapped ppl be allowed to have children? 
    Forum Professor Pendragon's Avatar
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    I guess this sounds very extremist, and maybe it is, but should society allow mentally handicapped people to have children? Mentally handicapped would mean an IQ so low that mature behaviour is impossible (so in adulthood these persons function like 6 or 8 year old children).

    Recently I read a newspaper article about children 'raised' by mentally handicapped parents. Most of those children inherit the handicap, but some are born with a normal functioning body. Of the last group a couple were interviewed: in many cases they hadn't learned normal human behaviour and speech until leaving the home, or they had suffered from malnutrition and other forms of neglect. Instead of being taken care of by their parents, they had to take care of their own parents instead (if other family members didn't do this).

    Is getting children such an unalianable right that situations as these can't be prevented? Or is the sterilisation of severely mentally incapacitated people accaptable?


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  3. #2  
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    I vote no in most circumstances. Unless the mentally handicapped person has absolutely no chance of passing on that trait genetically. In which case, it's acceptable to have a child, but there would be an increased need of assistance in all situations.

    Overall, I don't think it's a good idea.


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  4. #3  
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    On this subject, you are damned if you do and damned if you don't.
    I would have liked to have seen a vote on this issue. Since there may be members with extreme views either way but afraid to express those.

    As to the sterilization of Mentally handicapped people , there are well documented precedents for this, circa early/mid 20th Century. It lead in one country down a slippery slope which went a great deal further. THe effect of this was to ensure that for the next 60 years at least the topic was usually avoided - which was in my opinion a great shame.
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  5. #4  
    Forum Ph.D. Nevyn's Avatar
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    um, what about my problems, i am autistic but i am not stupid, i have IQ results ranging from 120 to 150, i would like to know before i cast my vote.
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  6. #5  
    Forum Professor Pendragon's Avatar
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    Good plan, I added a poll.

    It's true, the idea of sterilisation has been used for horrible purposes in the past. But I think back then the argument was usually about "purifying the race", while today it would be to prevent the suffering of children who are unlucky enough to have severely mentally handicapped people as parents.
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  7. #6  
    Forum Professor Pendragon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nevyn
    um, what about my problems, i am autistic but i am not stupid, i have IQ results ranging from 120 to 150, i would like to know before i cast my vote.
    The poll is about severely mentally handicapped people, who will think like a small child all their life or worse. I don't know much about autism, but I think it's really uncomparable. To me the limit would be when parents are unable to raise children in a reasonably normal way (feed, cloth and look after them, teach them language and basic behaviour).
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  8. #7  
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    Your poll is a straight yes/no perhaps I should have suggested 4 options
    Yes/No/In certain Circumstances/I Abstain. I personally decided not to vote.

    I believe if there is a 100% chance of the offspring suffering the same fate then weight should be given to not allowing reproduction.

    I believe if there are family members such as prospective grandparents who can no longer reproduce and do not wish to see their 'line end' then weight should be given to allowing reproduction.

    Also if there are other family members who are prepared to accept the responsibility (not neccessarily the direct care) from birth of the child then weight should be given to allow reproduction.

    Where this severe mental disability is not caused through a genetic defect, (ie accident etc), or where only one prospective parent has a genetic disorder, well for my part I do not have an answer at present.

    In the UK there are [If I remember correctly], precedents for all these cases.
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  9. #8  
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    as with many subjects along this line, my problem comes with who makes the decision and what the line is...

    even with in the above limited discussion, i see many opinions on just where the line is drawn. autistic is sometimes not a good thing, many do not function with in social standards. this is more to the original meanings, but at the heart of my opinion. many folks with 8-10-12 yo standards do just fine through life, having normal or smarter kids. sometimes IQ is mis- judged for social, economic or other medical reasons.

    i guess i would say the parents of such children, should do what society has dictated as responsibility. the parental influence for all people does not stop at 20, 40 or even in old age. until recently most kids took care of their parents into old age and death. my thought is to teach the mentally retarded, best possible, to not have children or if possible to understand, take measures to see this does not happen, but the choice of the effected.

    as to who; i have extreme problems with abortion. w/o going into when a person is a person, the abortion itself eliminates any possibility of that persons being. my point some people would have no problem in deciding whom should or should not be allowed anything. if a society can accept what ours has and grants rights for actions, then anything or any line could eventually be drawn...
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  10. #9  
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    Quote Originally Posted by jackson33
    even with in the above limited discussion, i see many opinions on just where the line is drawn. autistic is sometimes not a good thing, many do not function with in social standards. this is more to the original meanings, but at the heart of my opinion. many folks with 8-10-12 yo standards do just fine through life, having normal or smarter kids. sometimes IQ is mis- judged for social, economic or other medical reasons.
    The people who have the normal or "smarter" (VERY rare among mentally handicapped parents) children is normally the effort of the child alone. As the parent is incapable of doing much else in the mental areas.

    Really, you could pull out the liberal activist "But there's still a chance!" bit, but considering how low that chance is, it's a very costly gamble. Furthermore, ones IQ generally doesn't matter in the 100-120 areas. This IQ section tends to make little difference, and it's mostly "EQ" and life experiences that matter then.
    However, if an IQ falls around 90 and below, then there is need for concern. Likewise, any IQ above 120 will most likely have an obvious impact. That being said, IQ does matter (although not as much as some people would like to shout).

    So I vote that people who gain a score below 100 on an IQ test, then fail a few other properly administered tests, shouldn't have children. That should weed about...90% of the stupid population given the tests I have in mind.

    as to who; i have extreme problems with abortion. w/o going into when a person is a person, the abortion itself eliminates any possibility of that persons being. my point some people would have no problem in deciding whom should or should not be allowed anything. if a society can accept what ours has and grants rights for actions, then anything or any line could eventually be drawn...
    As this is not a topic about abortion, I wont voice how disappointed I am with your stance (nor will I try to refute it). So lets save that duel for another time.
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  11. #10  
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    I shudder at the thought of Negative Eugenics - In the US I understand several states have laws allowing the sterilisation of the severely mentally handicapped. My concern is that should such people be 'grouped' in habitat, there raises the question that they may become the target of Paedophiles or Sex 'fiends', that is such people may seek to become employed as 'care workers'. In such a scenario a severely mentally handicapped person could be seriously, repeatedly abused, and the crimes never bought to attention, let alone be successfully punished.

    If we are going to allow these people to live out their limited lives, [as I believe we should] then we have a duty to protect them. Segregating them into their sexes sounds harsh, but at least if then a young female were to fall pregnant then the culprit at least stands a chance of being identified and potentially bought to justice.
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  12. #11  
    Forum Ph.D. Cat1981(England)'s Avatar
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    No, but i do agree with jackson, who would make the decisions on who can/can't have a baby.

    Here are two links from opposite ends of the debate.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/1916462.stm

    This first one is about a deaf couple who (with no mental illness) choose to have a deaf baby.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/4562813.stm

    The second is about the possibility of genetic screening of embryos during IVF.

    Another option is for ALL pregnancy's to be tested for disabilities. This would eventually make this discussion obsolete.
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  13. #12  
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    I have been trying to find articles on this subject for the past two hours, there seems to be a definite silence on this issue, in the UK such matters are fought in the courts.

    I do not usually have any trouble in finding the UK government's stand on any particular issue. On this occasion I can find nothing. It suggests that it is a 'taboo' subject. There are Lords rulings on particular cases, eg:


    http://www.publications.parliament.u...016/darl-2.htm

    But this only refers to a handicapped woman who was 'sterilized' yet gave birth, although her baby was born 'normal' she sought litigation. The appeal went through the whole British legal system and was eventually upheld by the house of lords.

    I have read the articles in the previous post - thanks for finding them.
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  14. #13  
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    Jeremy; defining what is acceptable intelligence, common sense or behavior display to me are not possible with out a common denominator.
    personally i have known many people, who to me were street smart, could not read, write or even take an IQ test. in general however they would be the first to protect their neighbor or give their last dime to a friend. on the other hand many i have known were well off, could afford anything, well educated and certainly will die with all they achieve. it would be hard for me to dictate what those street smart people anything. nor would i the decide what they can or cannot do with their life, no more so than what i would like to dictate to the achievers.

    since my guess is were talking about a particular group of retardation, i would think and guess there may be some means to educate or facilitate those involved. its my understanding as a group they live short lives and rarely have kids to start with. also that any normal couple could have a child with this syndrome. recessive genes or some abnormality in the egg or sperm seem to play a role, as i understand.

    on your disappointment; i have no opinion on the rights of women, with regards to abortion. i have tried to link the two issues w/o success. i do know of all i have asked the question, no one person has suggested they were upset, their mom made another decision. i do feel the act of sex should be the signing of an agreement to accept responsibility. no agreement (rape-incest-etc) legal abortion then a choice which i have no problems with. my mention of this, was to infer the same mentality that brought the issue, could be the same people that some day says who lives and dies, under any circumstance.
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  15. #14  
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    -i didnt read much of anyones post i just checked out the poll and im pretty disappointed
    -i personally dont believe that the disabled should be steralized. The idea may sound fundamental to human evolution, but how can one define intelliegence???? IQ tests are garbage
    -for example this type of steralization was carried out in Canada many years ago, and to my horror when i found out that the government even went ahead and steralized healthy normal aboriginal people
    -bottam line this type of action should not be put into practice, imagine one day people with adhd and autism are deemed unintelligent or disabled then BANG, action is taken to steralize these people. Most of these people with these conditions would resist cause most are capable people, then riots would occur etc, you dig? id sure as hell resist
    -what im getting at is that someone in power could change the rules to what that person sees as normal, then anyone who isnt deemed normal will suffer
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  16. #15  
    Forum Ph.D. Cat1981(England)'s Avatar
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    But it already happens, children are taken away from their parents if they are deemed violent or unable/unwilling to provide for the children, and this is by society's judgement. If it is obvious that a person with a disability can't raise a child or may pass-away before the child has reached an adult age, why should that person be allowed to bring a person into this world ?
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  17. #16  
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    I have voted Yes, but am quite prepared to see sterilisation introduced for those who voted No. 8)
    I think it was Jackson who expressed my concern: who decides? I don't like state control in our lives. there is too much of it already. I oppose any more. Today it is the mentally subnormal, tomorrow it is the mentally eccentric. And those with dyslexia and autism and so on.
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  18. #17 Re: Should mentally handicapped ppl be allowed to have child 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pendragon
    I guess this sounds very extremist, and maybe it is, but should society allow mentally handicapped people to have children? Mentally handicapped would mean an IQ so low that mature behaviour is impossible (so in adulthood these persons function like 6 or 8 year old children).

    Recently I read a newspaper article about children 'raised' by mentally handicapped parents. Most of those children inherit the handicap, but some are born with a normal functioning body. Of the last group a couple were interviewed: in many cases they hadn't learned normal human behaviour and speech until leaving the home, or they had suffered from malnutrition and other forms of neglect. Instead of being taken care of by their parents, they had to take care of their own parents instead (if other family members didn't do this).

    Is getting children such an unalianable right that situations as these can't be prevented? Or is the sterilisation of severely mentally incapacitated people accaptable?
    Pardon me, but I think that in the UK, having intercourse with a mentally impaired person is considered to be Rape.
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  19. #18  
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    1956 Sexual offences act (England and wales) to be exact.


    From the offences include summary,

    Quote:-

    (f) section 7 (intercourse with a mentally handicapped person);
    (g) section 9 (procurement of a mentally handicapped person);

    THe 2002 amendment to this act is available online from HMSO.
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  20. #19  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Megabrain
    1956 Sexual offences act (England and wales) to be exact.


    From the offences include summary,

    Quote:-

    (f) section 7 (intercourse with a mentally handicapped person);
    (g) section 9 (procurement of a mentally handicapped person);

    THe 2002 amendment to this act is available online from HMSO.
    what does mentally handicapped mean in the UK? is it an educational or intelligence level or a person who incapable of consent? In the US the laws are based on consent, which requires ability such as consciousness.
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  21. #20  
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    A person has to be diagnosed by a doctor, what their exact criteria is, only a doctor can tell you. It seems to apply to persons who have never been able to look after themselves, I am not sure there is actually a real definition.
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  22. #21  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Megabrain
    A person has to be diagnosed by a doctor, what their exact criteria is, only a doctor can tell you. It seems to apply to persons who have never been able to look after themselves, I am not sure there is actually a real definition.
    went to HMSO, only finding age related legislation. don't question such a law is, but must be rarely enforced...

    this however is what i fear in the US, since we tend to re-draw lines of enforcements over short times. consent alone is vague, which meanings are attacked in most rape or abuse cases. to classify a person retarded, or subject to standards could be to all those you will not conform and my point in this discussion.
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  23. #22  
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    While I voted 'no' myself, I agree that this is a very tricky subject.

    My main concern is not in any way evolutionary. If parents with a certain handicap or disorder want to have a child, then this is fine with me as long as the child isn't doomed at birth to a short and/or painful life. My concern is that severely mentally handicapped parents will just not be able to guarantee the quality of life of their child (to put it mildly..). If it's without doubt that certain parents are simply unable to not neglect and / or abuse their child, then that's where I draw the line.

    It was mentioned that IQ is not a good measure to make such decisions on. Well I agree that IQ is an imprecise and insufficient measure to distinguish between intelligent and slightly more intelligent persons, but I think it's usable to identify the extremes: if a person is unable to learn basic skills (like keeping their child clean, identifying harmful situations for their child, giving some form of love or affection) then that person is bound to neglect their child. And this poll really discusses such extremes.
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  24. #23  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pendragon
    While I voted 'no' myself, I agree that this is a very tricky subject.

    My main concern is not in any way evolutionary. If parents with a certain handicap or disorder want to have a child, then this is fine with me as long as the child isn't doomed at birth to a short and/or painful life. My concern is that severely mentally handicapped parents will just not be able to guarantee the quality of life of their child (to put it mildly..). If it's without doubt that certain parents are simply unable to not neglect and / or abuse their child, then that's where I draw the line.

    It was mentioned that IQ is not a good measure to make such decisions on. Well I agree that IQ is an imprecise and insufficient measure to distinguish between intelligent and slightly more intelligent persons, but I think it's usable to identify the extremes: if a person is unable to learn basic skills (like keeping their child clean, identifying harmful situations for their child, giving some form of love or affection) then that person is bound to neglect their child. And this poll really discusses such extremes.
    in the US, we already have a system which judges qualifications for parenting. it covers more than the kids or the brightness of them, but the parent or parents qualifications. to me its judgmental, freely enforced w/o the real regards for the children and ofter creates negative attitudes toward authority. we call them child welfare departments, usually in human resource governmental agencies. i won't go into individual cases, but we have many little old ladies (types) running around judging the new mothers. these kids end up, many times in terrible conditions where 5 or ten others are nurtured by people only interested in the monthly payments for the service. love and affection are nice qualities and we all want every person to experience them, but many qualified parents will show less than acceptable limits to others, especially our males.
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  25. #24  
    Forum Ph.D. Cat1981(England)'s Avatar
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    I voted no, but i cant see a way of giving clear guidelines about who should and shouldn't be allowed too raise children. Here is a local story about a couple who have had a child at 62 and 60. Although they are not suffering from any mental disabilities (some may disagree) it does raise the question of whether people that don't have a good chance of being able to bring up a child for their first 18 year of their life should be allowed to have children.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/5160812.stm
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  26. #25  
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    the unfortunate truth is no child is born with that guarantee. any couple is subject to divorce, death of one or both parents or for some reason being removed from their care. the odds are 2 to one against the child today or about equal to those old folks, who logically will die from old age rather than the other problems.

    the problem with guidelines are the writers. i have known no one person in my life i would have wanted their guide lines to govern my life. certainly no one in public life should be allowed this responsibility. big brother philosophy will always present itself, no matter how well intended an original document is produced. this leads to modifications which in nearly all cases destroy the intent of the original objective.
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