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“Brave New World: UK ethicist wants women to abandon motherhood, use artificial wombs”

Posted on Jan 27, 2012 by Tom Gilson

An “ethicist’s” opinion:

NORWICH, U.K., January 23, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In remarks that critics have said are disturbingly reminiscent of Aldous Huxley’s famous dystopian novel “Brave New World,” a UK ethicist has argued that since pregnancy causes “natural inequality” between the sexes, women must be liberated from the “burdens and risks of pregnancy” through the use of “ectogenesis”, or artificial wombs. “Pregnancy is a condition that causes pain and suffering, and that affects only women. The fact that men do not have to go through pregnancy to have a genetically related child, whereas women do, is a natural inequality,” writes Dr. Anna Smajdor in an article that recently appeared in the Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics. “If there were a disease that caused symptoms and risks similar to those caused by pregnancy, I contend that it would be regarded as being fairly serious, and that we would have good reasons to try to insure against it,” argues Smajdor, who lumps pregnancy along with “diseases” that continue for many months, such as the measles…. For Smajdor, the issue is simply a matter of sex equality: “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,” she concludes. [From Brave New World: UK ethicist wants women to abandon motherhood, use artificial wombs | LifeSiteNews.com]

Elsewhere Dr. Smajdor has opined that “pregnancy is barbaric,” and

for expectant mothers, the fact of encompassing another life in their bodies often takes a serious toll on their autonomy…. Not only this, but their abilities and rights to make decisions about their medical care are at risk of being overridden in favor of the interests of the unborn child.

and

With regard to the safety of ectogenesis, I assume for the purpose of this argument, that sufficient research would need to be carried out to establish this.

Some questions I would like Dr. Smajdor to answer:

  1. Is equality the highest good? (Can there be a highest good if equality is the highest good?)
  2. Please describe the moral failure attached to placing others’ interests above your own.
  3. What does the empirical evidence say concerning the well-being of children born through ectogenesis? Are they as emotionally and physically healthy as children born out of a women’s womb? (I’ll let you crib on this, Dr. Smajdor, since you and I both no there is no empirical evidence. See question 5 and following.)
  4. What does the empirical evidence say concerning the well-being of women and families in a society that relies heavily on ectogenesis? (See question 5 and following, again.)
  5. How do you suggest we obtain the relevant empirical evidence? Is there an ethical way to do it?
  6. Is it ethical for you to make this recommendation while having no information on how it would affect the children or the adults?
  7. Is it possible that you are simply following the logic of abortion, specifically, the logic that says the needs of the adult absolutely override the needs of the helpless and dependent young?
  8. Or is it really the ethics of equality that drives you? What specifically is unethical about men and women being different from each other?
  9. You say that pregnancy is a disease. How many other diseases are this productive of life and joy?
  10. In light especially of questions 5 and 6, would you please explain to us what qualifies you to describe yourself as an ethicist?

In view of this and questions #5 and #6, if I had to place money on what’s really driving this woman’s opinions, I’d split it equally between the “ethics of equality,” and abortion-logic, or, “Who made me responsible for the next generation? They can fend for their own #!*% selves!”

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11 Responses to “ “Brave New World: UK ethicist wants women to abandon motherhood, use artificial wombs” ”

  1. SteveK says:

    Narcissism run amok. Educated people are not necessarily wise.

  2. Amy Hall says:

    The narcissism of Western culture knows no bounds.

  3. Victoria says:

    Gee, we’d have to rewrite Psalm 139!

  4. BillT says:

    I’ve come to believe that people like Anna Smajdor are doing the world a real favor. This kind of stomach turning, narcissistic, elitist nonsense can only do harm to the cause of the people that propose it. I believe the case Dr. Smajdor makes will elicit a strong sense of revulsion in a great majority of the people who hear it. They will think that this person and the people like her need to be stopped, or ignored or just laughed at. We need these people to shine a bright light at the ultimate destructiveness and absudity of their own ideology.

  5. Victoria says:

    @BillT
    We can only hope that she and her ludicrous ideas will be spoofed on The Simpsons or ‘The Big Bang Theory'(I can see Sheldon and Amy Farrah-Fowler having offspring this way LOL).

    But seriously, this is the ideological spawn of the devil that the lie from hell that is philosophical naturalism produces…

  6. Victoria says:

    Now, I’m sure that someone will defend the medical research into ‘ectogenesis’ as being justified: to save the life an premature baby who would not survive outside a womb; for women who cannot carry a baby to term (or are known to be at high risk for complications of pregnancy), but who desperately want children of their own. It would eliminate the issues associated with using a surrogate mother, the hassles of going through a complex adoption process (oh, so that a woman who would have otherwise had to decide between abortion and adoption for her unborn child, now might have to decide if she wants to risk a surgical procedure to transfer the embryo/fetus to an artificial womb? ).
    Some of those reasons sound really good, but what Dr. Smajdor is talking about is an ideological program of social engineering, and we know how successful we’ve been at that, eh?

    Jeff Goldblum’s ‘Jurassic Park’ character (Dr. Ian Malcolm) said it well…”Your scientists were trying so hard to see if they could do it (making dinosaurs) that they never stopped to think if they should do it”.

  7. Charles says:

    For Smajdor, the issue is simply a matter of sex equality: “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,” she concludes.

    What a load of nonsense. Has she ever heard of the term ‘false dichotomy’? What a blatant example of this fallacy.

  8. G. Rodrigues says:

    @BillT:

    I believe the case Dr. Smajdor makes will elicit a strong sense of revulsion in a great majority of the people who hear it. They will think that this person and the people like her need to be stopped, or ignored or just laughed at. We need these people to shine a bright light at the ultimate destructiveness and absudity of their own ideology.

    By temperamental constitution I am a cynic and a pessimist, so I am not certain that such absurd, irrational, inhuman positions will be seen for what they are or elicit the revulsion that you expect. Given the topsy-turvy cultural climate we live in, it is far from clear. So just to err on the safe side, I suggest we keep denouncing as loudly and vociferously as possible such ungodly irrationalities.

  9. BillT says:

    G. Rodrigues,

    I certainly don’t disagree with your call to denounce this kind of nonsense. However, I think we’ve seen the backlash from the public in the political arena to extremist positions. Though philosophical/theological/ethical topics like this one don’t get as much publicity, the more people like Smajdor speak, the more will hear.

  10. Melissa says:

    Or maybe a different perspective is that men are the ones missing out. There may be pain and inconvenience but also blessing and growth. The modern secular tendency of seeing pain as something to be avoided at all costs is a mistake that tends to result in immature, selfish adults.

  11. G. Rodrigues says:

    @Melissa:

    Or maybe a different perspective is that men are the ones missing out. There may be pain and inconvenience but also blessing and growth.

    There is a lot of truth in this. I will even advance the following, admittedly bold and unverifiable speculation: the reason that most of the artists are male is precisely because an artist inevitably sees himself as the *creator*, as playing a God-like role. But if you are the source of *life* itself, mere imitations of it become pale and paltry in comparison. Or in other words, women do not feel the *need* to be creators as urgently as men do because in their role as mothers they are already the supreme — speaking in human terms — creators.

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