january
midwinter night’s dreams

G

home news woman worlorn the muse off-ramp
contents non-fiction deb’s prose d&d info arts & crafts exit

previous
next












9-1/2 weeks
unknowable by the science of the times

980122






  at one time, when the earth was flat, it was illegal to say—or act as if—the world was round. galileo’s studies eventually lead to evidence which changed the law. after over two-decades of medical advancement, this anniversary of roe v. wade likewise requires re-thinking of legislation.
  at what point may a woman no longer demand her personal rights override her baby’s life? when her society can say “no, you must let your child live, for it has become a human being”?
  last time i checked, when hospitalization allows a human—of any age—to survive, it’s illegal to choose to withold such hospitalization. in the united states, at least most of them, it’s a crime to choose to withhold medical attention to a needful human being ’till it dies. that prom-night mother was convicted of it last year. “doctor” jack kervorkian also experiments with this same moral exercise, albeit from the other side.
  consider, current out-of-uterus sustenance is routinely successful, with intensive care, as early as the 22nd week after conception. consider also that until now doctors couldn't save a premature baby before the formation of lungs. doctors are now, january 1998, testing fluid which can sustain a human foetus, oxygenating its body the same way the womb does before the lungs are formed. the timeframe i heard was “the nineteenth week.” imagine successful pregnacies of less than five months!
  what then is today’s moral space between a 22nd week abortion and placing a newborn in a dumpster, or pulling the respirator plug on a helpless invalid? what then is today’s moral space between a woman’s rights and the rights of a child she’s bearing?
  consider also, for all human eggs fertilized, scientific evidence1 suggests that 50% suffer spontaneous miscarriages before the eighth week, miscarried because the foetus is genetically damaged in some way. in other words, these natural abortions occur because the foetus is not capable of becoming a human being.
  when mother nature appears to disagree, must we act as if a human egg fertilized in a womb, in a petri dish, or frozen in a vault, are instantly human beings? can we claim a “morning after pill” is murder? given that mother nature induces abortion of a fertilized egg up to the eighth week, given formation of recognizable human features such as “brain” and “spine,” evidence suggests it is not arbitrary to make eight weeks the zone for determining emerging humanity. how can we argue a foetus becomes a human being before mother nature agrees, and before technology can sustain it?
  the science of our time suggests that we have this space, the period between approximately eight and nineteen weeks after conception, between the time when mother nature implies a foetus is a potential human being, and when human technology can enforce it. after mother nature agrees we have a human being, and before the human is able to sustain itself without medical attention, one can argue witholding the womb amounts to murder of a human being.
  this leaves a woman with up to two months to choose between moral termination and ten additional weeks of compulsory pregnancy before the human baby may be delivered into intensive care .
  neither roe nor wade could consider these specific items in their arguments; today’s facts were not knowable or relevant under the science of the times. the judge, using proper process, measured justice based on the thinking of the time.
  when knowledge replaces ignorance, moral thinkers must shift also, or moral code becomes subjective philosophy: ethics with a blind spot. advances in technology require advances in social morality, driving new legislation.
  we have detected the earth is not flat.

1 medical ethicist art caplan, interviewed on npr's fresh air, 980122. [click here to return to rant]

  postscript
  imagine an all-life-is holy scenario. if fertilized eggs are human beings, soon eggs and sperm become sacrosanct (you don't think so? no one expects the spanish inquisition...). once human cloning occurs (and it will, it will) then any cell with DNA-content becomes a potential human.
  you're under arrest! it's illegal to throw away that kleenex—it contains your DNA!










home news woman worlorn the muse off-ramp
contents non-fiction deb’s prose d&d info arts & crafts exit

previous
next












don’t like it here?
tell me why






this page copyright © 1998 m. g. gadzikowski
all rights reserved worldwide