Gizmodo is a site I rarely read. However, as I do work in the pro-life field, their articles occasionally find their way onto my radar. An article written by Kristen V. Brown asserts that new technology could threaten a woman’s right to abortion.
Brown reports that in April, scientists had a major breakthrough with artificial womb technology that may help save fetuses born extremely prematurely. Eight premature baby lambs spent the last month of their prenatal development in an artificial womb and developed normally. This technology could save the 30,000 or so prematurely born babies each year while simultaneously threatening the right to abortion in a country that secures that right upon the viability of the fetus.
Of course, fastening the right to abortion on viability was just a poorly reasoned decision on the Supreme Court’s part. First, “viability” to the medical community has nothing to do with whether or not the fetus can currently survive outside the womb and everything to do on whether or not it is capable of growing and thriving. Every embryo that implants in the womb is considered viable to the medical field. Second, Brown’s article highlights why placing the fetus’ rights on viability (as abortion-choice advocates mean it) is irrational: because viability has nothing to do with the fetus and everything to do with the current state of medical technology. As medical technology progresses, including the development of artificial wombs, viability becomes earlier and earlier. It may one day be the case that any conceived embryo is considered viable, if they are able to be transplanted to an artificial womb right away.
But of course, as the term “botched abortion” indicates and as this article in Gizmodo implies, the desired outcome of every abortion is not to make a woman unpregnant but to produce a dead baby. Brown quotes I. Glenn Cohen, a bioethicist from Harvard Law School, as saying that it’s terrifying to think a woman has a right to an abortion only up until you can transfer that fetus into an artificial womb. It’s strange that a bioethicist would say it’s terrifying to tell a mother that she can’t kill her own child, and she should take responsibility for the child she had a hand in conceiving (or at least, that she should adopt the child out to a family who will take care of her). We wouldn’t say it’s wrong to force a person into parenthood instead of allowing her to kill her toddler. Yet when it comes to a fetus, it’s suddenly okay. When it’s the same child only two years younger, it’s okay to kill her instead of taking responsibility for her. You can be sure that if artificial womb technology becomes a reality, abortion-choice advocates, including Planned Parenthood, which receives millions of dollars in taxpayer money, will be lobbying to get the law’s understanding of why women have a right to an abortion changed.
In fact, Cohen’s own words are what’s terrifying. He says, “The way the law has thus far defined it...is that a woman has a right to stop carrying a child. It doesn’t consider whether she also has a right to control what happens to the child if she is no longer responsible for carrying it.” Cohen calls the fetus a child, and yet he still thinks it’s okay to control whether or not the child dies just because she doesn’t want to raise her. This counts as an ethical position in today’s world.
It seems that everything has to be polarized around politics today. Instead of marveling at this new technology and appreciating the lives it can save, the achievement is brought down because of this author’s obsession with abortion.