I’d vown and sworn I would never start an abortion thread, but I’ve been mulling this over in my head for days. . . .
Hubby and I were debating over dinner, as we love to do (dinner with us is like reading the Dope) and the conversation turned to abortion. I wondered aloud if suddenly a technology for freezing fetuses existed, what would be the potential effects on the abortion debate?
Let’s suppose the technology (relatively painlessly) removes the fetus from the mother and freezes it instantly. Let’s further suppose that this can be done up until, say, the third month of gestation. Storage wouldn’t be much of an issue, because of size, and a bar code could be given to each with the data of the donor (or anonymous, if preferred) so it could be retrieved later, if desired. The fetuses of those who did not wish to retain them could then be stored for use by infertile couples.
Now, the number of couples wanting fetuses would, practically speaking, be a lot less than those which were abandoned. My solution: store them forever, if need be. If there were naturally a limit on how long the tissue could remain viable, it wouldn’t need to be “killed”, it would just die of “old age.” (Assuming that the length that a fetus could be stored would be a comparative number of years to a lifetime-- which I think it might be.)
Going out on a limb: if it did turn out that fetal tissue could be stored for a great length of time, it could be a “Noah’s Ark” of humanity if human fertility should suddenly decline a la “Handmaid’s Tale.”
Considering the amount of money donated to pro-life causes, I don’t think funding would be much of an issue, but I wouldn’t be opposed to using tax dollars to pay for storage units. It’d be like an orphanage.
Hubby, though, was somewhat horrified by the concept of suspended animation. “What if there’s some level of awareness?” he asked. “Can you imagine how horrible that would be?”
“Like Han Solo in the carbonite?” I said, smiling. “Fetus’ brains are not developed enough to have self-awareness.”
“But neither is a toddler’s,” he pointed out. “Think of your neice. What is she? About a year-and-a-half? She still thinks the baby in the mirror is another baby. But freeze her in place for a hundred years, and see what happens. The point is, we don’t know.”
But all that aside, what would be wrong with freezing fetuses indefinitely? Of never allowing it to grow? Is a life taken by abortion if the fetus’ cells die slowly by the corrosive effects of time? Does the amount of time it lasted matter? How can this compare to the Terri Schaivo situation?
So, would this change the abortion debate much if all this were possible? Aside from the ethical issues of suspended animation, I think there still would be, because of many pro-life people’s stance on sexual immorality.
I’ve spoken with many pro-lifers on this issue, and the stance of some is that a person should have to live with the consequences of their sexual activity. Some I’ve spoken to wax nostalgic about the “old days” when a girl and boy were shamed into marrying and raising the child. (Now, I must note at this point that I don’t see this as an oppression-of-women concept, because most of the people I’ve talked to have just as harsh a view of male pre-marital sexual activity.)
In rural America, this is not necessarily nostalgia-- it still happens. I know quite a few families in which something similar has happened. A good number of the girls with whom I went to high school married very soon after graduating, and had suspiciously large “premature babies”.
Now, the problems I see with this, of course, is that a bad marriage is a damn sight worse than having a kid, especially if you have family support. It certainly has the potential to cause a lot more damage in the future.
What happens in most of these situations is that the two young people try to stick it out, and their determination lasts just about long enough for their child to reach their most formative years. Then the pressure just becomes too great. The kid is duly traumatized by the bitter break-up.
Sometimes, they make a go of it-- perhaps not the lives they wanted, but they’re okay. Many times, they’re later agonized to see their own children making similar mistakes.
The people who believe this way generally are the people who are for abstinance-only sex education, and fight birth control programs-- virtually ensuring that the “consequences” are unavoidable.
Would there be opposition from these people as I anticipate? Considering their successes in the way sex education is taught, I imagine their opposition would be formidable.
Considering these two points, do you think if a technology existed, that it would be utilized in the US?