Tuesday, January 16, 2007

An Abortion Truce

An Abortion Truce

A compromise that may satisfy those on the Pro-Life and Pro Choice sides; use of artificial wombs

The topic of abortion is one filled with much controversy, as one should expect. After all, one side is fighting for what they believe is a human life, and the other is fighting to protect what they believe is a critical female right.

Few people can remain neutral on this topic and friends have been known to turn into enemies over it. For most, the argument boils down to when life begins. If it begins at conception, then abortion would be murder. If life begins at birth, then abortion could theoretically be legal up until the day the mother goes into labor. As it is set now, the United States Supreme Court has ruled that viability is the appropriate measure. In other words, after an unborn child/fetus is able to live outside the womb, it is illegal to perform abortion on a pregnant woman. Before that an abortion is at the discretion of the woman carrying entity.

Temporarily disregarding the moral issues, there is another interesting perspective to be considered, the rights of the child's father. As the saying goes, it takes two to tango. By herself, a woman cannot create a child (let us momentarily disregard some interesting and controversial advances in technology that may make this statement technically false and look at more natural conceptions). A male is a required part of the equation to create the child. Why is it then that he has no say in what happens to what will be his child? The answer as it stands now is because he is not carrying it to term, though can this be considered equality under the law?

If a woman doesn't feel she is ready or willing to be a parent with all the responsibilities that entails, then she had the means to ensure she won't become a parent. If the same is true for a man, he has no such recourse and no such choice. The reverse is also true. If a woman wants to be a mother, then, baring any unforeseen complications she will become one. If a man wants to become a father, he has no such assurance and might not become a father as he would like.

So where is this truce? How can two sides that are so fundamentally opposed to each other ever come to an agreement on this issue? The answer is to give them both what they want. One side wants to protect life and the other wants to preserve the woman's right to choose. With a little imagination and innovation, both can be done at the same time.

Both sides sink huge amounts of money trying to convince the population their side is the correct one. Large sums of money are used for legal expenses working to either attain or preserve advances on their side of the legal sphere. By diverting some of this money into a new venture, the goals of both sides could be achieved simultaneously. This new venture is the creation of an effective artificial womb.

Once science makes an effective artificial womb, then abortion would automatically become illegal. The United States Supreme Court has ruled that viability is the point at which abortion becomes illegal. If viability is congruent with detection, then there is no time at which an abortion would be legal. Put another way, if by the time you can tell you are pregnant the entity is viable outside the womb, then there is no gap as there is today between detection and viability (the time period in which it is legal to obtain an abortion), and based on the laws that are already on the books, abortion would be illegal. This would make pro-lifers happy. Pro-choicers would also content.

Instead of the choice of terminating the entity growing in their uterus, the choice would be to transplant it into an artificial uterus where it could grow into maturity. Thus, women are not being forced to go full term with a child, and their choice is preserved. The money from both sides which is now being spent on public opinion campaigns and legal battles in the courtroom could go towards the cost of the procedure ensuring the woman in question would not even have to pay for the procedure herself.

As for the rights of the unborn's father, he would now have some say as to what happens with his child. Both could decide if they are in a position to properly raise the child or if it is better off being adopted or placed in foster care. Depending on how the law is set up, both might be allowed to make the choice individually where one elects to raise the child and the other renounces all their rights and responsibilities to it.

No matter how it turns out, all sides would be made happy with an artificial womb. Pro-life groups will be pleased that abortion would become totally and completely illegal. Pro-choice groups would be thrilled with the preservation of a woman's choice (it is a different choice, granted, but they still have the choice to no longer be pregnant). Those advocating the rights of fathers everywhere would be content that the father now actually has some rights, and comparable to a woman at that. There simply is no major downside to the creation of an artificial womb. It is for all these reasons that I encourage all sides to come together in this compromise that all can be happy with.

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