The Solution to the Abortion Debate.

Artificial Womb

Artificial womb holding a baby to term

We have a fundamental problem in this country right now. Whose rights do we honor first when two people have similar claims? Abortion is a debate over such claims. Does the mother have the right to her body? Does the baby have right to his or her life? This is the question that has been unresolved now for many years.  The abortion debate is key to the current era of women’s rights. I am counting all the way back to the 1920s when Margaret Sanger kept getting arrested for mailing news letters and pamphlets on birth control. Back then it was a horrible cultural taboo to talk about diaphragms and condoms.  The Monty Python song “every sperm is sacred” was the rule of the land.

By our day even the majority of pro life fundies are ok with condoms and even the pill because it prevents abortion. The debate has shifted to focus on when life starts. I submit that this debate exists to justify the real argument, whose rights come first.

In civilization we live in communities of strangers and as such we sacrifice some of our fundamental rights for stability and security. We submit to the rules established by strangers in exchange for the ability to help select those strangers. We follow rules for driving, buying, selling, interaction, and traveling because it generally helps to keep things moving smoothly.  We also follow rules regarding our bodies and the bodies of others. We can not cause harm to another body without just cause. This is generally covered under self defense. But we can cause harm to another body if that body is not yet born.  So we try to justify it using ancient techniques of stripping rights from humans. We redefine them to inhuman status.

This presents our problem, whose rights become paramount? Mother, or child? This is where the artificial womb comes into play. Using this device both rights can be equally respected. The mother, should she need or want to abandon the pregnancy could do so with no harm to the child developing inside of her. She would go down to the clinic and have a fetal transplant.  She could go on with her life with total control of her body while the baby would complete its gestation and be put up for adoption. The baby might even be adopted before it has reached 9 months.

This would also apply to women who wanted to keep their babies but the baby caused complications that in current times would force a horrible choice of mother or child. This way the mother could survive the process and keep the baby.

I like compromise solutions. This one makes the most people happy. Yet some will still be unhappy. Some people champion abortion not as a woman’s rights issue but as population control. In fact early proponents of abortion were all for population control of those “unwanted” segments of population. (A lot of progressive era social programs were genocidal in nature) Still to this day some people see abortion as a good thing, some see the high number of black babies aborted and cheer that on.  Some see any unborn baby termination as a good thing simply because they fear over population (see a previous post where I debunk that)

For the most part, artificial wombs allow both mother and child to secure their rights and most of us can rest easy as a result. Solutions, we has them.

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2 thoughts on “The Solution to the Abortion Debate.

  1. Hi there! I’m interested in sci-fi technologies like artificial wombs, and when I searched for the subject on wordpress yours was the first one I found! You may be interested to know that a few other folks have pondered the same issues you have here–you may be interested to hear their take:

    http://experimentsofliving.wordpress.com/2012/03/06/artificial-wombs-infanticide-and-the-implications-for-abortion/

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,169295,00.html

    http://www.theatlantic.com/daily-dish/archive/2008/05/the-future-of-abortion/216045/

    http://works.bepress.com/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1000&context=vernellia_randall

    I think the guy from the first link summed up the issue with artificial wombs the best:

    A significant practical argument against this saving of would-be abortions is the shear number of new infants that would be brought into existence, and the financial cost imposed on social services. One estimate is that one year’s worth of saved embryos and foetuses in America could be in excess of $150 trillion dollars (over an average of 22 years before a child becomes self-sufficient).

    I think I agree with him. While artificial wombs sound nice in theory, for the reasons you describe in your interesting post, the challenges of caring for all those unwanted babies (if the mother didn’t want it, you’d have to find someone else who does) might be near insurmountable. Still, it would be nice if science gave us a compromise solution to this problem everyone would be happy with…in that respect, I’m with you 🙂

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