26 Jan Artificial Wombs for All…
Pregnancy is unethical. Bet you didn’t know that. Anna Smajdor, an ethicist at the UK’s University of East Anglia, believes that being pregnant for nine months and then delivering the child is too risky, painful and socially restrictive to subject women to it any longer. Dr. Smajdor believes that large junks of public funding should be immediately directed towards the creation of artificial wombs. She wonders how men and women can ever be equal if women continue to be subject to pregnancy.
Dr. Smajdor is a leading proponent of ectogensis – “the growth process of embryonic tissue placed in an artificial environment,” or an artificial womb.
“I suggest that there is a strong case for prioritizing research into ectogenesis as an alternative to pregnancy. I conclude by asking the reader the following: if you did not know whether you would be a man or a woman, would you prefer to be born into Society A, in which women bear all the burdens and risks of pregnancy, or Society B, in which ectogenesis has been perfected.”
In Dr. Smajdor’s world, pregnancy is a disease that medical technology must engineer away because a civilized society would not subject women to it. “Either we view women as baby carriers who must subjugate their other interests to the well-being of their children or we acknowledge that our social values and level of medical expertise are no longer compatible with “natural” reproduction.”
I decided to talk to women and do my own little unofficial survey on this topic. So I went straight to the top – so to speak. I approached my boss, Carol Soelberg, President of United Families International and natural mother of 13 children. As I explained Dr. Smajdor’s ideas and asked for her opinion, a range of emotions from dismay to disgust quickly went across her face. Then she quietly said,
“She doesn’t speak for me. Don’t take from me the joy and the privilege of pregnancy – the chance to give life to a child. That woman doesn’t speak for me.”