“We’re pro-choice, not pro-abortion,” abortion defenders endlessly insist. They assure us that a dead baby is not the objective of aborting a pregnancy, but an unavoidable side-effect of women exercising necessary control over their health and lives (that is, when they even admit that a death takes place at all).
But every now and then, the mask slips. And rarely do pro-aborts show their true colors more grotesquely than they have in response to a recent paper (hat tip to the Stanek Report) by Quinnipiac Law Professor Stephen Giles, which asks whether “the right to elective abortion include[s] the right to ensure the death of the fetus,” and explores the potential of artificial wombs to defuse the abortion debate by terminating women’s pregnancies without killing their babies.
Obviously, with such technology largely speculative, it’s impossible to predict whether Giles’s vision would pan out. We can’t know all the technical complications and social ramifications the final product might have. We can, however, see that a fetus-friendly option to spare abortion-minded women pregnancy and delivery in addition to parenthood would have enormous promise to save lives. A win-win for both sides, right?
In a sane world, perhaps. Alas, sanity rarely makes an appearance in the land of abortionism. Rather than embrace the goal of a non-lethal right to choose, pro-“choicers” are recoiling with disgust at Giles’s proposal.
Raw Story’s Travis Gettys characterizes the proposal as bringing about “dystopian techno fetus farms,” and worryingly notes that this would entail a woman “relinquishing her parental rights” (never mind that rejecting parenthood is the whole point of abortion). The leftist feminist group FUSE responded with a terse “well this is horrifying,” after which their Facebook page’s admin even upvoted a reader’s call to “shoot this [expletive] dead.”
A thread at Democratic Underground sneers, “This is why it is so hard to write satire,” with little in the way of actual rebuttal. On an Atheist Forum thread charmingly titled “This [Expletive] Has Fetuses on the Brain,” users took it as more proof that pro-lifers think we own women’s uteri, figured “basically the guy is advocating to infringe upon human rights,” were “reminded sickeningly of Brave New World,” and were “disgusted by the mere idea” because any child a woman gives up “is still her child in a very fundamental way” — maybe they mistook “I brought you into this world, I can take you out” for more than a punchline.
At RH Reality Check, senior “legal analyst” Jessica Mason Pieklo offers a lengthier critique, complaining that the “very idea of the state stepping in and ‘rescuing’ fetuses as early as conception completely erases women’s reproductive privacy rights”:
Giles’ argument presumes without question that once a person is pregnant they somehow “owe” the state a live birth. This is a presumption with immediately dangerous consequences playing out in places like Tennessee, Alabama, Wisconsin, and Indiana, where prosecutors and judges are incarcerating women for being a perceived threat to their developing pregnancy.
It would be easy to write off Giles’ fetal rescue program as the stuff of theocratic sci-fi fantasy. To do so, however, would dangerously underestimate the political willpower of the anti-abortion movement, which has made significant gains peddling abortion restrictions—such as informed consent requirements and parental involvement laws—dressed up as “solutions” to the problem of patients “struggling” with the decision to end a pregnancy.
To be clear, advances in reproductive technology like the artificial womb have tremendous promise in improving the lives of many. But when scholars like Giles argue there is a “problem” with women having full autonomy over their reproductive selves, and that the legal “solution” is for the state to leverage that technology to remove that autonomy in the name of “expanding” choices for women, it’s imperative for reproductive rights advocates to take that argument seriously and head-on, lest we risk losing those rights altogether.
Translation: even if we can terminate a pregnancy whenever we want, our rights are still being violated if we can’t terminate the baby, too. That sound you hear in the distance is a narrative imploding.
A “senior legal analyst,” of all people, should understand that it’s not about “owing” the state a birth — quite the opposite. It’s that the state owes us protection from being killed. All of us owe each other, at the very least, the simple decency of letting one another live. And though it illicitly ruled that the unborn don’t count, Roe v. Wade still affirms that underlying duty: “If this suggestion of personhood is established, the appellant’s case, of course, collapses, for the fetus’ right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the [14th] Amendment.” All this should be obvious, but then again, someone who can’t grasp the First Amendment isn’t likely to excel at the rest of the Constitution.
This isn’t the first time pro-aborts have balked at the notion of artificial wombs. In August, the Daily Beast’s Samantha Allen claimed to fear that while it would “undoubtedly improve the lives of some women,” it would also place “additional distance […] between a woman and her child,” giving “the anti-feminist Right terrifying new points of leverage at a crucial moment in feminist history.” University of North Carolina professor Rosemarie Tong worries that it “could lead to a commodification of the whole process of pregnancy […] To the extent that we externalize an experience like pregnancy, it may lead to a view of the growing child as a ‘thing.'”
Hate to break it to you, ladies, but abortion already did that—with your approval. You can’t put much more distance between mother and child than having the former see the latter as disposable at best, a parasitic enemy at worst. The right to destroy what Tong calls “the growing child” for whatever reason one wishes quite literally reduces him or her to a “thing,” a commodity to be thrown away if it isn’t to one’s liking or comes at a bad time.
It’s difficult to fathom a charitable interpretation of Pieklo and company’s hostility. When a woman decides to have an abortion, whatever else she may or may not believe about her pregnancy, she is choosing to get rid of whatever it is that’s growing within her. She has decided that when it’s over, there will not be a new baby in her life, and she will not be a parent to him or her.
Granted, we don’t know precisely how the mechanics of removing an embryo or fetus to transplant him or her into an artificial womb would work, but the abortion she is consenting to is typically at least somewhat invasive as well (and besides, being hypothetical anyway, the thought experiment still stands if we assume the process isn’t invasive).
Either way, the woman gets exactly what she wanted. The only variable is that in Giles’s scenario, the baby survives, ready to be placed with a willing family (as to concerns that babies in artificial wombs would go unwanted, note that the number of married couples struggling with infertility in 2014 was 1.5 million, higher than our annual abortion rate of about 1.1 million).
Why is it so important that the baby die? It’s hard to be sure, but somewhere along the line, celebrating abortion’s ostensible purpose became inseparable from glorifying abortion itself.
Thus, today we have murder weapons turned into jewelry, viral videos about the “special memories” a victim’s sonogram evokes, and “poetry” romanticizing your children’s involuntary sacrifice as martyrdom. Whatever the cause, it’s abundantly clear that today it is pro-abortion, not pro-choice. With every passing day, what might have once been merely a tragically mistaken political cause looks more and more like an outright death cult.