Abortion and Science
Wendy Mcelroy has written an interesting column on how science may affect the abortion debate:
New reproductive technologies may also redefine the politics surrounding reproduction, including the issue of abortion. I welcome the prospect. It is difficult to believe that science could do a worse job with the issue than courts and fanatic rhetoric. At the very least, science may offer new methods of ending a pregnancy without destroying an embryo or fetus.Interesting stuff. I am probably a moderate on the abortion issue. In general though, once a think a fetus is viable, able to survive without the woman being required to sustain it, killing it for convenience is absolutely immoral. That is a big reason why I am against partial birth abortion. Viability (or at least a liklihood of being viable) seems to me to be a much more objective way of determining personhood (that the fetus has it's own inherent life) than location (in or not in a woman's body.) Advances such as Mcelroy is talking about will obviously move that line. It will be hard though for people who are pro-choice to remain pro-abortion in that scenario though, when the choices presented are continueing the pregnancy, killing the fetus, or moving the fetus to an artificial womb. At that point, abortion will probably be seen as pure sadism, for any fetus that is able to be transferred. I understand, and agree with, the concept that a woman has a sovereign right over her body. She might morally be required to do something (if for example, abortion is a sin) but that doesn't mean she should be coerced by government into doing that thing. However, it is also obvious to me, that at some point, and that point is probably well before 9 months, a fetus becomes biologically a person. I think any of us who have contact with a pre-mature baby are uncomfortable with the though that but for location that person could be legally killed. I hope that this technology does mature, and that the conflict between a woman and a fetus's rights can be solved in such a manner. Of course there are those on both sides of the debate who will not welcome such a development. On the extreme pro-abortion side are those who seem more motivated by a hatred of humanity than by any freedom for the women involved. Even more prevalent, are those on the pro-life side who want pregnancy to be a punishment for behavior they do not approve of. However, since I have no fondness for either of these groups, I will greatly enjoy their wailing as the public embraces an alternative that they both hate.