The need for human wombs to carry offspring may one day become obsolete.

2016 saw the cultivation of human embryos in Cambridge, England, for up to 13 days after fertilization. Ectogenesis is the process of human or animal gestation in an artificial setting. The following year, experts at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia revealed that they had created the Biobag, a straightforward artificial uterus.

At about 22 weeks gestation, lamb fetuses that were similar to human fetuses in size and development were effectively carried to term by the Biobag. Then, in August 2022, scientists at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel developed the first artificial embryos using stem cells from rodents. Researchers at the University of Cambridge developed a synthetic embryo with a brain and a pumping heart in the same month by using stem cells.

Ectogenesis may change the nature of reproductive work and lessen the dangers of fertility. It might make it possible for those who have wombs to procreate just as easily as cisgender males do, without putting their physical wellbeing, financial security, or bodily autonomy at risk. Ectogenesis could provide an equal starting point for people of all sexes and genders by eliminating natural gestation from the childbearing process, especially for queer people who want to have children without having to depend on the ethically dubious surrogacy option.

Ectogenesis could lead to a more prosperous and equitable society if it were made safe and effective rather than privatized, which runs the risk of further entrenching social and economic inequalities. Ectogenesis could significantly weaken abortion laws around the globe and jeopardize the hard-won right of women and those with wombs to access safe and legal abortions.

The moral standing of the fetus, women’s bodily autonomy, and the viability of the fetus are the three debates that dominate current philosophical literature and laws on abortion. Ectogenesis makes all fetuses viable, so the advancement of the science will have an effect on all three of these discussions.

Anti-abortion supporters frequently assert that a fetus is human at the time of conception and that it is morally wrong to murder an unborn child through abortion. Contrarily, pro-choice opponents of abortion rights place an emphasis on bodily autonomy and make use of justifications like those offered by philosopher Judith Thomson in her hugely influential article A Defense of Abortion from 1971.

Thomson contends that even if a fetus is a person at the time of conception, a woman’s right to bodily autonomy—her control over what may happen in and to her body—means that removing the fetus from her body is ethically acceptable. Instead of being the woman’s goal, terminating the pregnancy results in the death of the fetus. This indicates that abortion is less a deliberate slaughter than it is a woman acting in self-defense.

In the meantime, abortion legislation in many nations uses fetal “viability”—a fetus’s capacity to survive outside the womb, including when assisted by medical devices—as a gauge of the moral acceptability of abortion in an effort to strike a balance between women’s bodily autonomy and the fetus’s moral status. In many jurisdictions where abortion is legal, the fetus’s right to life, once it becomes viable, supersedes the mother’s bodily liberty. The earliest developmental stage from which a fetus can survive with the aid of medical devices is 24 weeks, and as a result, British legislation prohibits abortion before this time.

The fetus would become viable at a very early stage, potentially even from conception, if ectogenesis was successful. Depending on how the fetus is removed, it may be possible to transfer an unwanted fetus into an artificial womb to continue developing without endangering a woman’s bodily autonomy if ectogenesis—even partial ectogenesis—becomes accessible. Women would be able to end their pregnancies in this manner without having a traditional abortion. If a woman chooses a traditional abortion despite having this choice, the procedure will be seen as more of an intentional killing.

As a consequence, abortion in the ectogenesis era runs the risk of becoming less morally and socially acceptable than it is now if abortion jurisprudence continues to use fetal viability as its primary criterion for whether it should be legal.

Once ectogenesis is available, there is a genuine possibility that legislation in the future, particularly in conservative communities, states, and nations, will outright ban abortion. Even though ectogenesis would make it feasible to prevent pregnancy without killing the fetus, such a result isn’t always favorable from a feminist perspective. In actuality, some women who choose abortion do so in order to escape becoming biological mothers as well as to end the pregnancy and preserve their bodily autonomy. Therefore, using ectogenesis as a substitute for a conventional abortion could violate her right to privacy regarding her reproductive organs since it would still force her to become a biological mother against her will.

Another situation is where a woman wants to have an abortion but her partner wants her to wait. Without the bodily autonomy defense, the viability and alleged right to development of the fetus, along with the partner’s desires, could lead to a situation where women feel under pressure to move the fetus to an artificial womb.

As Ectogensis advances, advocates and lawmakers will need to address the issue of when a woman should be justified in choosing a traditional abortion when another option is available that ensures both the termination of the pregnancy and the fetus’s continued chance at life. When should a woman’s wish to avoid becoming a biological mother take precedence over a fetus’s alleged right to life?

In order to answer this, it is helpful to take into account why some women might be reluctant to have children biologically, even though they wouldn’t have to worry about raising a child who could be adopted after being transferred and completely developed in an artificial uterus. Social pressures and beliefs about biological parenting would probably contribute to some hesitancy.

A biological mother may still feel a sense of duty toward the child or guilt toward herself for not embodying the selfless qualities frequently idealized and associated with motherhood, even if a legal system has released her from legal obligations toward her biological child. The biological mother may suffer psychological harm from having to deal with these feelings, and she may also run the risk of societal stigma.

Granted, the issue of whether the wish to prevent potential societal stigma or psychological distress is strong enough to outweigh a fetus’s alleged right to life still needs to be resolved. Considering the severity of the social stigma and the fetus’ developmental stage, we think this issue is extremely debatable. Nevertheless, if societal pressures and stigma are sufficient to cause a woman who uses ectogenesis to suffer, her decision to forgo becoming a mother should be honored, particularly during the earliest stages of a fetus’ development.

Ectogenesis-related legislation must also respect women’s sovereignty over their bodies by allowing them to choose which procedures they want done to their bodies. Although the exact form of the fetus transfer to an artificial uterus operation is unknown, it is almost certain that it will be invasive and akin to a cesarean section, at least for later-stage pregnancies. On the basis of bodily autonomy, women should have the option to refuse ectogenetic surgery; otherwise, as noted by Canadian philosopher Christine Overall, a forced transfer procedure would be analogous to purposefully stealing human organs, which is profoundly unethical.

Ectogenesis complicates the morality of abortion, and coercing women into ectogenetic surgery violates both their bodily and reproductive rights. In a world where ectogenesis occurs, permitting early abortion might be a sensible solution that lessens complications and safeguards women’s rights. However, abortion must continue to be a choice even after ectogenesis becomes a reality in order to protect women’s reproductive rights.

Future laws must ensure that ectogenesis is a voluntary process and not a new method of coercion. Instead of focusing on fetus viability, the legislation will need to be updated to reflect the importance of reproductive autonomy and the right not to become a biological parent against one’s will. How much people and societies value women’s right to choose will become more clear than ever as this legal debate attracts the focus of politicians, legislators, community leaders, and the general public.

There are probably many fans out there who will be reminded of Bruce Willis by the prospect of the Thor actor retiring due to worries about Alzheimer’s condition. The adored Die Hard icon abruptly ended his acting career after receiving an aphasia diagnosis, which was followed by a frontotemporal dementia diagnosis. The general public observed as his loved ones, including his former wife Demi Moore, stood by him. Although this situation is very different from the one featuring Hemsworth, it demonstrates how quickly things can change in the wake of medical news.

Extraction 2 starring Chris Hemsworth, which just got a new teaser, will be available on Netflix on June 16. Check out the 2023 release dates for movies to start making plans for your next cinematic outing.

Future laws must ensure that ectogenesis is a voluntary process and not a new method of coercion. Instead of focusing on fetus viability, the legislation will need to be updated to reflect the importance of reproductive autonomy and the right not to become a biological parent against one’s will. How much people and societies value women’s right to choose will become more clear than ever as this legal debate attracts the focus of politicians, legislators, community leaders, and the general public.


Download The Radiant App To Start Watching!

Web: Watch Now

LGTV™: Download

ROKU™: Download

XBox™: Download

Samsung TV™: Download

Amazon Fire TV™: Download

Android TV™: Download