THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 356, February 26, 2006
"Socialism is a religion of death and destruction"
An Open Letter
Exclusive to TLE
I'd like to propose a possible alternative to the practice of abortion which you despise so much:
Yes, you did read that correctly. And why not?
I'm talking about a clear plastic container, one that can be filled with fluid comparable to that which is in the placenta, with a pump to circulate the fluids containing the nutrition that will help the fetus to grow and develop properly. (Yes, this is obviously a pretty simplistic description.) It would be helpful if it were portable enough to be taken places in a car. Like to the doctor's office for periodic checkups. Or to the expectant grandparents' house(s). And when one is done with this pregnancy, it can be saved for the next one or sold to recover some of the costs.
The first advantage that comes to mind is that it would be a lot easier and safer to do medical procedures like amniocentesis or fetal surgery. (Just think of the lives that can be saved... or at least made better.)
There would be no more need for surrogates and the complications that can arise from having to hire someone to be pregnant with your child. Just take your own embryo (or one made from an egg purchased from a donor if your own won't work or is not available), have it implanted in the Artificial Womb (hereinafter referred to as the AW), and those who can't have a normal pregnancy can now have one anyway, albeit slightly different than what we are used to.
Just think... the actual parents get to care for their own fetuses all through the pregnancies to ensure (as much as it is humanly possible to do so) that a healthy baby will be born. No more worries that a woman, that you have contracted with to adopt a child from, will smoke, drink, do drugs, get beaten by her boyfriend, eat unhealthy foods or do anything else that could negatively impact the development of the fetus. And no more worries that a birth-person will change his or her mind afterwards and try to take back the child that has already become yours.
Think of all of those women with unwanted pregnancies... Instead of having to pay for an abortion, they can just find someone looking to adopt, then contract with that person to adopt the fetus and pay for all expenses relating to the transfer to the AW... and everything else from then on, since that fetus will then belong to the adoptive people (who will be the parents once the birth takes place). They will have the bonus of knowing that they will have helped someone else to have a pregnancy and child that they otherwise could not have had... and without having to go through nine months of an unwanted situation to get there.
I can even envision Right-To-Life Centers set up in towns across the country, funded by your movement, rather than the government of course, where women can go to be matched up with prospective adoptive families. If there aren't enough adoptive families, I'm sure those in your movement will step up and offer to adopt the fetuses themselves rather than live with the knowledge that a woman might otherwise have an abortion. Or volunteer to pay for the AW so that someone else can afford to adopt the fetus. Or they could even volunteer to pay for birth control (including the "day after" pill) for those that cannot afford it so that they don't even have to wind up considering these options.
Since no solution will ever be 100% perfect from all viewpoints, I do not claim that the AW will prevent all abortions. Women should still have the freedom and the right to choose. But I would think that making this alternative available would eliminate a good number of abortions. This is the closest I think we can come to an acceptable compromise that would satisfy both sides of this issue (aside from the handful of extremists who don't really want a solution, but just want to control how others live their lives).
Note: This proposed solution presumes three things:
1. That a contract is a contract is a contract. Changing one's mind later on is not allowed.
2. That one or more insurance companies will decide to offer coverage of a fetus in an AW as they would for any other "pregnancy"; the transfer to the AW could be considered similar to any other infertility procedure. (This isn't absolutely necessary, but it would obviously help more people to be able to take advantage of it.)
3. That the government will not try to get into the middle of this and over-regulate the process to the point where it is too difficult and/or too expensive for the average person to consider adopting this way. (Then again, they already do that with adoptions now, which is why so many people who would love to have more children can't adopt the children out there who would love to have families.)
And no, the government should not pay for any of this or get involved in raising any children born in this manner. If they want to do that, then forget that I even mentioned it.
OK, so now I'll issue this as a challenge to all of those right-to-lifers who want to make abortion illegal and force women to continue with unwanted pregnancies: If you really believe that a fetus has the right to life, transfer your efforts towards getting the scientific community to develop a low-cost Artificial Womb (with portability) and then volunteer to be adoptive people/parents once it's available. In the meantime, you can also offer to help pay for the adoption expenses for families that would like to adopt, but can't afford it. And put pressure on the politicians to make it easier to adopt.
PSIf you don't like this option, I do have another proposal:
How about if we get rid of welfare as step #1. In fact, we get rid of all government funding for any of those money-for-nothing giveaway programs. Then those of us who are pro-choice can volunteer to help pay for an abortion for anyone who wants one. Or, better yet, contribute to a fund to help pay for birth control. (It's called "Planned Parenthood" by the way.)
You right-to-lifers, on the other hand, can have the dubious honor of supporting any children born to women that you have prevented from (or talked out of) having an abortion. For 18 years. Or you can put your own time and money into finding the resulting children adoptive homes and support them until you do. Personally, I think that would be a lot more fair than trying to force the rest of us not only to live according to your beliefs, but also to have to pay the cost of those beliefs.