Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The future of the abortion debate

I think that technology is going to make fetuses viable outside the womb earlier and earlier. In fact that is already happening. And eventually there will be artificial wombs, enabling doctors to extract a fetus from a pregnant woman during the first trimester with a procedure no more invasive or dangerous than abortion, and to keep that baby alive in an incubator.

Today we are used to thinking about a woman's right to end a pregnancy as the functional equivalent of ending the fetuses' life. In the future, however, that need not be so. A woman could be afforded the right to end her pregnancy, but be denied the right to end the life of the fetus. Although I am not an expert in abortion jurisprudence, it is at least conceivable that this could happen without any need to overturn Roe vs. Wade.


Personally, I think that even if an artificial womb is developed, it will not change the dynamics of the abortion argument that much.

Proponents of legalized abortion claim that the argument is ultimately about a woman's right to control her body.

But that's not the main reason women abort.

There are many reasons women abort. But the main one is that they simply do not want to take on the responsibilities of motherhood.

They will not give up their fetuses to the artificial womb. Sure, some might. But as it stands now, women can place their newborns for adoption. Why not do that?

The reason they don't is that even if a woman manages to avoid parenting her newborn, she must live with the legacy of having given her child away. She must live with the fact that somewhere in this world there is a baby whose existence she is morally responsible for.

And the vast majority of women who abort are not ready to bear that burden.

If an artifical womb were created, it would boil down to the same thing. Sure, you might give up the fetus at 12 weeks gestation instead of 40 weeks. But what difference does that make? You still made that baby. That baby is going to consider you his biological mother.

That is a huge weight to carry. At least, that's how many women perceive the situation.

And so, women will still want to kill their fetuses, notwithstanding the invention of an artificial womb.

They will claim the argument is about them being to do whatever they want with their fetuses-- kill them, adopt them out or parent them.

The pro-life position rests on the notion that the unborn child is an equal human being. The invention of the artificial womb may change the optics, but the arguments will still be the same.

For more social conservative news check out BigBlueWave.ca