KIE affiliates discuss the morality of reproduction in a world threatened by environmental degradation

Last week, former KIE Fellow (now of the Berman Institute of Bioethics at Johns Hopkins) Travis Rieder and KIE Senior Research Scholar Rebecca Kukla sat down with Foreign Policy to discuss the ethics of having children in the face of environmental catastrophe. Both Rieder and Kukla have been outspoken on the issue in the past. Rieder’s essay, titled “America’s Deadly Opioid Epidemic: Is There a Path Forward?,” traces a century of public and medical opinion concerning prescription opioids as it swings back and forth between seeing these drugs as an under-used miracle, and an over-used poison. Interwoven is Rieder’s narrative, which follows a motorcycle accident that caused him to nearly lose his foot, the prescription opioids provided to him in the aftermath, and the lack of support from his physicians as he weans himself off the medication.

Rieder also starred in a population ethics piece produced by NPR’s All Things Considered in August of last year that highlighted a publication co-authored with current KIE graduate fellow Colin Hickey and former KIE graduate fellow Jake Earl. Kukla adds thoughts on the topic in this article as well: “Rebecca Kukla of Georgetown University worries about stigma, especially against poor and minority women. If cultural norms do change, she says, there could be a backlash against families with more children than is deemed socially appropriate. ‘What that will actually translate into is it becoming much easier for wealthy people to have children than for other people to have children,’ Kukla says.”

Read the full interview at Foreign Policy below:

As Environmental Catastrophe Looms, Is it Ethical to Have Children?

As the effects of climate change become more pronounced and overpopulation threatens the planet, individuals and policymakers are increasingly forced to consider the environmental implications of personal childbearing decisions.