Viability?

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Viability?
44
Sun, 02-10-2008 - 7:41pm

I guess I had always thought that viability was the point at which an infant could life without a womb and therefore quite late in the pregnancy. But now I realize that artificial means are completely legit, so viability is becoming earlier and earlier.

Technology is advancing at a rate faster than most people imagine. Given the rate at which technology is advancing, isn’t the issue of viability more and more an issue in the abortion debate?

From Wikipedia:

>>The central holding of Roe v. Wade was that abortions are permissible for any reason a woman chooses, up until the "point at which the fetus becomes ‘viable,’ that is, potentially able to live outside the mother's womb, albeit with artificial aid. Viability is usually placed at about seven months (28 weeks) but may occur earlier, even at 24 weeks." <<

More from Wikipedia:

ectogenesis, an artificial uterus

>>Although the technology does not currently exist to raise an embryo from conception to full development outside of a human body, the possibility of such technology raises questions with respect to cloning and abortion. The elimination of the need for a living uterus would make cloning easier to carry out and yet harder for legal authorities to track. At the same time, the capacity to raise an unwanted fetus apart from the mother would allow the option of fetus adoption, but might raise concerns with respect to children born with no connection to a parent. Some pro-life groups argue that this would allow a father to have a choice in whether to carry a pregnancy to term. Many would be less opposed to banning abortion if the fetus could simply be transferred to an artificial womb instead, since it would be able to survive outside of the uterus from the first day, thereby avoiding any possible undue burden. Even many currently pro-choice people would find it acceptable to ban abortion if artificial uteri become available, since the woman would still be allowed to have the fetus removed from her body. Another controversy also exists in regards to same-sex reproduction. The existence of an artificial uterus would allow gay couples to bare their own biological children through male egg and other modern cloning technology. <<

Lastly, a link to a long, decidedly Pro-life article, “Is Roe v. Wade Obsolete?”

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3798/is_199807/ai_n8794488/pg_14

The funny thing is, without the "integrity of the body" thing, I find myself jumping ships , from pro-choice to pro-life, but it seems to me that most people still value the "right not to be a parent" even if the other parent wants to.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 06-17-2007
In reply to: nisupulla
Sun, 02-10-2008 - 11:09pm

"Viability is usually placed at about seven months (28 weeks) but may occur earlier, even at 24 weeks."

Yeah, it's a little more complicated than that. Here are some of the issues as they stand in terms of viability:

1. Just because a woman has reached viability in carrying a pregnancy doesn't mean that you could easily find a doctor willing to induce labor on a healthy pregnancy at 24 weeks.
2. Just because you could find a doctor who would be willing to induce labor on a healthy pregnancy at 24 weeks doesn't mean that you could easily find a hospital willing to eat a minimum 14-17 weeks of time spent in their NICU to keep the fetus alive and fight off all the problems that will inevitably arise. After all, are you going to expect the woman to pay the millions of dollars it would cost to do that?
3. Just because a fetus is considered viable at 24 weeks does not mean that it is either safe for the fetus or rational to induce labor in a healthy pregnancy at such an early stage of gestation. Viability in this case means that the fetus has *a* chance of surviving, not a good chance of surviving, and not a good chance of surviving without serious physical complications.

"if the fetus could simply be transferred to an artificial womb instead"

The so-called "Partial-Birth Abortion Act" was not designed with the idea that a woman could just have labor induced instead of having an abortion. The idea behind it was to force the woman not to have a third-trimester abortion and to continue the pregnancy instead. Despite what some sources may say (and I'll get to Wikipedia as a source here in a moment), we are a long, long way from an artificial uterus that can support a growing being from shortly after fertilization until full-term. Think about it this way: the first successful IVF baby was born 30 years ago, in 1978. Now think about what a gamble IVF still is for so many people, and you realize how hard it is to create and fine-tune such a complicated process. IVF is absolutely nothing compared to a "ectogenesis," a concept Wikipedia treats with such nonchalance.

Now, sources: Wikipedia is probably not the best source to cite when attempting to argue a point. Wikipedia can be written or edited by *anybody* who wants to; you don't have to be accurate to add things or make changes. Case in point: several months ago, Stephen Colbert encouraged his television show watchers to edit Wikipedia to say that the African elephant population has tripled in the last few years. This is obviously a lie, and someone alerted Wikipedia's administrators to it so they closed that page to edits. But think of how many people who think they know what they're talking about (and are wrong) but their changes or additions slip through. That's why I don't buy Wikipedia as a credible source.

In the presence of something like an artificial uterus, that was technically capable, well-tested, inexpensive and readily accessible, I would be willing to reconsider my views on the legality of abortion. But I highly doubt we will see such a thing in my lifetime.




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iVillage Member
Registered: 02-04-2008
In reply to: nisupulla
Sun, 02-10-2008 - 11:21pm

In the end, it has nothing to do about viability or life - only the percieved right over that life matters from what I gather.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
In reply to: nisupulla
Mon, 02-11-2008 - 9:14am

>>That's why I don't buy Wikipedia as a credible source. <<

I don't mind - even appreciate - criticism of a source. However, if you are going to give little credit to a source, in this case Wikipedia, I think it would be helpful to cite a more reliable source. Could you provide a better source for the remoteness of the possibility of an artificial womb or other technology that will sustain life?

>>But I highly doubt we will see such a thing in my lifetime. <<

Admittedly, neither of us has an accurate crystal ball, but I believe it will happen in my lifetime and probably even sooner than I think.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 01-07-2007
In reply to: nisupulla
Mon, 02-11-2008 - 9:18am

For me, viability has little to do with keeping abortion legal.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
In reply to: nisupulla
Mon, 02-11-2008 - 9:20am

>>In the end, it is all about the 'right' a woman believes she has and the power she feels believing in that right. <<

I'm not a regular or frequent lurker on this board, so this statement isn't making sense to me. Would you mind expanding? Do you use the expressions "she" and "woman" deliberately? In the case of the artificial uterus and IVT, decisions will be made by both men and women. Do you think women are trying to have power over another's life and the power over her body is a drummed up excuse?

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iVillage Member
Registered: 04-10-2003
In reply to: nisupulla
Mon, 02-11-2008 - 10:15am

<>

It's actually about the very real and unique long and short term risks inherent in gestation and childbirth that form the cornerstone of women's right sot chose the set of risks she wished to assume.
Assigning your own psychological interpretations may make your stance more palatable to you, but don't assume you actually know the minds and hearts of each and every PCer out there.
OI don't think you are too happy when people twist your words and points into neat little word-bytes that encapsulate an entirely different perspective than that you hold. Accord the respect you wish to receive.


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iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
In reply to: nisupulla
Mon, 02-11-2008 - 10:18am

>>For me, viability has little to do with keeping abortion legal. <<

Yeah, that's what I thought until recently. But now it seems that Roe v. Wade does not give a mother the right "not to be a parent" or the right to end a e/f's life, if there is a means to artificially support the life outside the mother.

This has little practical relevance to a woman faced with a current day first trimester abortion. But philosophically, this would give men the right to choose to continue the e/f's life over the objections of the woman - provided that the life could continue outside the woman's body.

There seems to be some hub-bub recently about both the right of a father to have a say in the decision about abortion, irrespective of the mother's opinion and the "right not to be a father" especially regarding frozen embryos. So it seems timely to me to address the issue of abortion hypothetically without the "woman's body" element - which seems pretty key to the Roe v. Wade decision. Perhaps I'm missing something - frankly, I hope that's the case.

Should potential parents maintain an absolute right to terminate the life of an e/z/f? Does society have an obligation to sustain that life, if the technology is available? What happens when the potential parents disagree? Should the opportunity for life outweigh the right not to be a parent? Or should the right not to be a parent outweigh the opportunity for life?

It seems to me that Roe v. Wade does not support a "right not to be a parent". Should it?

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iVillage Member
Registered: 02-04-2008
In reply to: nisupulla
Mon, 02-11-2008 - 10:31am
Wasn't trying to twist words at all.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-15-2006
In reply to: nisupulla
Mon, 02-11-2008 - 11:13am

"Wasn't trying to twist words at all.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 01-07-2007
In reply to: nisupulla
Mon, 02-11-2008 - 11:38am

The right is always with the woman who could potentially gestate a pregnancy and give birth.

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