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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Right to abortion = right to sex selective abortion (Page 1)

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Author Topic: Right to abortion = right to sex selective abortion
Sa'eed
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Ross Douthat column

This isn't a problem in the West but surely those developing countries in which sex selective abortion is common all will have major problems down the road as many marriageable men won't be able to find wives, leading to social instability.

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Jeff C.
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I've heard of this, but it's a foreign thing so I can't really say much about it. Still, if you allow abortion, then you have to allow selective abortion. There is literally no difference as the law currently stands, so you'd have a hard time making one legal and not the other. Even if you did, people would just say they were doing it for another reason.

It's a bad reason to get an abortion, but I've seen worse.

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Mucus
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I previously came across an interview with the author of the actual book here
http://shanghaiscrap.com/?p=6595

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Stone_Wolf_
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I was raised prolife, but changed my view to "lesser evil" (i.e. it's not right to force women to have a baby against their will) but this is the kind of thing that makes me cringe. I think Jeff is right, there is no way to use the law to try and stop it, but it is something that should be stopped, as it is wrong and disgusting.
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0Megabyte
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I'll jump on the bandwagon: bad reason to have an abortion, but it's hard to ban it for the reasons stated above. And, it's also wrong to force a woman to carry a baby she doesn't want. Period. As unpleasant as the end result is.
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AchillesHeel
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I am prochoice and always have been, but that doesnt prevent me from regreting the loss of life. Stonewolf hit the nail on the head on this one.

I would like to point out that there are also western first world countries where deformity abortions are common as well. There was a bit of a hubbub over the needless abortions of babies with clubfeet in the U.K. Some of you may remember me talking about my own clubfoot some time ago, the idea of a healthy wanted baby being aborted because they are like me is.... antagonistic.

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Kwea
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I agree with SW on this one too. I remember being prolife, and still think my reasons for being prolife were valid, but eventually came to understand that forcing a women to carry a child isn't right either.

But it is things like this that worried me, and why it took so long for me to change sides on the abortion debate.

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Stone_Wolf_
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My brother in law was born with two club feet...and while I often wish him dead (for being a pathetic looser assbag, who has never seen his niece and only ever seen his nephew twice) that is a baaaaad reason to abort a fetus. That being said, there are some serious, quality of life size deformities for which I don't hold that sentiment.

AH...if you don't mind me asking, is your name a homage to your clubfoot?

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BlackBlade
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I can't say I am entirely against the Chinese practice of not permitting ultrasound technicians to reveal the sex of the fetus to parents for this very reason.

There are rogue technicians who perform street ultrasounds so that people can get around that, but those operations are prosecuted. It's pretty much accepted that one of the results of this policy is that in rural areas girls are born and then murdered by the parents, who then try for a boy again.

I'm not OK with gender being a reason for getting an abortion. I don't think we can force people to have children. This is a mess, and my gut response is that just letting it happen is not the correct response.

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Emreecheek
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Weird. A friend of mine recently brought this up.

I'm still as confused as I was.

An interesting point, though, was whether or not we would react the same way if people were able to ascertain the sexuality of their baby and abort the gay ones. I had a much more visceral reaction to that scenerio, but couldn't find a moral justification unique to it that didn't extend to sex/gender selection.

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Raymond Arnold
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I think the problem is the blatant sexism, and that sexism would be a problem regardless of the availability of abortions. Blackblade notes that in many cases the girls are actually born and then killed (this certainly has been the case historically, I dunno how common it is now). I don't know that it's fair to say abortion is making the problem *worse*.
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AchillesHeel
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quote:
Originally posted by Stone_Wolf_:
AH...if you don't mind me asking, is your name a homage to your clubfoot?

It is and it isnt, depending on how you read it. My right foot is deformed whereas the Achilles of myth was held by his left ankle when dipped in the river styx, so I always found the comparison slightly improper. My personal reason for the name comes from Achilles of the Bean books, OSC even writes that his bad leg could have been a club foot gone wrong and the early physical description of the character eerily resembles myself. Plus I think the pronunciation is funny "Ahsheels Heel" but maybe thats just me.

Ive only ever known one other person with a club foot and despite knowing eachother for years it was always quite formal and uninteresting. But now that I can analyze much of life with the consideration of just how much pain and inability has been apart of my every action every single day makes me want to try and dissect some of this with another sufferer.

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kmbboots
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Does the Achilles in the book pronounce it differently than usual? Usually, Achilles is pronounced Ah-kill-hees.
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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by Raymond Arnold:
Blackblade notes that in many cases the girls are actually born and then killed (this certainly has been the case historically, I dunno how common it is now).

I haven't decided on an opinion.

But its worth noting that is part of the book's argument actually, that infanticide was never as widespread as sex selective abortion (and that wealthy families with access to it are more efficient at skewing the sex ratio because they substitute "girl boy" for "girl girl girl girl boy" which would be more common with poorer familes).
quote:
But portraying sex selective abortion as an updated form of infanticide disregards the fact that abortion is far more common than infanticide has ever been. (Indeed, several countries where sex selective abortion occurs have no history of female infanticide.) It ignores the fact that no one wants the job of jamming rice chaff down a baby girl's throat, or feeding her the juice of poisonous weeds, or slipping her a liberal dose of sleeping pills—that Indians, like many people around the world, logically see abortion as cleaner and less ethically fraught than baby killing.
On a different note, she also mentions, not particularly enthusiastically, that sex ratios in South Korea actually peaked around 200 before coming back down (and a quick check shows that Hong Kong demonstrates a lower ratio with the mainland as well).
So I have to wonder if the problem will eventually solve itself anyway (although the near future will definitely be no tea party).

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0Megabyte
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Yes. It's pronounced as AH mentions in his post. I believe it was mentioned in the book somewhere... but I don't remember where.

Still, that doesn't stop me from pronouncing it wrong. I mean, I still pronounce Cicero with "s" sounds instead of "k" sounds, too, for example. Even though I know it's wrong. It's just easier and flows better for me.

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kmbboots
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I am not saying he is wrong - just curious as to the reason.
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Stone_Wolf_
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quote:
Originally posted by Emreecheek:
Weird. A friend of mine recently brought this up.

I'm still as confused as I was.

An interesting point, though, was whether or not we would react the same way if people were able to ascertain the sexuality of their baby and abort the gay ones. I had a much more visceral reaction to that scenario, but couldn't find a moral justification unique to it that didn't extend to sex/gender selection.

I wonder, what was your visceral reaction?

Personally I think it is just as wrong to abort a homosexual fetus as it is to abort a female fetus. I know that a lot of religious people view homosexuality as a sin and perversion, but to me, the true sin is trying to define yourself by other people's standards and not trying to find your true happiness, no matter how it manifests (beyond true psychopaths who enjoy causing pain in others).

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Stone_Wolf_
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AH...fascinating...thanks for sharing.
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Sean Monahan
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quote:
Originally posted by 0Megabyte:
Yes. It's pronounced as AH mentions in his post. I believe it was mentioned in the book somewhere... but I don't remember where.

If I remember correctly, it came from Sister Carlotta telling Graff that she knew he was reading Bean's mail, because he pronounced Achilles wrong.
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mr_porteiro_head
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Yup.

quote:
"Achilles," he said.

"Man with a bad heel," she said. "Killed Hector and dragged his body around the gates of Troy. Also had a thing for a captive girl named Briseis."

"You know that's not the context."

"I know more than that. I know you must have got the name from something Bean wrote, because the name is not pronounced uh-KILL-eez, it's pronounced ah-SHEEL. French."


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kmbboots
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French. Cool.
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AchillesHeel
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The nun at the food bank gave him that name, in referance to his bad leg ofcourse, but seeing as the city had so many differant languages and nationalities she was French and called him Ahsheel. I think she also named Ulysses (the bully Achilles almost killed) as well.
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Frisco
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quote:
And, it's also wrong to force a woman to carry a baby she doesn't want. Period.
40 years of fierce debate argues against your "Period." [Razz]

The other side of the debate could just as easily say, "If a man/woman does not want a child, then do not create one. Period." Or, "It's never right to end a human life because it's inconvenient. Period."

That said, I don't find sex selective abortion any less moral than abortion in general. On the other hand, I'd personally prefer more women around then men...such a dilemma.

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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by 0Megabyte:
I still pronounce Cicero with "s" sounds instead of "k" sounds, too, for example. Even though I know it's wrong.

Preferring Vulgar Latin to Classical Latin is not "wrong". Or do you also say weni widi wiki?
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Stone_Wolf_
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Frisco, I'm sure 0Megabyte was speaking their opinion, which can be stated with authority. As to...
quote:
"If a man/woman does not want a child, then do not create one. Period."
...tell that to a rape victim.

So you seriously feel there is no moral difference between someone who feels they honestly can not raise a child well (say a single teenage mother) and a married couple who get the ultrasound back and find a vulva instead of a penis and decide to kill their own potential child and then immediately try to get pregnant again in hopes of an outy and not an inny?

You do know you have to be at least in your second trimester to even tell right?

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Samprimary
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The Douthat article looks like a stretch of an attempt to create a utilitarian argument to revoke the right to have an abortion from women. Won't work — overpopulation could be used on the same lines to undo the utilitarian argument, the 'social instability' referenced is extremely light in comparison, and you can skip right over the issue and talk about how the problem isn't going to be solved by anti-abortionists, it'll be solved by feminists. Parity between the sexes in a culture and the removal of outmoded patriarchal and family income models gets rid of the issue handily.
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DDDaysh
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SW - I actually don't see any moral difference between the knocked up teenager and the parents who want a boy. They're both killing their babies. Morally, I find abortion in all but the rarest incidents, equivalent to murder.

However, I'm still pro-choice because while you may be able to make abortion illegal, you can't stop it all together without horrific social extremes that I highly doubt society will ever permit (as in, locking up every female). You also can't actually make a woman take care of the fetus. You might be able to stop her from murdering it, but not from seriously maiming it for life. And, when it comes right down to it, I'm not always sure which is worse, so I'd just as soon let the mother have the sin on her head as choose for her.

And then there are those few where the mother might die or where the baby has 0 chance of surviving off of machines and I think it would be cruel to make those mothers carry to term just to watch their baby die in front of them.

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Emreecheek
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quote:
Originally posted by Stone_Wolf_:
quote:
Originally posted by Emreecheek:
Weird. A friend of mine recently brought this up.

I'm still as confused as I was.

An interesting point, though, was whether or not we would react the same way if people were able to ascertain the sexuality of their baby and abort the gay ones. I had a much more visceral reaction to that scenario, but couldn't find a moral justification unique to it that didn't extend to sex/gender selection.

I wonder, what was your visceral reaction?

I'm gay. Tis a shallow reason, but that's why. It hit a lot closer to home in that scenario. Not a real reason. [Smile]
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by AchillesHeel:
The nun at the food bank gave him that name, in referance to his bad leg ofcourse, but seeing as the city had so many differant languages and nationalities she was French and called him Ahsheel. I think she also named Ulysses (the bully Achilles almost killed) as well.

It wasn't that she was French- she was German. The boy himself was a Francophone Belgian.
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KirKis
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I am pro-choice but I have a few problems with this.

I am a Gaianist. I believe that purposefully changing the ratios of boy/girl on this earth will eventually lead to negative effects. Sure people might say "well just this one time" but it will add up. If everyone wants a boy and ditches the girls... Well you can finish that sentence yourself.

I'm also for men having rights in regards to having babies. What I mean by this is if a man and a woman decide to have a baby, and after getting pregnant the mother wants to abort, then the man should have some right to keep the baby.

The mother having the only decision that matters feels wrong to me. If the man decides to abort and the woman keeps it... so why not the other way around?

Having a baby takes two. Aborting a baby should take two. If one wants to keep it let him/her.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
If everyone wants a boy and ditches the girls... Well you can finish that sentence yourself.
I don't see how you can call yourself a "Gaianist" and not consider this a self-correcting problem.
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The Rabbit
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quote:
The mother having the only decision that matters feels wrong to me. If the man decides to abort and the woman keeps it... so why not the other way around?
When we develop the technology that will let the man gestate the baby, that will make sense. Until then, a man should not have the right to force a woman to carry his baby in her uterus.
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Bella Bee
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quote:
Originally posted by KirKis:


Having a baby takes two. Aborting a baby should take two. If one wants to keep it let him/her.

I agree with Rabbit on this one. Creating a baby takes two. Perhaps raising a baby can take two, if that's how it works out. But having a baby only takes one person, unfortunately, and it can be a potentially life-threatening situation with serious costs to health and well-being.

So unfortunately the person who doesn't have the baby growing inside them and the person who doesn't have to give birth to it, doesn't and shouldn't get complete control over what happens to the foetus.

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scholarette
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Women don't get the right to abort because they don't want the responsibility of a baby. They get it because pregnancy involves a parasite living in their body for 9 months. It is her life at risk, so her choice. If artificial wombs existed, this discussion would be very different.
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Stone_Wolf_
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DDD: I struggled with this idea, that killing is killing and our babies are worthy of protection, that being said, we morally delineate between all types of killings, from blameless self defense to premeditated murder. Life has a value, but so does quality of life, and the value of life is not "priceless". The value of life needs to be weighed against what would be given up.

If a pregnancy puts the mother's life in serious jeopardy, then the decision to abort seems easy, as the mother's life is a fully devolved life vs the potential life of the fetus.

When it comes to the single knocked up teen, the comparison is not as simple: the pregnancy will drastically change the mother's life, and possibly permanently hamper her ability to secure education which certainly can affect her ability to make a living and support that child. In most cases she will not have the life skills or the maturity to deal with a baby, let alone by herself.

The same comparison is made when the fetus is deformed. Is the cost of this potential life valuable enough when weighed against the quality of life that child will have (we already discussed club feet).

When the other side of the scale is "I want a son and not a daughter" then for me the morality scale stops reading "lessor evil" or "unfortunate but worth it" to "big ol' honkin' evil".

Emreecheek: Am I understanding you right that you are saying that you are very against aborting gay fetuses, but not as much for female ones, although you acknowledge that there is no moral distinction, just that the former is closer to where you live? I'm not sure I understand you.

KirKis: I'm with Rabbit, Bella and scholarette on this one. Give me a new technology which allows the fetus to be grown independent of the mother's body and then I'll agree. Until then, a man shouldn't be able to force a woman to have a baby. What if it was a married couple, and the wife has threatened to leave, so the husband sabotages the birth control to get her pregnant and then forces her to have the child as a way to control her?

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KirKis
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@TomDavidson - Yes I am a Gaianist. I believe that when we die our energy returns to the planet to come out in some other form be it tree, animal, human, etc. If all humans decide to kill off all female babies and only produce males then the human species will (eventually) die out and so another species on earth will have to produce enough to house all of the former human energies. Our species will starve.

@Rabbit, Bella, Scholarette, Stone - I'm not too familiar with the up-to-date technology however I would guess that there would be something that would allow doctors to take the fertilized egg from the mother and put it somewhere else so that it can still live. Sure it might cost more money but what i'm trying to say is that men should also have rights to their baby.

The two parties involved decided to create a baby. If both of them want to abort then fine. If one of them wants to abort then steps should be available so that the one that wants the baby can keep it.

It seems as if I made it seem like I wanted the mother to be forced to carry full term? If that is so, that is not what I meant. How can I be pro-choice if I am forcing this decision on someone? There are other ways to go about this. Let us think outside the box so that everyone can be happy.

Otherwise lets just burn me at the stake for thinking that a man should be able to keep his unborn child when the mother does not.

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The Rabbit
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quote:
@Rabbit, Bella, Scholarette, Stone - I'm not too familiar with the up-to-date technology however I would guess that there would be something that would allow doctors to take the fertilized egg from the mother and put it somewhere else so that it can still live. Sure it might cost more money but what i'm trying to say is that men should also have rights to their baby.
You are wrong. I know of no cases where an embryo that has implanted in the uterus (which happens with in the first few days after fertilization) has been successfully transferred to another host. This is not a technology that is currently available at any cost. If it were, it would completely change the abortion debate.
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KirKis
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http://articles.nydailynews.com/2003-10-15/news/18246302_1_egg-new-technique-fertilized

"Then they scooped the tiny pre-embryos out of their shells and placed them into another woman's."

I would think something along those lines?

@Rabbit - And besides, when you say that "You are wrong." you mean that you are 100% sure that there is No-possible-way that I could be right?

Your next line says you "know of no cases". Which means there could be a case out there that you don't know. This does not make me wrong.

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SenojRetep
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quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
I know of no cases where an embryo that has implanted in the uterus (which happens with in the first few days after fertilization) has been successfully transferred to another host. This is not a technology that is currently available at any cost. If it were, it would completely change the abortion debate.

Why would it necessarily change the debate? What if the transfer procedure were as dangerous as childbirth? Wouldn't that still justify retaining abortion as a safe alternative for ending a pregnancy?
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The Rabbit
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quote:
Your next line says you "know of no cases". Which means there could be a case out there that you don't know. This does not make me wrong.
This would be a very major medical advance. When it happens, its going to make front page news. Chances that it exists and I haven't heard about it are close enough to zero to ignore.
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KirKis
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I think what Rabbit meant was that it would change the sides of a lot of people. Knowing that there would be a way for a man to keep his baby if he wants would bring a lot of support for men everywhere.

Sure the procedure could be dangerous. Specially because its a new idea. I am sure that one day there will be a safe method of doing this. We can still at least talk about it, right?

@Rabbit - You could have not heard about it because right now the technology is considered to be similiar to cloning. Or at least it is close enough to warrent it being buried news.

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The Rabbit
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quote:
"Then they scooped the tiny pre-embryos out of their shells and placed them into another woman's."

I would think something along those lines?

I don't know how much biology you know, but this is not at all along the lines of what you are talking about. In this study, the egg was fertilized in-vitro (a test tube baby). After fertilization, the genetic material was transferred to another egg to make a viable zygote. The zygote was then allowed to divide for several days and transferred to a uterus where, if it implanted and became an embryo.

This isn't that much different than the common in-vitro fertilization. We've had technology for decades that has allowed a zygote formed in vitro from one mother's egg to be implanted into another woman's uterus.

This has absolutely no relevance however to abortion. A woman isn't pregnant until the zygote implants in her uterus, so every abortion takes place after implantation. Once an embryo has implanted in one woman's uterus, it can't be moved to another woman. We don't have that technology and it is not even closely related to the technology you referenced.

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The Rabbit
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quote:
@Rabbit - You could have not heard about it because right now the technology is considered to be similiar to cloning. Or at least it is close enough to warrent it being buried news.
No. I had heard about it. It isn't what you think it is.
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CT
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quote:
Originally posted by KirKis:
I would think something along those lines?

The technology isn't there yet, not even for non-human species. But progress is being made in testing an artificial uterus for goat embryos, as well as one for mice. You might like to keep an eye on the Wikipedia page for Artificial Uterus. It has links to the goat and mouse experiements.

I think the best page on the topic so far is iO9's "Where is my uterine replicator (a.k.a., artificial womb)?" Not much has changed since it came out in 2008, but it's a well-written summary with very cool links. And pictures!

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KirKis
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Unfortuantely, I do not consider myself an expert - at all - on this topic. Perhaps I just saw what I wanted to see in the article. Though I still think there has to be a "safe" way for this to happen. To take the egg away from the uterus...

So when I saw the article talking about taking it "out of the shell" and placing it into "another woman's" I thought that perhaps that can be done even after it attaches to the wall.

How long does it normally take for the zona pellucida to disappear?

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CT
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Depends on what you mean by "disappear." The zona pellucida starts to dissolve within one week after fertilization of the egg, but you can find the glycoproteins that make it up in the developing embryo (i.e., the protein of it gets reused in other ways by the developing organism, so parts of it are still there -- but not as a "zone" all to itself).
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KirKis
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So if, in the first week, a method existed that could snatch the zygote before it fully attaches to the wall... then something like this could exist?

Oh and I apologize since it seems I have derailed this thread.

I seem to be doing that a lot lately... [Grumble]

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The Rabbit
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quote:
Why would it necessarily change the debate? What if the transfer procedure were as dangerous as childbirth? Wouldn't that still justify retaining abortion as a safe alternative for ending a pregnancy?
Right now, once a woman becomes pregnant the life of the child is inseparably connected to her until it is old enough to survive outside the womb. If she can not or will not carry the fetus until it is viable outside the womb, it will die. Those are the only options. Adding a third option would change the debate. It wouldn't automatically make all abortions unjustifiable, but it would certainly change the issues substantially.
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CT
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quote:
Originally posted by KirKis:
So if, in the first week, a method existed that could snatch the zygote before it fully attaches to the wall... then something like this could exist?

This has layers of complications that may be surprising. For example, most women do not know they are pregnant before the zygote implants. The type of hormone in the bloodstream or urine that is assessed in a pregnancy test takes time to be made, and certain things (like implantation) have to happen first.

The reason why we know so much about what happens in the first few days is by what was learned through in vitro fertilization studies (when the egg is fertilized "in a test tube").We don't really get a look at human zygotes that early.

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Bella Bee
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quote:
Originally posted by KirKis:
So if, in the first week, a method existed that could snatch the zygote before it fully attaches to the wall... then something like this could exist?

That would be a wonderful invention, but it would also rely on the couple knowing that they had conceived only a couple of days after conception, before implantation could occur.

Potentially, I could see this being turned against women with - 'Oh, you didn't remember to take the (should such a thing ever be possible) insta-conception test after you last had sex? Too bad, it's your fault. Your boyfriend says he's pro-life, so you'll have gestate the baby yourself now.'

By the way, has anyone heard about this? The idea that laws created to protect pregnant women are being turned against them disturbs me.

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