Beyond Good and Evil

Dr. Ronnie J. Hastings

Good Bye to Pro-Life and Pro-Choice

Kavanaugh’s views on Roe vs. Wade, pro-lifers shouting the mantra “abortion is murder!”, and pro-choicers defending Planned Parenthood are but three indicators of how powerful in the great social and political divide brought on by American conservatism are the issues over a woman’s reproductive rights and the alleged rights of her fetus. Yet in this melee of charge and counter-charge, little biological, medical, and pre-natal information seems to be used. It is as if people would rather demonize the other side than to find out information that possibly can make this whole divide over abortion in our country both silly and moot.

 
In the posts The “A” Word — Don’t Get Angry, Calm Down, and Let Us Talk [April, 2013] and The “A” Word Revisited (Because of Gov. Rick Perry of Texas), or A Word on Bad Eggs [July, 2013] — both written in 2013 and published on my website www.ronniejhastings.com — I suggested a solution to the controversy that so far does not seem to satisfy either the pro-lifers or the pro-choicers. However, in these posts I present my reasons I think the pro-choicers have a much preferred position than that of the pro-lifers. The history of modern prenatal care has put the pro-life position on the road to extinction, in my opinion. There appears to be a general public ignorance of this care, brought on by the failure of virtually all religious institutions and public or private schools to provide our children a respectful and comprehensive sex education program. This post plans to eliminate as much of that ignorance as I can and talk about the apparent future of having children in our species.

 
From this point I will assume the reader has read the two posts cited above on my website or read them on my FB notes.

 
Here is what can happen NOW for any woman who through a home pregnancy test knows she is pregnant: A sample of her amniotic fluid can be taken in her pediatrician’s hospital and attendant lab and the genome of the fertilized egg (or even of the blastula) can be displayed to look for any genetic defects. The discovery of any defects places upon the mother-to-be and her pediatrician (and the father, if involved) the decision to either abort (a very safe and routine procedure at this stage) or not abort and see if the defects can be eliminated by generic engineering, using techniques like CRISPR, which technically turns the baby-to-be, or baby-in-the-making, or proto-baby, into a genetically modified organism, or GMO. The cycle of amniotic fluid analysis and applied engineering can be repeated if the first attempt did not produce a “normal” genome. Repeated failures to reach a “normal” healthy genome increases the likelihood the mother would choose to abort. Of course, she has from the very beginning and each cycle the choice of NOT aborting, but this choice says she is bearing the financial and emotional responsibility of birthing and rearing a child afflicted with a congenital problem (Downs syndrome, etc.).

 
Of course, even if the proto-baby genome is normal, the “normal” risks of any pregnancy — miscarriage, still-birth, or forced abortion due to endangerment of the mother’s life anywhere during gestation — apply.

 
In other words, today any woman who can reach a delivery room with modern medical technology and attendant laboratories can be assured that the establishment of a normal proto-baby genome assures the birth of a healthy baby, outside unforeseen miscarriage or undetected trauma at birth . This is already a reality in the larger cities all over the planet, and with increased communication and transportation abilities in areas outside larger cities, an increasing number of women worldwide can choose the benefits of large-city births. As the number of hospital prenatal and natal programs equipped with genetic engineering technology increases and as the rights to medical care (medical insurance) expands to even third-world countries, this assurance spreads and grows, hopefully, exponentially. The greatest social effects would center about temporary “9-month” housing needed to house women living great distances from the large-city birth centers and who need multi-month monitoring.

 
Why then, would any woman want to take the risk of bringing upon their children-to-be a life afflicted with congenital defects? She never, ever has to risk that, technically speaking. This certainty of a healthy baby (not 100%, but very close for any woman who conceives) renders, in my opinion, the pro-life position almost absurd. Pro-lifers would suggest that a mother-too-be must “suffer the judgment of God” or something like that if her proto-baby has a congenital defect. No she doesn’t! If she cannot offer even a healthy child a good life and if the pro-lifers try to talk her into taking the proto-baby to term as they usually do (without willing to “foot the bill” until the child is 18 for a poverty-stricken mother who, say, is an addict and can’t afford to feed a child probably afflicted with the congenital defect of being born an addict), she should have the right to an abortion, right up to the time of birth and the umbilical cord is cut. (See The “A” Word — Don’t Get Angry, Calm Down, and Let Us Talk [April, 2013] and The “A” Word Revisited (Because of Gov. Rick Perry of Texas), or A Word on Bad Eggs [July, 2013]) No unwanted proto-baby, genetically defective or not, has be born. The pro-life position is rendered moot and useless, except for making mothers-to-be’s lives miserable with unnecessary doubt and guilt. Pro-life is becoming extinct, like the flat-earth movement, the creationist movement, and the intelligent design movement.

 
Of course, the mother-to-be can listen to sacred arguments that can doom her and her future child to unnecessary misery. That is part of her right to choose. She can have all the counseling from different sources besides her pediatrician she wants. But as information like the above becomes more widespread over the years and mother after mother has healthy children, taking advantage of miscarriages and abortions, the number of such women dooming them and their future child will get exponentially smaller — hopefully one day to practically zero worldwide. And also decreasing will be the number of mothers who want to be “surprised” and learn little about their proto-baby, not even the gender; for, what loving, responsible mother would risk something tragic for her child, all because she wants some serendipity in her life? How loving is it not to know all you can about your proto-baby?

 
So it is good-bye to pro-life. “Pro-choice,” by default, becomes a redundant and unnecessary wording, as child-bearing women species-wide choose the singular healthy, ever improving way to become mothers. So it is good-bye to pro-choice also.

 

 

 

Already available to couples who can afford it, is the opportunity to plan and control all the children with which they want to bless their marriage. Imagine a universal medical insurance covering all couples in future, to go along with generous features like maternal leave compensation from both the insurance and the employer. Knowing I am neither a prophet nor a prophet’s son, the following is a possible option to all couples, instead of to the elite few today who have the finances and the facilities nearby; this is not fantasy or science fiction:

 
Mr. and Mrs. X, soon after their honeymoon, set up a multi-year plan with her pediatrician that collects all the fertilized eggs (actually “eggs” up to the blastula stage, perhaps) they produce over a chosen period of years before they practice some form of contraception. The couple may choose to intersperse this period with bringing a child or two to full term under the conditions described above, or they may not. The eggs are kept frozen, but before being put in “deep freeze,” each is mapped genetically for congenital defects and for the characteristics the proto-baby will have when it becomes a baby. The couple agrees that any eggs having verified defects can be disposed of or donated to the hospital for medical research. When a number, say N of the frozen, healthy eggs is collected to the satisfaction of the couple, Mr. and Mrs. X can then start ongoing contraception.

 
The time comes when Mr. and Mrs. X want another child. If Mrs. X is on any type of female contraceptives, she ceases them. They then go to their N-long “egg list” and, with the pediatrician, select exactly the kind of child they want — the gender, the hair and eye color, etc. Each selection from the “frozen egg basket” is assured to be free from defects and “designed” by the loving parents. The selected egg is “thawed” out and inserted into Mrs. X’s uterus at the “perfect time” of a natural or induced menstrual cycle. Or, in the far future, the couple can opt to have the proto-baby grown “in vitro” to full term. This is not to mention the techniques that will be developed that will allow a mother-to-be to avoid a Cesarean if she carries the fetus inside her body (e.g. Removing the proto-baby with attached placenta prematurely through the birth canal and placing it in an artificial uterus that will bring the proto-baby to term with computer-controlled feeding of optimum nutrients). After one birth, there will be N – 1 eggs in the X’s “basket.” The cycle is repeated as often as the couple wants and only at the precise times for which the couple has prepared. If for any birth the couple wants to be “surprised,” they can give permission to the pediatrician to “randomly” select any one from the remaining eggs on the list.

 
Say Mr. and Mrs. X want in their marriage C children and they at the beginning opted to have children only from the “basket” of N frozen eggs. When the “basket” contains N – C eggs, then the couple can opt to donate the basket of eggs to childless couples, donate the basket of eggs to medical research, or request the N – C eggs be disposed of. The nuclear X family with C children exists throughout its span with the assurance of optimized health for life. The concept of “pro-life” is like a Jurassic dinosaur among concepts.

 
(Here is an interesting thought: What if Mr. and Mrs. X, before they have the C planned children, get a divorce? What is the legal and moral status of the eggs still in the frozen basket? Not only am I not a prophet, I’m not a lawyer.)

 
Two closing thoughts: 1) The above scenario has NOTHING to do with those living today with any kind of congenital defect. This is NOT some ghastly resurrection of euthanasia. Any human being who survives birth, whose umbilical cord is cut, regardless of medical condition, is fully human, with full rights and privileges. My point is restricted to saying that lack of knowledge and information has obscured the opportunity we NOW have to eliminate tragic congenital defects in all children yet to be born.

 
2) If you are an adult, and reading and considering the above makes you embarrassed, squeamish, or uncomfortable (presumably due to lack of comprehensive sex education in your home, your school, your place of worship, and/or your many social circles), let me suggest you inform yourself about the basics of mammalian sexuality and reproduction, especially that of Home sapiens. It is NOT pornography, you know. The enlightenment I suggest can began as simply as Googling.

 

RJH

 

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2 thoughts on “Good Bye to Pro-Life and Pro-Choice

  1. Jeremy Tuholski on said:

    “Of course, she has from the very beginning and each cycle the choice of NOT
    aborting, but this choice says she is bearing the financial and emotional
    responsibility of birthing and rearing a child afflicted with a congenital
    problem (Downs syndrome, etc.).”

    The above statement, I believe, is in the 4th paragraph and here are my thoughts:
    This is why the statistics are important, these types of abortions rarely occur.
    In my experiences with my liberal friends, this is their main argument for abortions.
    Yet few of them know or understand that only a few of these happen. So there is something
    of greater need to woman beside not wanting a “deformed” baby (that will be brought up later).
    Also, you use as an example of congenital problems, down syndrome. Are we really to say
    down syndrome babies are less of a person? I know many down syndrome kids, and I
    can’t imagine trying to explain to them, “Hey many women choose a abortion because
    they do not want to raise a child like yourself.” There are also down syndrome adults
    who speak out against abortion.

    Genetic engineering is a touchy topic, but I agree science has definitely come a long way
    to help provide healthy babies.

    “the decision to either abort (a very safe and routine procedure at this stage)”

    Safe!? Sure maybe for the woman. I have watched animated videos of abortions and have heard
    abortion doctors describe abortions. Sounds aweful!! Especially in a late term abortion
    where the baby can feel pain. There is nothing humane about that, nothing safe about that
    to a baby.

    “Why then, would any woman want to take the risk of bringing upon their children-to-be
    a life afflicted with congenital defects?”

    This comes from the 7th paragraph. I think this paragraph is one of the biggest
    disagreements we will have. First off again these cases are the most rare cases
    for abortion. Also, are we now going to argue about what type of child is worthy of life.
    Playing the Hitler card, isn’t this sort of what he wanted? Do down syndrome kids deserve
    life? I know you would say they do once they are born, but at what pointed is that decided.
    In my view all deserve life, but your view seems to grant one individual the say in who lives
    or dies (the woman). You say, “she should have the right to an abortion, right up to the
    time of birth and the umbilical cord is cut.” So to take that to the extreme you are saying
    a woman could give birth, and once the baby comes out and the Dr. has it in his hands
    she could say, I don’t want it anymore it is my right because it is still attached to me.
    If you don’t see the faultiness of that logic, then I am not sure we can really
    agree on anything concerning this topic. You go on to say ,”The pro-life position is
    rendered moot and useless, except for making mothers-to-be’s lives miserable
    with unnecessary doubt and guilt.” I know of people who have had an abortion
    they struggle just as much with doubt and guilt.

    “Of course, the mother-to-be can listen to sacred arguments that can doom
    her and her future child to unnecessary misery. That is part of her
    right to choose.”

    8th paragraph: Sacred arguments which ones are you talking about, the ones that say
    all life is precious? Do you really want to give that statement up? Or is all life
    precious until a woman finds out her child has down syndrome, and realizes, that
    life is not precious?

    “And also decreasing will be the number of mothers who want to be “surprised”
    and learn little about their proto-baby, not even the gender; for, what
    loving, responsible mother would risk something tragic for her child,
    all because she wants some serendipity in her life? How loving is it not
    to know all you can about your proto-baby?”

    This is just assumption and speculation.

    “Already available to couples who can afford it, is the opportunity
    to plan and control all the children with which they want to bless
    their marriage. Imagine a universal medical insurance covering all
    couples in future, to go along with generous features like maternal
    leave compensation from both the insurance and the employer.”

    10th paragraph…a couple of things here: I find it interesting you would use the word
    bless (maybe just to appeal to someone like myself)? And women can already control
    for the most part. If you can’t afford a child, don’t have sex. A woman already knows
    she can’t afford one, so why would she be so selfish to engage in an act that will
    produce another human being, at which point she will abort. Trust me I am not
    anti-sex. My wife and I have been married for 4 years, and sex has been great, but
    we also know we can’t afford a child right now so she is on the pill AND i use a condom.
    It is pretty simple actually. I use that example because statistically women are more
    likely to abort due to finances, or an inconvenience in their life, rather than a health
    issue.

    About Universal medical insurance…meeehhh….I say hat because no system has provided
    the best.

    Concerning your scenario: I am not sure what this has to do with abortion in the now.
    Can people do what your scenario suggest…I will take your word for it, sure. However,
    this is not what we are discussing, we are discussing the average person who gets an abortion.
    Is this the way we will decide to go fully? Maybe? Some might? Some may not?

    Concluding thoughts:
    I have not read your other articles, but with just this article in mind here is what I
    struggle with. I understand what you are saying about “Goodbye Pro-Life and Pro-Choice”
    you justify that saying because of the last scenario about genetic modification. Sure,
    I could possibly agree to an extent, although I am not sure how the religious will
    feel about genetically modifying. My assumption is some will like it, and some won’t.
    So that conversation I think needs to be had, and you are right many, including myself,
    may not know all the scientific and medical possibilities and realities that exist now.

    However, with that said,I still do not agree with your stance on our present situation
    with abortion. We have two differing views. You highly prize the woman’s right to determine
    what happens to “things” that are apart of her body. You also seem to be saying, that
    life is not determined within the womb, or if it is, a woman’s choice to abort a child
    does not consist or murder because either it is not a life, or because the child is still
    attached to the mother which justifies her choice. And I am sorry I just fundamentally
    disagree. I believe at conception there is a human, and that no one has a right to determine
    what innocent life is worthy of life or not. Once we can decide that (apart from the genetically
    modification scenario) then we make people’s lives who may already exist seem to not be
    precious or worth living (the down syndrome example, sure one may say alive it is worth living,
    but try telling an adult down syndrome person that many people think a child with that
    should be aborted.) So I would prize life over choice, here is why:

    Because women have a choice has I mentioned before. Everyone knows that sex may lead to a child. So one can use
    the options one has to prevent a child knowing they are not absolutes thus may have a child and will have to live
    with those outcomes. In my mind it is called responsibility. We are not just animals that run around and
    hump everything in sight. We have a will, we can rationalize, we can be responsible with our decisions.
    Again, take my example of my wife and I. We are not ready to have kids, but we love sex and we do all we can to prevent a pregnancy.
    Yet we also, know we could still have a child, and although we may not think we could support, a child. I can guarantee you
    we would find a way. Many parents find a way. And trust me, we do not make a lot of money. But if we truly felt that
    having a child would burden us to the point of not being able to take care of it, then
    we would have to find other ways of expressing our sexual desires, and there are PLENTY, that does not
    have to include intercourse. To me that is being an adult, or being responsible, and we have this approach
    because we value life and believe at conception life has begun.

    Since about 90% of abortions are due to financial burden or an inconvenience, then unfortunately I have to say
    tough luck. Grow up- work as hard as you can to provide the best life for your child. You where the one that engaged in an act that often leads to
    the outcome you know face. So face that outcome. If you didn’t want that outcome you should have made a different choice.

    So for me a woman’s choice comes before getting pregnant, because pregnancy is often an outcome of intercourse. We
    all know that, and we have all heard stories of people using protection and still getting pregnant. So you have the personal
    choice to decide what you are or are not capable of. So if you have intercourse you should be prepared
    to have a baby as well.

    Now concerning about 8% of pregnancies due to rape, or incest. I would compromise, let those abortions be legal, but there must
    be a due process.

    Wow!! I was not expecting that to be so lengthy :) I hope you can understand my position. I know you may have a very good rebuttal,
    but I doubt either one of us could change the other’s mind. Yet these conversations are still beneficial.

  2. Thanks for your well written and thought-out comment. I get the feeling you are in a debate, which is what this, and all my blogged posts, are not. I do not see this as our vainly trying to convert the other to our side, or even rebutting back and forth. Rather, this is a position I’ve developed to which I’m trying to get responses, such as yours.

    I think I’ve addressed some of your points in the other two posts. Let me say I think your concern over what do you say to a child with a syndrome is moot. My suggested definition of murder means that if a proto-baby becomes a baby by being brought to term, with a genetic deformity or not, that new baby has full rights in accordance to the baby’s age, like all of us when we were born. To answer why a child with a syndrome was brought to term is like asking “What if I was aborted?” or “What if you were aborted?” You are saying nothing, as if those abortions had been performed, things would have turned out different, we would have never known, and our correspondence here in the present would never had occurred. I’m glad I wasn’t aborted, aren’t you? All full-termed humans (pre-mature, on time, or late) are entitled to a full set of child’s rights, because they are beyond the moment of the cutting of the umbilical cord. Not so before the cut. This is compromise definition of murder that neither pro-choice or pro-life are all going to like, but it is one I’m suggesting both sides can live with without killing each other over.

    Perhaps I did not make it clear in this third blog, but I think I did in the first two that those who choose late-term abortion for whatever reason would be few in number. On this we agree. Why would there be few? Because I believe in motherhood — the product of millions of years of mammalian evolution. Mothers were sacrificing themselves for their offspring when they could way before there were gods and religions.

    What you and your wife decide about your reproductive lives is your business. If in future couples choose not to know if the proto-baby has a defect or not, they can sign a waiver and thereby bear the responsibility and cost of raising and caring for the newborn. Another couple that finds their proto-baby does without doubt have a defect has the right, in my view, to abort, if their medical advice gives high probability the defect cannot be “fixed” by genetic engineering. Neither couple has the right to think their way should be the way of other couples; if my wife and I see a couple choosing in reproduction something we would never choose ourselves, we try not to judge, even if the other couple is made of close friends or relatives. All couples must live with their decision, no matter what it is; decisions to abort or not abort cannot be undone. The abortion decision is a life long one.

    Nonetheless, I found a lot of overlap with what you and your wife decide over reproduction and what my wife and I decide. That, I say, is a happy coincidence. We have more in common than we at first might think. You may not agree with my suggestions concerning genetic medicine and the definition of murder, but on what we do agree, I feel optimistic that others that read my suggestions and positions possibly might seriously think that there very well may be a way to avoid conflict and in future not have to use the combative terms of pro-life and pro-choice.

    RJH

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