100th Anniversary of Roe v Wade

The hypothetical year is 2073. On January 22, Dr. I. N. Stein calls a press conference to make an announcement that causes a firestorm of contraversy across the United States.

Dr. Stein has been running an OB/GYN clinic for almost 20 years now. As far as clinics go, it’s fairly typical. Clean, professional, and yet completely sterile. For the past 10 years, he’s been helping women end their unwanted pregnancies, specializing in early term pregnacies.

But on January 22, that all changes. Dr. Stein’s announcement was this. His patented suction pregnancy termination device, used widely across the US, is fully capable of removing the embryo intact. And alive. In fact, Dr. Stein has extracted live embryos in all the pregnancy terminations he’s performed to date. In the past 50 or so years, medical incubation has been nearly perfected, so it was a relatively small feat to ensure the survival of the embryos to full blown personhood. In fact, this year, his very first pregancy termination was half way through his 5th grade in school, living with his biological father. Others were adopted, or living in special foster care facilities provided by the Catholic Church. Over 10,000 children of various ages were living their lives as a result. In conjuction with Dr. Stein’s announcement, the Catholic Church put out a universal call for use of its Safe Heaven™ facilities.

Dr Stein’s clinic and procedures were indistiguishable from abortion clinics. Women who had been his patients, despite rating him highly after the pregnancy termination, almost universally felt mislead and betrayed, despite evidence that Dr Stein had been 100% honest about what he was doing…ending the pregnancy by extraction of the embryo.

And soon lawsuits starting being filed. Biological fathers and grandparents started filing for child support from the mothers. Mothers started filing lawsuits alledging violation of privacy and their 14th Amendment rights. In some cases, the mothers were suing for custody.

What say you? I would not be surprised if viability is no longer a concern in my lifetime. When this happens, does abortion as we know it become irrelevant? Is the actual death of the embryo/fetus a right of the mother, or only the ending of the pregnancy? Would Doctors, knowing that they could extract the embryo alive and without any difference in procedure for the mother, be violating the Hippocratic Oath by killing the embryo/fetus? Can a mother be held financially responsible for child that is only biologically her’s because of the egg involved?

Who is going to pay for the service to bring the fetus to term and who is going to pay to raise the child? Adoption will pick up some of them but almost certainly not all of them. What do you do if the fetus has birth defects or retardation and such? Bring it to term anyway?

How do you address the issue where the fetus is not wanted by the mother? What studies are there that the psychological and physical issues of the mother impact the fetus? Your scenario indicates a mother in 5th grade? Is this accurate? Irrespective of medical advancements, what about the psychological development of a child to be a breeding vessel for another child?


the scenario does not indicate a mother in 5th grade, it indicates an “aborted” child is in 5th grade.

Erm… where were these biological fathers and grandparents under the impression that these children had come from? Or were they just part of a huge conspiracy to hide these children from the biological mothers? Why are they suddenly worried about child support? I’m confused.

Cite? I was under the impression that there is vastly more demand for healthy newborns than there is supply.

What you are forgetting is that other technologies will advance. Maybe foolproof 100% contraception will be a reality, eliminating the need for abortion in all but special specific cases. Maybe home abortion kits will be available, maybe robots will do it for you.

You’d think but does not seem to be the case:

Add to that there are around 500,000 kids (of varying ages of course) in Foster Care.

Now consider that there were 1.29 million abortions in 2002.

The math seems pretty clear.

Indeed it does. 487,000 out of 1.6 million women seeking adoption were able to adopt. That leaves about 1.2 million women who wanted to adopt, but weren’t able to. I’d say demand vastly exceeds supply, unless you have some other reason those women weren’t allowed to adopt? Strangely enough, if the abortions were allowed to be adopted, you’d have an almost perfect balance.

Also, those numbers are for the women. Many families who adopt, adopt more than one child.

For me, the point of abortion is to end the pregnancy, not to end the life of the embryo/fetus/baby (whatever you want to call it).

My quarrel with Dr. Stein would be that he wasn’t publicizing the information, therefore women who would desperately have wanted to use his services were being denied and millions of abortions were happening for no reason. That’s unacceptable.

If this were possible, and I agree that it may be some day though I think perfect birth control is more likely, society as a whole would have to decide what to do about these extracted fetuses. If the parents don’t want them, we don’t want the parents to have them. If the culture can’t absorb them (and I’ve seen no evidence our culture can) then we don’t want them brought to term. In my opinion, once this no longer has to do with the woman’s body, it’s up to the populace as a whole to decide what should happen.

Some interesting questions, but I have a feeling that not all of them would be asked in 2073.

If we have the ability to remove a fetus from the womb and keep it alive until the normal gestation period is reached, I am going to speculate that birth control will be sufficiently advanced and prevalent to prevent pregnancy 100% of the time. This will help to make abortion irrelevant to most of society.

Your correlation of “ending of the pregnancy” with both “death of the fetus” and “birth” is interesting.

I certainly think the doctor could be in violation of his HO in your scenario (if he killed a fetus he knew could kept alive). I also think he has committed ethical violations, re:

If he or his clinic ever called the procedure an abortion, they were misleading. Abortion is the removal of the fetus from the womb, either resulting in or caused by the death of the fetus. Removing a fetus from the womb to be nurtured by another is NOT the same as abortion. If he was not misleading, then how did none of the mothers know that they had a living biological child? The hypothetical says over 10,000 children are living their lives. Did 10,000 women all just skip reading that part of the consent form?

It seems that the sales literature for the Doc’s Patented Suction Pregnancy Termination device must have omitted the fact that it extracted living, viable fetus’, or else why was there shock and surprise (and lawsuits filed) when it was announced? The Doc’s PSPT has been misleadingly sold, referenced and used for years.

Lastly, I don’t think the mother or father should be held financially liable for decisions to incur expenses made by others. If one parent wants the child, and unbeknownst to the other is raising said child, I cannot see how an egg/sperm donor can be held financially liable. No information + no input = no culpability.

IMO, the doctor in question is an asshole. He’s not giving the women under his care the information needed for full, informed consent. He’s acting on his own interests, following his own morals, with no real attempt to be truthful or honest to the patients who have come to him for care.

You cannot assume that 1.2 million women were turned down for no good reason. 1.2 million, surely for a variety of reasons, were not able to follow through on an adoption. You are telling me we should now give those people children? Nevermind any criteria…just hand them over?

ETA: Add 500,000 in Foster care too.

Yes. Because there aren’t enough babies. You can’t adopt a baby if all the available ones go to different parents.