Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Microstory 1732: Delphinus

I am not against science, though my detractors would certainly hope you believe that about me. I believe in medicine, vaccinations, surgical intervention. I even believe in a woman’s right to choose. But I’m not going to let researchers move forward with whatever technologies they dream up without any consideration of the ethical ramifications. A few years ago, a new startup was formed in the valley with one goal. They wanted to create an artificial womb system capable of not only supporting a transplanted fetus, but of fostering life from the very beginning. This would remove the need for a mother and a father. There are some great things about this. Same-sex couples would be able to have their own children, which I’m also not against—I’m not a conservative nutjob who doesn’t believe in the future. I’m an ethicist who focuses on precaution, and isn’t interested in developing everything scientifically possible in the name of supposed progress. It seemed pretty simple to me at first. God, evolution; whatever you wanna call it, decided that we would produce offspring a certain way. A biological male and female come together to conceive the child, and then that child gestates in an organic womb, inside of a human being, who is charged with protecting this new life. I’m all right with surrogate pregnancies. I’m even fine with the concept of an artificial womb. But I can also see how dangerous the technology is, and how many problems it can cause down the road. I have been fighting hard to prevent it from becoming legal, and letting Delphinus Obstetric Advancements win, but a friend recently pointed out an undeniable implication. Even though I am pro-choice, I don’t want anyone to have an abortion. Before focusing on this issue, I regularly went out and informed women about their options. Abortion is not the only way, and we should be working on ways to make it unnecessary. The artificial womb seems to accomplish that.

The problem with abortion is that it’s the destruction of life. However you define when a developing...entity transforms from a group of cells to an actual person is irrelevant. Abortion means death, that’s what it is. If a pregnant person does not want to have their child, that child can be transplanted from the carrier, to an artificial gestation pod. It can then develop in there, and be born in the lab. Of course, this comes with its own ethical problems. What happens to the baby when it’s finally born? Who takes care of it, raises it, teaches it? Who is responsible for finding that person, or those people? The lab? The egg provider? The state? More to the point, who has the right to make such decisions? Furthermore, this complicates the matter of the egg provider’s rights in the first place. Being unable, or unwilling, to raise a child, or even unwilling to birth a child, are not the only reasons to have an abortion. If a state can supersede one’s choice by simply saying “fine, if you don’t want it, we’ll take it, and we’ll do it right now,” then is that really fair to the original carrier? They weren’t necessarily choosing to simply have nothing to do with their offspring. They chose to have an abortion, and an artificial womb is not inherently synonymous with that choice. Ethics is a complicated subject, and I don’t have an answer to any of these questions. But it’s causing me to question my convictions, and stop thinking that I can understand the issues clearly. All I know is that we can’t let the government, or the corporations, take our rights. We must retain our humanity, or all the technology imaginable can’t save us.

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