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Laws 2016, 5(1), 10; doi:10.3390/laws5010010

Future Persons and Legal Persons: The Problematic Representation of the Future Child in the Regulation of Reproduction

Department of Legal Theory and Legal History, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, De Boelelaan 1105, Amsterdam 1081 HV, The Netherlands
Academic Editor: Lee Ann Basser
Received: 22 December 2015 / Revised: 29 January 2016 / Accepted: 22 February 2016 / Published: 26 February 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Children’s Rights and Family Law)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [218 KB, uploaded 26 February 2016]

Abstract

Increasingly, the law has been paying attention to the future child and the prevention of preconceptual harms. Regulation on procreation often appeals to the future child’s interests in order to justify the prevention of the child’s existence. However, besides bioethical critique, there is also a legal-theoretical problem that has been neglected so far. This article argues that the future child whose existence is prevented by an appeal to its own interests does not fit in the “regular” concept of law’s subject: the legal person. This creates two representation problems: First, the law lacks the proper vocabulary to address and represent this non-existent entity. Second, the appeal to its own interests as a justification of the prevention of the child’s existence creates a paradox, as the future child is treated as a subject and a non-subject at the same time. These two representation problems complicate the way law can “deal with” this singular entity. Since the vocabulary of the legal person is not equipped to articulate the future child, this article argues that further research is needed to understand what the future child is and how it functions in law. View Full-Text
Keywords: future child; preconceptual harm; legal person; non-existence; regulation of reproduction; representation future child; preconceptual harm; legal person; non-existence; regulation of reproduction; representation
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Ten Haaf, L. Future Persons and Legal Persons: The Problematic Representation of the Future Child in the Regulation of Reproduction. Laws 2016, 5, 10.

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