We have all been reminded about the terrible things our ancestors – essentially like us – have done in history. The obvious example is the economic benefit we earned through the slave trade. We can immediately recognise its wickedness today. And we have to realise that many of us would have at least accepted it had we lived at that time. But before we rush out to destroy the statues of public figures who took part, we need to ask ourselves whether there are any accepted public activities today which, on examination, are clearly evil.
I hardly dare to mention the question of abortion. It seems extraordinary to me that our society accepts that children in the womb can be destroyed at the wish of the mother. Don’t bother to rush to your computer with your arguments — I have read them all. A case might be made for a situation where the mother is in danger of death and that that would necessarily also lead to the death of the unborn child. Otherwise, we are simply talking about murder. You can pass any law you like — it remains murder.
But another issue has come into the question. That is the possibility of removing the baby from the womb at an early stage and to put him or her into an artificial womb (called a biobag) in which it can receive all that it needs until it is ready to be ‘born’.
If I were a baby, I would certainly prefer to be put into a biobag rather than to be left to expire. But the whole concept might well lead to major changes in society. Without doubt, women’s careers are disadvantaged by the process of pregnancy: the biobag leads to real equality between men and women. Perhaps twenty years from now the requirement of pregnancy as a nine month’s condition will effectively have disappeared.
What will be the effects of that? I assume that maternal instincts will not develop in the same way. Maternal milk, and the psychological element of breastfeeding, will no longer occur. A mother wishing to have more children could arrange to have them all over a shorter period of time – perhaps in the same year. The shared duties of husband and wife will affect their relationship in a fundamental way – will this be good or bad?
A somewhat different effect may occur in the freedom of abortion as it occurs nowadays. The current claim that a woman may choose abortion because she is entitled to decide what happens to her own body looks even thinner when the baby can continue to grow outside her body. We may assume that the NHS will pick up the costs since it is a human being in need of medical care. But, following Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World (1930s), the State will take over these new citizens, bringing them up in its own standards for ideal citizens.
What do you think?
See Sex Robots & Vegan Meat by Jenny Kleeman. Picador. Listen to Woman’s Hour 1st August 2020