International Journal of Applied Philosophy

Volume 22, Issue 2, Fall 2008

Patrick D. Hopkins
Pages 311-326

Can Technology Fix the Abortion Problem?
Ectogenesis and the Real Issues of Abortion

The abortion controversy as a cultural phenomenon is itself socially troublesome. However, current biotechnology research programs point to a possible technological fix. If we could harmlessly remove fetuses from women’s bodies and transfer them to other women, cryonic suspension, or ectogenetic devices, this might mitigate the controversy. Pro-lifers’ apparent minimal requirement would be met—fetuses would not be killed. Pro-choicers’ apparent minimal requirement would be met—women could end pregnancies and control their bodies. This option has been optimistically anticipated by some ethicists, but some people reject this fix because they are averse to being genetically related to a child they are not raising, insisting on the right to destroy the fetus as well as have it removed. In this paper I examine these issues, asking what the real issues in abortion rights are, whether technology can help, what the scope of reproductive autonomy is, and how technology will change the abortion debate.