Dystopian techno fetus farms? Professor says technology could end abortion debate

Future technology could allow states to set up “fetal rescue programs” and eliminate legal abortion, according to a recently published article by a law professor.

Stephen Giles, who teaches at the Quinnipiac University School of Law, argues that technology might someday advance to allow the development of fetuses in artificial environments outside the womb.


This, Giles argues, would eliminate the need for legal protections for abortions because zygotes, embryos, and fetuses could be extracted and transferred to an artificial womb where it could gestate to term, reported RH Reality Check.

“Is the right to an elective abortion limited to terminating the woman’s pregnancy, or does it also include the right to ensure the death of the fetus?” Giles asks.

He says that existing technology limited reproductive choices because there was no way to terminate most pregnancies without causing the death of a fetus.

“In practice, elective abortion inevitably results in fetal death,” Giles writes. “For that very reason, the woman has no choice in the matter: Should she elect to terminate her pregnancy, the fetus will die even if she wants it to survive.”


He says states might set up fetal rescue centers, once technology allows for them, so women would be able to terminate their pregnancies without killing the fetus or suffering social stigma from giving up a child for adoption.

“If under these circumstances the state prohibits fetus-killing abortions and requires that surviving fetuses be transferred to the state for attempted rescue in an artificial womb, it will not be possible reasonably to conclude that the woman’s interest in a fetus-killing abortion outweighs the state’s interest in the life of the pre-viable fetus,” Giles argues.

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Under the plan Giles suggests, women would not be able to terminate a pregnancy without turning over the embryo, zygote, or fetus to gestate in an artificial womb and relinquishing her parental rights.

His suggestion doesn’t address the parental rights of spouses, partners, or other family members.

Giles predicts states might mandate and operate fetal rescue centers, but he didn’t specify how those would be implemented or funded.

He also fails to outline what might happen to these children once they are born.

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