An Australian man who had sex with a sixteen year old and was convicted as a sex offender is being denied the opportunity to use IVF treatment to reproduce. Here is the thing: sex offender laws are wildly disproportionate to the crime committed. Let me be clear: rape and harassment are traumatic and horrific behaviors. As such, they should be aggressively punished. However, many sex crime laws do not know how to adjust for the fact that an 18 year old sleeping with a 16 year old is not the same as a 35 year old raping a pre-teen. These are different events. Furthermore, the fact that you are a sex criminal for life regardless of the magnitude of your crime is cruel and unusual. I do not see “sex offender” as a reasonable justification for punishing a person, we need to know the details and circumstances to appropriately determine the severity of the crime. One size fits all punishments are inappropriate.

That said, this Australian man, has no right to IVF or any other sort of fertility treatment. There is no such thing as a “right” to have a family, save perhaps the negative right of the government not being able to prohibit you from reproducing (and even that is dubious, there are those whose sterilization would be a just recourse and form of punishment). You have a right to do what you wish with your body with whomever you so desire who consents. If you are a woman, you have the right to decide if your body will be used to provide the means to life of another human being. But, in the same way that we have no obligation to provide the means to life, we have no obligation to provide the means to create life. There is no claim against the state or society one can make regarding a right to be given the means to reproduce.

The word “right” has been so watered down as to become useless. Your rights are protections from, not guarantees to have, certain things.