Thursday, October 1, 2009

Abortion Compromise That Both Sides Will be Happy With

The Abortion debate has bitterly divided the country for a long time, but since Roe v Wade the divide has spread into most aspects of politics. It is a 'no-go' issue for many voters on both sides who will not support a candidate who disagrees with them. It has seeped into Jurisprudence and is one of the most pretentious issues in voting in a new supreme court justice. Both sides spend huge sums of money pushing candidates and policies that support them, then fighting everything out in the courts. I say; enough. If some money could be siphoned off from either side, this issue could be put to rest with both sides walking away happy.

We must take both sides at face value. That is that Pro-Lifers believe that the fetus is a human and termination of that life is murder. Pro-Choicers believe that the unborn person (purposely switching terminology) is not actually alive. Further, they believe that the pregnant women should be able to chose if she wants to endure the hardships of a pregnancy. This last part is the most crucial, but they must get over the first part to get around the murder charges.

Controlling law says that viability is the line where the state can step in and regulate as long as their are provisions for the life and health of the mother. For Pro-lifers, this opens up a second avenue beyond trying to pass a constitutional amendment or waiting for the Supreme Court justices to resign and replace them with people more friendly to your cause. Fund medical development that moves viability closer to conception. Once viability is the moment of conception, Pro-Lifers instantly get abortion outlawed with the current laws. This is much easier and quicker then their other avenues.

This may sound like bad news to Pro-Choicers, but it does not have to be. Pro-Choicers should push that research toward artificial wombs able to replace the mother. They also need to develop a safe method of transfer; a safely level on par or better then having an abortion. Once a viable artificial womb is developed, terminating a pregnancy no longer means terminating the potential life. Instead, it means a transfer from the mother to the device where is can grow and develop naturally.

Theoretically, everyone is happy. With mothers able to opt out of being pregnant without the need to kill what is growing inside them, there would likely be very little resistance to passing laws forcing the transfer instead of allowing termination (just to clarify, not forcing a mother who wants to go full term to transfer, but forcing someone who wants to terminate the pregnancy to transfer instead of terminate the fetus). The money spent now by both sides on pushing their policies could instead go to covering the medical costs of procedure and maintenance of the artificial wombs. If any additional funds were needed, charities, especially religious based ones, would likely cover the difference.

Thus abortion would no longer be a dividing issue. Woman could chose to terminate their pregnancy without condemning the potential life. Pro-Choicers are happy that woman are not forced to be "unwilling human incubators" and Pro-lifers are happy that the "legalized infant Holocaust" would come to an end.

Note: this is similar to an article I wrote for the Right World View (RWV Label) which can be found at Berman Post: An Abortion Truce.


  1. Yeah, the solution you suggest seems like a win-win one but slightly too utopian of a solution. You're going to have outcries of people saying that who are we to make an artificial "womb" that is supposed to be a "God-made" thing. Nobody is ever 100% happy with any given solution.

  2. But as a strong pro-lifer and a Christian, I would be quite happy with a sufficiently safe artificial womb.

  3. Sound a bit Margaret Atwoodish, but it could work. However, I suspect that the hardcore religious right would have objections even to this proposal. I like the fact that you are promoting compromise, however. I am the opposite of Anonymous. I have fundamental problems with abortion, but I tend not to insist that my personal beliefs be imposed on others. So, as paradoxical as it may seem, I am both anti-abortion and pro-choice. Your suggestion would certainly relieve me of walking the tightrope of that paradox, that is for sure.

  4. I'm sorry but are you nuts?! So now you have your artificial womb farm full of happily developing fetuses. NEXT those fetuses are born and now what?! Do you think there's going to be a line around the block of people wanting to take them home and raise them? No there isn't. Have you ever talked to the pro-lifers outside of abortion clinics? Not once do you ever hear them say "Please, have your baby and I will adopt him, take him home and raise him as my own!" If that were the case the Jesus freaks would be setting up adoption clinics across the street from abortion clinics.

    So you essentially now have an entire population of children that cannot be placed and now they are going to grow up without parents, raised by the government on my tax dime. Are all those good christians who FORCED these children to be born going to step up and pay to raise them? Nope. They're going to leave that to us taxpayers. What about the women who have basically been forced to put their unwanted children into this government run womb farm? What if they are against their child being adopted by a right wing nutball who rallies against government interference in their lives out of one side of their mouth while they force the government to make medical decisions for us out of the other side?

    I actually agree that abortion sucks. No one "wants" to get an abortion. The women who seek abortions are doing so because it is what they need to do in their particular situation and it is no one else's business. It is a slippery slope when you start letting the government tell you what you can and cannot decide to do with your body, your medical decisions, or your progeny. Your "compromise" is only thought out for the first 9 months and it is essentially nothing more than forced adoption. What about the next 80 years of that farmed fetus' life? If you think it's going to be a happy and fulfilling one you should do a little research. (Read Freakonomics, chapter 4) The statistics don't lie.

    The only way to reduce abortions in this country is to make education and contraception free and easy to get. The compromise you are looking for needs to start earlier than conception. The "abstinence only" crowd needs to get off their high horse and recognize that people are going to have sex before wedlock and we need to try and prevent unwanted pregnancy in the first place! (see Planned Parenthood) We need to research better methods of contraception and get them to the most at risk people BEFORE they get pregnant. Until this happens we are going to continue to have large numbers of abortions in this country. Not something any of us wants.

  5. The overpopulation movement would not be happy and shouldn't be. Artificial wombs would still result in unplanned babies using lifetimes worth of oil, which will run out and destroy the world. Of course destroying the world is what the "pro-lifers" really want so they can fulfill their bible prophecies.

  6. @Kevy - I am not going to lie to you and say that the concept of an 'artificial womb farm' is not a bit creepy. It seems preferable to "unwilling human incubators" or a "legalized infant Holocaust" depending on your prospective.

    I have no problem with contraception, but not even abstinence is 100% (see Oral Sex + Knife Fight = Pregnancy!?!, and for Christians and Muslims the story of Jesus). Other methods are also not 100%. That means that no matter how accessible contraception is and no matter how educated people are in the use of them there will still be unplanned pregnancies. To pretend otherwise is foolish. My compromise is targeted at those unwanted pregnancies; of course I would support reasonable ideas to reduce that number, but ultimately it is out of the scope of what I am talking about.

    What happens to those 'incubator children' is an important issue. You may see in some circumstances that the now child's mother decides that she does want to raise them. You may see the father step in an raise the child (there are situations where the mother decides to get an abortion despite the father wanting to raise the child). The grandparents, uncles, cousins, or even siblings (depending on ages of course) may 'step up' to raise the child. Where no family member or friends wants to raise the child, they would end up in foster care. There are religious and non-religious adoption centers. The situation may not be ideal but if you were to ask them if they prefer foster care over never existing, it seems safe to say they would chose existence. It would not surprise me in the least to see 'incubator children' grow up and adopt other 'incubator children'. The circumstances may not fit your idea of ideal, but it is preferable to the alternatives.

    @Al - the 'overpopulation movement' has been wrong at every turn; the evidence is the fact that you were alive to type that comment and the world has not come to an end. The notion that population is a hindrance instead of an asset (besides being wrong) has frighting implications. Your assertion regarding Pro-lifers is laughable.

  7. Let them continue the scientific research on 'viability.' Pro-lifers are going to be very surprised when they discover it will never be the moment of conception. If it were, the world would be even more over-populated than it is now. Every month thousands of fertilized zygotes are sloughed off without implanting in the woman's womb. It would seem that pro-lifer's definition of abortion is a natural occurrence. Only those that are supported by the woman's womb continue to develop into a human 'life.' Seems from that it is easy to determine viability - only when it can live independently of the mother's womb. Until your artificial womb is developed this should be the indisputable criterion.

  8. @annie - "Pro-lifers are going to be very surprised when they discover it will never be the moment of conception." - your argument is that it is just not going to happen. Rest assured that it will. Technology progresses relentlessly forward; for better or worse.

    "If it were, the world would be even more over-populated than it is now." - I have already talked about the overpopulation critic. Those predictions are consistently proven wrong.

    "Seems from that it is easy to determine viability - only when it can live independently of the mother's womb. Until your artificial womb is developed this should be the indisputable criterion." - more that just the criterion, it is the actual definition. Viability is the ability to survive outside the womb. It bears special note that machine aid (think respirator and/or feeding tubes) are permitted for determining viability purposes.


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