Bioethicist Fears Saving Babies’ Lives Could Make People Oppose Abortion

Amber Randall | Civil Rights Reporter

A medical professional is worried an artificial womb designed to help premature babies survive could instead hinder support for abortions, NPR reported Tuesday.

Dena Davis, a bioethicist at Lehigh University, is worried the new scientific advancement could ruin “abortion politics” because it would bring an added complication to the debate, NPR reported.

“Up to now, we’ve been either born or not born. This would be halfway born, or something like that. Think about that in terms of our abortion politics,” Davis said.

Davis also questioned whether keeping a baby alive with potential medical problems was worth it, considering almost 90 percent of premature babies that survive suffer with medical issues. Davis implied it wasn’t worth saving the child, assuming many parents would agree with her.

“If it’s a question of a baby dying versus a baby being born who then needs to live its entire life in an institution, then I don’t think that’s better. Some parents might think that’s better, but many would not,” Davis went on.

So far, the researchers have been able to keep premature lambs alive for about four weeks. They one day hope to recreate the womb specifically for premature babies.

Alan Flake, fetal surgeon at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and lead of the study, said they have no intention of improving the lifespan of fetuses before 23 weeks, hinting that doing so could cause trouble.

“I want to make this very clear: We have no intention and we’ve never had any intention with this technology of extending the limits of viability further back,” Flake told NPR. “I think when you do that you open a whole new can of worms.

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