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.
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:
- Is equality the highest good? (Can there be a highest good if equality is the highest good?)
- Please describe the moral failure attached to placing others’ interests above your own.
- 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.)
- 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.)
- How do you suggest we obtain the relevant empirical evidence? Is there an ethical way to do it?
- Is it ethical for you to make this recommendation while having no information on how it would affect the children or the adults?
- 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?
- Or is it really the ethics of equality that drives you? What specifically is unethical about men and women being different from each other?
- You say that pregnancy is a disease. How many other diseases are this productive of life and joy?
- 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!”