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Friday, September 16th 2005

Artificial Wombs

I’m pro-life and yet I believe incredibly strongly in the right to privacy. I also believe in a right to life. If I thought the fetus wasn’t alive then I’d be pro-choice. But I believe the fetus is alive. In a discussion the other day, my pro-choice friend tried to make the argument that the fetus’ dependence on the mother clearly defines the fetus as a non-life.

My first reaction was, well, a newborn is dependent on others as well, but it is clearly alive. I understood her distinction though, there is a difference between having to be fed and changed and having to have a womb to grow in.

What seems unreasonable about those who try to define life as starting at some “subjective” point during development of the fetus is that there’s nothing inherent about it. I pointed out to my friend that clearly the definition of life, as she tried to define it, had changed over the past decade as “premies” are being born younger and younger and living. Without having done any research I claimed (this is what you get when you argue with me: unbased claims…this one turned out to be true) that within my lifetime, I, as a physician, would be able to remove a fetus at any stage of development and “grow” it in an artificial environment to complete term and produce a healthy young infant.

Then today, I stumbled across this article. There’s something inherent about saying life begins at contraception. There’s nothing inherent about subjectively saying life begins at the third trimester. The baby is more viable now? It can start feeling pain? What type of definitions are these? These are just people making up definitions to suit their own purposes.

Artificial wombs will be a huge moral blow to pro-choicers. New “excuses” for abortions will arise from ethicists and philosophers but certainly many of the current arguments justifying abortion will cease to be valid once this becomes a legitimate option for preserving a fetus.