Once artificial wombs are made will abortion still be legal?

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TheGrammarBolshevik
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Re: Once artificial wombs are made will abortion still be le

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Mon Aug 09, 2010 12:07 am UTC

Midnight wrote:We're not talking about banning abortion and then having artificial wombs come out. That never came into play. So I dunno why you quoted me, cause that implies that you read what I was saying, but I'm feeling like you didn't, cause I mentioned not being vague or talking about any hypothetical besides this one "What would happen to abortion rights if ArtiWomb was released?"

I quoted you because you said within one breath that we're not talking about a future where Roe is overturned and artificial wombs are invented, but rather about a future where artificial wombs are invented, as if the two are mutually exclusive. But if you're going to insist that Roe would never be overturned anyway, in spite of substantial restrictions that have already occurred, I don't see how I could convince you that it might be further restricted after a further extension of viability.

Midnight wrote:We weren't talking about what I (or anyone) would do if I (or anyone) had political power in the future.

Why, then, were you talking about your own views on abortion? I mean, I was responding to a direct quote; it's there for your benefit as much as mine.
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Re: Once artificial wombs are made will abortion still be le

Postby cephalopod9 » Mon Aug 09, 2010 1:12 am UTC

I think the real impact would come from corporate responsibility rather than the issue of legality*. Would anyone even want to make a product that takes on all the risks of developing a baby? Anything even slightly amiss would get them targeted for some pretty serious lawsuits. There's also going to be major issues if for any reason the interests of the manufacturer are out of line with the interests of the parents. A company wanting to maximize the number of successful babies would likely pressure or even force parents to carry through, and instances where a particular fetus, or fetus batch becomes too expensive there would be pressure to terminate them.

I can't quite decide if I'm envisioning baby factories, with big ol' uterus vats in a fixed location, or more of a home product. Either would bring worrisome complications to the process.

*Laws effect companies differently than people; like how when you use your home computer to watch t.v. programs when they're not being broadcast it is exactly like stealing a car, but using TiVo to save shows and skip commercials, it's just another convenient product.
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Re: Once artificial wombs are made will abortion still be le

Postby Sharlos » Mon Aug 09, 2010 1:32 am UTC

I don't think people would want an artificial womb in their house (if that was even possible technically or financially, these things would likely be reused).

There are many reasons to be in favor of abortion rights, rights with a plural because its about more than just having the choice to not be pregnant. However even if it didn't change abortion rights, perfectly working artificial wombs would have a huge impact on human society, even bigger than that caused by the pill.

Concepts and ideas like family and parenthood will become drasticly altered. Gender roles in society would deteriate even more rapidly, women would no longer have to suffer childbirth or take time off work during the 'pregnancy', the woman wont need time of to recuperate after childbirth, making who takes parental leave a decision independent of sex.

Regarding abortion however, the only way artificial wombs would impact it at all was if an embryo could be harmlessly transferred from the woman to one of these machines. Furthermore, if this is to be considered an alternative to abortion, then the child isn't going to be wanted by the biological parents, so who is going to care and raise this child? We already have a surplus of uncared for children, creating more isn't a very good idea. Ignoring the issue of who is going to pay the cost of gestating these embryos in these artificial wombs.

That's why I can only see artificial wombs having an impact on society's gender roles, women's equality in the workplace, and increased birthrates in the developed world.


Edit: regarding how such a technology would be implemented and managed (such as a company's liability, 'baby farms', ect.) I imagine that would be managed under the same umbrella of laws that the IVF clinics currently work under, and is also likely to be who develops the technology in the first place.

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Re: Once artificial wombs are made will abortion still be le

Postby Midnight » Mon Aug 09, 2010 4:02 am UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:
Midnight wrote:We're not talking about banning abortion and then having artificial wombs come out. That never came into play. So I dunno why you quoted me, cause that implies that you read what I was saying, but I'm feeling like you didn't, cause I mentioned not being vague or talking about any hypothetical besides this one "What would happen to abortion rights if ArtiWomb was released?"

I quoted you because you said within one breath that we're not talking about a future where Roe is overturned and artificial wombs are invented, but rather about a future where artificial wombs are invented, as if the two are mutually exclusive. But if you're going to insist that Roe would never be overturned anyway, in spite of substantial restrictions that have already occurred, I don't see how I could convince you that it might be further restricted after a further extension of viability.

They're not mutually exclusive. I never said they're mutually exclusive. The question is "What if there were artificial wombs, how would that affect abortion laws", and your answer is "what if there were no abortion laws before the wombs?" That's not an answer to the question; it barely acknowledges the actual question. At best, it's a cool thought experiment, but totally irrelevant to the question.

I'm bad at examples, but here goes: it's as if I said "What if we were in a world with way more aluminum?" and you said "What makes you think there won't be a world with way more iron?" The discussion was never about a world with way more iron. It's possible that the world had both a ton of aluminum and a ton of iron, but we only really care about the one with a lot of aluminum, regardless of its iron content.
TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:
Midnight wrote:We weren't talking about what I (or anyone) would do if I (or anyone) had political power in the future.

Why, then, were you talking about your own views on abortion? I mean, I was responding to a direct quote; it's there for your benefit as much as mine.

Discussing my views on abortion is not the same as discussing what I would do if I was a world leader. Well, it sort of is, because America is a democracy so I'm sort of in charge because I vote. Aren't democracies cool that way?
I'm saying that the general populace has, at all times, favored Roe v. Wade over opposing it, which (to me) says that abortion rights will stay the same as they have been for decades. Incidentally, that argument also works in your hypothetical future in which Roe was overturned--I'm saying that future shall not come to pass (and lets not get into any Infinite Worlds shit), because more Americans like Roe than don't.
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Re: Once artificial wombs are made will abortion still be le

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Mon Aug 09, 2010 4:46 am UTC

Midnight wrote:They're not mutually exclusive. I never said they're mutually exclusive. The question is "What if there were artificial wombs, how would that affect abortion laws", and your answer is "what if there were no abortion laws before the wombs?" That's not an answer to the question; it barely acknowledges the actual question. At best, it's a cool thought experiment, but totally irrelevant to the question.

Ugh. No. My point, in response to people who say that artificial wombs wouldn't lead to abortion bans, is that abortion bans could happen without artificial wombs. Thus, there's no reason to assume that abortion bans would be impossible once/if they do exist.

Midnight wrote:Discussing my views on abortion is not the same as discussing what I would do if I was a world leader.

In this thread, though, and especially in response to the question "What will happen?", I don't see how your personal views are relevant unless you expect to be the one in charge. If somebody asked me what I think SCOTUS will do with Perry and I said "I think gay marriage is great!", I wouldn't be addressing the question.

I mean, I don't think you actually envision yourself as a world leader. My point is to say that, since you probably aren't taking that stance, it doesn't make much sense to talk about your personal views.

Midnight wrote:I'm saying that future shall not come to pass (and lets not get into any Infinite Worlds shit), because more Americans like Roe than don't.

The Supreme Court doesn't work that way. Even assuming that it ultimately responds to elections, opponents of abortion in general place a higher priority on that issue than do its proponents. There's also no particular reason to assume that 50% is some sort of magic ceiling for the level of abortion support, given how much variation there has been in the past. This is especially true when we're discussing a response to a pretty dramatic change in related technology.
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Re: Once artificial wombs are made will abortion still be le

Postby Midnight » Wed Aug 11, 2010 2:12 am UTC

Okay: I WILL agree that artificial wombs aren't required to ban abortion.
BUT we're not talking about all the possibilities by which abortion bans could be passed. The discussion is solely in the context of artificial wombs. We're talking about abortion bans in the context of artificial wombs. At least, I was and everyone else was.

My personal views are relevant in America cause if I ain't the one technically in charge, I can still vote for/against things. Especially in California, where the surf is up, the people are movie stars, and our state legislators are hilariously incompetent--plus our constitution is screwed up enough that the majority can do whatever it wants.
But that's tangential. So I'll go with the petty argument and say "I jes' like ta lay mah ideas out thar."

I understand the point about prioritization, but I feel that's sort of minor, for if the tables were turned (ie abortion became banned) those priorities would switch. If abortions were banned, anti-abortion people wouldn't have it on top of their priorities, 'cause MISSION ACCOMPLISHED, but out of the blue, the issue would suddenly top pro-abortion people's lists, and BAM the tables get turned all the way back.
This is also tangential, and topic for discussion elsewhere I'm sure.

Furthermore, though not affected by votes, the supreme court DOES work the way of precedent. There's pretty strong precedent for abortion rights, such as the supreme court case Roe v. Wade.
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Re: Once artificial wombs are made will abortion still be le

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Wed Aug 11, 2010 2:41 am UTC

Midnight wrote:I understand the point about prioritization, but I feel that's sort of minor, for if the tables were turned (ie abortion became banned) those priorities would switch. If abortions were banned, anti-abortion people wouldn't have it on top of their priorities, 'cause MISSION ACCOMPLISHED, but out of the blue, the issue would suddenly top pro-abortion people's lists, and BAM the tables get turned all the way back.

This is true, but I also think there's a discrepancy in that one side thinks that women's rights are on the line, while the other (or a significant subset, anyway) thinks that children's lives are on the line. It's hard to imagine a pro-choice version of the abortion clinic protester.

(I don't think this is tangential, since this thread is just about a special case of the political conflict over abortion.)

Midnight wrote:Furthermore, though not affected by votes, the supreme court DOES work the way of precedent. There's pretty strong precedent for abortion rights, such as the supreme court case Roe v. Wade.

That precedent has already been restricted in subsequent cases, including, in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, on the grounds that fetuses are now viable earlier in pregnancy.
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Re: Once artificial wombs are made will abortion still be le

Postby gbagcn2 » Wed Aug 11, 2010 9:52 pm UTC

I have heard some ideas of sending space probes with artificial wombs to planets outside the solar system as a way to start colonies on them. It sounds like a much better idea than trying to physically take a bunch of people there on a large ship. What do you guys think of this?

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Re: Once artificial wombs are made will abortion still be le

Postby SecondTalon » Wed Aug 11, 2010 9:54 pm UTC

Oh god no. There's education and socialization, culture and so on. If you fired babies at a planet willy nilly, even if you provided a Skinner box style education and some sort of early food supply so they didn't.. you know, starve to death.. and some way of further producing food and clothing and the like, the culture that emerges is going to be alien to anything on Earth. It's a great idea if you want to create your own Alien species that happens to be physically identical to humans yet otherwise is not human at all.

No no.. if you want to colonize a planet, you send a ship full of people who know what the fuck they're doing. If the planet is more than a generation away or so, you send a ship capable of supporting life for that long (and damn the ethical considerations of condemning unborn children to a future they might not exactly want) and do it that way... Or invent the sci-fi cryogenic crap. Either or.
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Re: Once artificial wombs are made will abortion still be le

Postby Chicostick » Thu Aug 12, 2010 4:34 am UTC

Yeah putting a bunch of artificial wombs onto a foreign planet sounds like a bad idea. How will they learn to communicate? How will they know how to use any equipment they're sent with? Heck, even facial expressions and body language will be different. Like SecondTalon said they'd essentially be aliens that look like people. And depending on how long it takes for technology to catch up enough to send full grown adults to the planet, they might be a different species by then.

As to the absolute original topic starting question (ignoring other debates as I don't like this particular debate topic):

It depends. If they can even take a baby out and then put it in the womb is one good question to consider. It's akin to taking a baby out of one women then shoving it into another. You can do it with the eggs because they're just egg and sperm. But once you get to the whole umbilical cord stage of fetus development it might get tricky. And few women who need abortions will know they're pregnant at an early enough stage for it to be simple.

So, with that in mind, I'm going to assume the cost will be prohibitively high at first. And adoption agencies already have enough trouble as it is, forget adding in massive costs to fund fetus switcheroo.

So no, it would not stop abortions at all. I feel like a well thought out education program and distributing various birth control methods would reduce abortions more than artificial wombs. Most abortions are done as a form of birth control. If those pregnancies were prevented, abortions wouldn't be needed. But accidental pregnancies will happen as long as there are stupid people and alcohol, and abortion tends to be a pretty viable option for them.

I could say more about this topic, but I feel like everything that can be said about abortion has been said somewhere already.

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Re: Once artificial wombs are made will abortion still be le

Postby SecondTalon » Thu Aug 12, 2010 4:32 pm UTC

I'm not even considering the cost and so on. I'm assuming PerfectTech (cheap, works every time, etc) that makes removing a fetus from a woman's uterus and putting in the Womb-o-Matic a process slightly more complicated and discomforting than blowing your nose..


and I still don't see it ending abortion forever. Because when the pop-up timer shoots out and the kid's ready to come out of the oven.. wait, shit, I'm thinking turkeys.. when the kid's viable, someone has to take care of it, raise it, and so on.

And unless we return to Dickensian Orphanages being on every other street corner, I just don't see it happening.
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Re: Once artificial wombs are made will abortion still be le

Postby Alder » Thu Aug 12, 2010 4:41 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:the Womb-o-Matic

I'm really hoping that's what they call it...
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Re: Once artificial wombs are made will abortion still be le

Postby Midnight » Fri Aug 13, 2010 3:23 am UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:
Midnight wrote:I understand the point about prioritization, but I feel that's sort of minor, for if the tables were turned (ie abortion became banned) those priorities would switch. If abortions were banned, anti-abortion people wouldn't have it on top of their priorities, 'cause MISSION ACCOMPLISHED, but out of the blue, the issue would suddenly top pro-abortion people's lists, and BAM the tables get turned all the way back.

This is true, but I also think there's a discrepancy in that one side thinks that women's rights are on the line, while the other (or a significant subset, anyway) thinks that children's lives are on the line. It's hard to imagine a pro-choice version of the abortion clinic protester.

Eh. It's pretty easy to imagine it against the fundamentalists, who, like Sarah Palin, believe that abortion is wrong even in cases of incest or rape or if the woman's health is in danger.
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Re: Once artificial wombs are made will abortion still be le

Postby LaserGuy » Wed Sep 01, 2010 8:44 pm UTC

I think artificial wombs will invariably have an effect on abortion laws. I don't really see any way around it. The primary argument for abortion laws rests on the position that the woman has a fundamental right to control her own body and what happens to it. The artificial womb presents and interesting case study in that there is no woman present. If an egg is fertilized and gestated entirely without the woman's intervention, by what right would she have to destroy it? It isn't part of her body, and thus isn't infringing upon her rights. That she may be legally responsible for the child and wish to absolve herself isn't actually a good argument, because there are already a class of people who are made responsible for children even if they have no interest in having them: men. Men contribute genetic material to the production of the fetus, but, because it is not in their bodies, have no say as to whether or not the fetus can be aborted, and are nonetheless still responsible to support the child after birth. By that logic, neither parent would have any right to destroy an embryo in an artificial womb, because it is not within either of their bodies, and both would still be held responsible for it afterwards. This is obviously an undesirable state of affairs.

The viability argument also fails in the case of an artificial womb, because a "viable" human is not limited to one that cannot survive without medical intervention. The artificial womb is the extreme case: the embryo is viable outside the human womb for the entire "gestation period" by way of an intensive medical procedure. We cannot use this argument to judge when the fetus can or cannot be aborted.

Where does that leave us? It means we must ask the fundamental question that is truly at the heart of the abortion debate: at what point does a fetus no longer exist as a thing and becomes a person? The fundamentalists nonsensically argue that this point must be conception. The pro-choicers argue that this must be birth. But the pro-choice reasoning for choosing birth relies upon, generally, either the rights argument or the viability argument, both of which fail in the case of an artificial womb. The pro-life argument is biologically unsound: there are clearly things that are more alive than a fertilized embryo that we have no problem, morally or legally, destroying--insects, bacteria, shellfish, for example. Even higher lifeforms we are willing to tolerate the deaths of for food (some vegetarians are fond of pointing out, for example, that an adult pig has comparable mental capacity to a child of age 3 or so). So what we're left with is choosing some criteria upon which a fetus ceases to be considered simply a collection of cells or a lower lifeform, and becomes a human. At that point, whatever it may be, the fetus is entitled to the unalienable rights provided by the Constitution. But giving these rights to a fetus outside the womb and denying them to one inside is not reasonable. The argument for fetal rights is not made in reference the existence of a woman, for no woman need be present to make it. Hence, we will see a change in the abortion laws. In particular, we will see a law legalizing termination of the pregnancy up to a particular point in time (say, for argument's sake, the development of a functional nervous system), after which termination would be unlawful unless, presumably, it is medically necessary to do so.

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Re: Once artificial wombs are made will abortion still be le

Postby Sharlos » Thu Sep 02, 2010 1:35 am UTC

LaserGuy wrote:The pro-choicers argue that this must be birth.


Um.. What? I don't know anyone, nor have heard of anyone arguing that life only begins when a baby gets forced through a bunch of contracting muscles.

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Re: Once artificial wombs are made will abortion still be le

Postby SecondTalon » Thu Sep 02, 2010 2:29 am UTC

LaserGuy wrote:It means we must ask the fundamental question that is truly at the heart of the abortion debate: at what point does a fetus no longer exist as a thing and becomes a person?
When they start paying taxes.
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Re: Once artificial wombs are made will abortion still be le

Postby smw543 » Thu Sep 02, 2010 8:15 am UTC

SecondTalon wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:It means we must ask the fundamental question that is truly at the heart of the abortion debate: at what point does a fetus no longer exist as a thing and becomes a person?
When they start paying taxes.

Does sales tax count?
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Re: Once artificial wombs are made will abortion still be le

Postby SecondTalon » Thu Sep 02, 2010 10:57 am UTC

Sure. Still puts the age around 5.
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Re: Once artificial wombs are made will abortion still be le

Postby Plasma Man » Thu Sep 02, 2010 2:20 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:The primary argument for abortion laws rests on the position that the woman has a fundamental right to control her own body and what happens to it. The artificial womb presents and interesting case study in that there is no woman present. If an egg is fertilized and gestated entirely without the woman's intervention, by what right would she have to destroy it? It isn't part of her body, and thus isn't infringing upon her rights. That she may be legally responsible for the child and wish to absolve herself isn't actually a good argument, because there are already a class of people who are made responsible for children even if they have no interest in having them: men. Men contribute genetic material to the production of the fetus, but, because it is not in their bodies, have no say as to whether or not the fetus can be aborted, and are nonetheless still responsible to support the child after birth.

You're forgetting one very major thing here: That anyone undergoing any medical procedure whatsoever has to give informed consent (if able to) before the procedure can go ahead. There's no way that an egg / embryo / fetus can be removed from a woman and placed in an artificial womb without medical intervention, almost certainly surgical, almost certainly involving a risk to the woman.
Your attempt to draw a parallel with men fails as getting viable sperm from a man (normally) doesn't require any medical intervention; their contribution of "genetic material to the production of the fetus" is normally more of a social procedure. I'm afraid that once your stuff is inside someone else's body, it belongs to them. You don't get to donate a kidney, then change your mind and ask for it back; likewise you can't expect to donate your genes and still maintain control over them.
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Re: Once artificial wombs are made will abortion still be le

Postby LaserGuy » Thu Sep 02, 2010 3:16 pm UTC

Plasma Man wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:The primary argument for abortion laws rests on the position that the woman has a fundamental right to control her own body and what happens to it. The artificial womb presents and interesting case study in that there is no woman present. If an egg is fertilized and gestated entirely without the woman's intervention, by what right would she have to destroy it? It isn't part of her body, and thus isn't infringing upon her rights. That she may be legally responsible for the child and wish to absolve herself isn't actually a good argument, because there are already a class of people who are made responsible for children even if they have no interest in having them: men. Men contribute genetic material to the production of the fetus, but, because it is not in their bodies, have no say as to whether or not the fetus can be aborted, and are nonetheless still responsible to support the child after birth.

You're forgetting one very major thing here: That anyone undergoing any medical procedure whatsoever has to give informed consent (if able to) before the procedure can go ahead. There's no way that an egg / embryo / fetus can be removed from a woman and placed in an artificial womb without medical intervention, almost certainly surgical, almost certainly involving a risk to the woman. Your attempt to draw a parallel with men fails as getting viable sperm from a man (normally) doesn't require any medical intervention; their contribution of "genetic material to the production of the fetus" is normally more of a social procedure. I'm afraid that once your stuff is inside someone else's body, it belongs to them. You don't get to donate a kidney, then change your mind and ask for it back; likewise you can't expect to donate your genes and still maintain control over them.


How is that relevant to the decision of whether or not she can later terminate that embryo? As you note , she has donated her genetic material. I'm certainly not arguing that such a thing would happen involuntarily. I'm saying that once she has done so, regardless of the invasiveness of the procedure, she had no more stake in the welfare of her genetic material than her male partner does. How does the egg being removed from her voluntarily imply the right to later destroy that egg once it has been so? The parallel with the kidney transplant is apt: the kidney is removed, voluntarily, surgically, you can't ask for it back. The egg is removed, voluntarily, surgically. Why can she ask for the egg back but not the kidney?

[edit]I'll point out that there is already a precedent for doing such things, via egg donation or embryo donation. Egg donation apparently is non-surgical and [the procedure] takes about 20 minutes, btw.
Last edited by LaserGuy on Thu Sep 02, 2010 3:24 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Once artificial wombs are made will abortion still be le

Postby SecondTalon » Thu Sep 02, 2010 3:20 pm UTC

What's the difference between a tumor and an embryo? The possibility that one will become a supermodel?
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Re: Once artificial wombs are made will abortion still be le

Postby Chen » Thu Sep 02, 2010 4:28 pm UTC

Plasma Man wrote:You're forgetting one very major thing here: That anyone undergoing any medical procedure whatsoever has to give informed consent (if able to) before the procedure can go ahead. There's no way that an egg / embryo / fetus can be removed from a woman and placed in an artificial womb without medical intervention, almost certainly surgical, almost certainly involving a risk to the woman.


I'd have to assume for argument's sake that the procedure for removing the embryo/fetus would need to be VERY similar to the procedure for aborting said embryo/fetus for the logic to hold that you should disallow abortion in that case.


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