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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

some thoughts on abortion and technological advances

I sometimes think up imaginary conversations while driving, and today's concerned abortion. I imagined someone asking me how I felt about abortion. The initial answer: "Queasy...." However, I went on, I basically thought that up to some point in the pregnancy, it should be the mother's (if that's the right word) decision. Trying to figure out just where that point was, I ended up with an answer dependent on technology we don't have yet: once we have artificial wombs capable of nurturing a fetus until it's full-term, it should probably not be the woman's option to kill it rather than off-loading it.

Althought that raises lots of sticky questions: who pays for the out-of-mother gestation? Can a woman still abort if the state won't pay? And what parental rights, if any, does a woman retain who was ready to kill her fetus? May she veto a social service agency's decision as to where to place the baby? A factor further confusing things: once it's possible to end pregnancy early without harming the fetus, many women will want to do so, without any present intention of avoiding the maternal role post-partum. At that point, it will often be impossible to determine who was ready to abort, and who decided later that she wanted to give her baby up for adoption. I don't know whether parents who give up babies for adoption have any leverage, at present, as to what happens to the baby.

That's as far as I can follow this tangle for the moment.

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