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viernes, 16 de marzo de 2018

DANIEL VAUGHAN: There’s no such thing as pro-choice

Labels are helpful, except when they’re not. And nothing is less useful in the debate over abortion in America than the labels each side uses: pro-life and pro-choice.

I’d like to focus this column on pro-choice, because, above all else, it’s simply a false narrative — it’s not pro-choice, but rather pro-abortion by any means necessary.

Pro-choice partisans claim that abortion is needed, because a woman’s right to choose when she conceives is a given: it’s her body. If this were the end of the facts, that would make sense as a coherent argument.

But that’s not the end of it — and changing biotechnological realities prove that this debate is less about choice and more about drawing arbitrary lines on when we consider a person a human life.

All this may seem like a difficult stance to take, but I think it’s demonstrable if we explore some of the emerging concepts in biotechnology.

Firstly, let’s look at the artificial womb. In 2017, scientists announced that they had successfully built and kept a baby lamb alive in an artificial womb. The authors of the study acknowledged the implications of their breakthrough with Nature Communication:

[T]he implications of this technology extend beyond clinical application to extreme premature infants. Potential therapeutic applications may include treatment of fetal growth retardation related to placental insufficiency or the salvage of preterm infants threatening to deliver after fetal intervention or fetal surgery.

The technology may also provide the opportunity to deliver infants affected by congenital malformations of the heart, lung and diaphragm for early correction or therapy before the institution of gas ventilation. Numerous applications related to fetal pharmacologic, stem cell or gene therapy could be facilitated by removing the possibility for maternal exposure and enabling direct delivery of therapeutic agents to the isolated fetus.

While the scientists say they’re a long ways off from being able to take an embryo through all the stages of early human development, this innovation does let bioethicists play with multiple hypotheticals.

If a child can be made viable as a result of an artificial womb, why should abortion clinics exist? If we can keep that child alive, pursuing death instead of life when life-giving technology is available, appears barbaric.

Secondly, if a mother and her body can be removed entirely from the equation, does she still have the right to terminate life in before birth? State courts have grappled with this question in the past. The most famous case is likely one from 1992, Davis v. Davis, that went before the Tennessee Supreme Court.

In that case, a married couple had their embryos frozen as part IVF procedures, or in vitro fertilization. After failing to conceive multiple times, they had seven embryos remaining and had them frozen.

Unrelated to that process, their marriage fell apart, and they filed for divorce. But what to do about the embryos? The wife wanted to keep them, but the husband wanted them destroyed.

The court ultimately ruled in favor of the husband, saying that unwanted parenthood overrode anything else.

And that’s what these examples highlight, even when you remove all the issues of the pro-choice crowd: the real question is whether or not people facing parenthood can call a mulligan, and end a human life at an arbitrarily chosen point for any reason.

We see this exact rationale with abortions regarding children with the potential of having Down syndrome, or babies that are unlucky enough to be female in places like India and China. It’s not about bodily choice in this case — it’s about wanting a different child.

It’s the conceit of saying one class of child is more valuable than another.

But technology, like artificial wombs, completely eradicates the need for abortion clinics. You could work toward a solution where babies are removed and kept alive in an artificial womb and adopted out.

But pro-choice advocates would prefer that child have its life snuffed out.

It’s worth comparing how we treat human babies in the early stages of development to how we treat animals. There’s an entire movement in America to push for no-kill shelters, where euthanasia isn’t allowed. To borrow that language, places like Planned Parenthood are pushing for the euthanasia of all human children that come into their contact, for any reason.

You can make a sound argument that choice is involved in situations of rape or the mother’s life is in danger. Those are situations of absolute choice and bodily integrity.

But those are also the margins of the debate — not the mainstream. And you can’t build laws like that based on the margins.

Rape and health are distinct areas where exceptions can be made with rules.

It’s important to note that any line you draw on when a person is or isn’t legally human is entirely arbitrary.

And technology like artificial wombs and other advances make any viability argument moot. Whatever line you draw can also be pushed forward, as two Australian medical ethicists argued when they advocated “after-birth abortion,” the concept that parents should have the right to kill newborn babies.

The pro-choice crowd isn’t about choice; it’s about death. It’s about looking at all conceivable innovations and ethical quandaries and choosing death over all else.

A fetus is a developmental stage for every human on earth today. Saying someone is a fetus doesn’t make them not a human; it’s like referring to an infant, adolescent, teenager, or senior. It’s a distinct and measurable stage of human development.

Pro-choice is pro-abortion at all costs.

Even in situations like a 20-week abortion ban, when we know viability isn’t an issue, they choose the death of a child when life is possible.

That’s why pro-choice doesn’t exist. It’s all about no-limits abortion, and that’s the only choice offered.