Why Ectogestation is Unlikely to Transform the Abortion Debate: A discussion of 'Ectogestation and the Problem of Abortion'

Philosophy and Technology (4):1-7 (2020)
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In this commentary, I will consider the implications of the argument made by Christopher Stratman (2020) in ‘Ectogestation and the Problem of Abortion’. Clearly, the possibility of ectogestation will have some effect on the ethical debate on abortion. However, I have become increasingly sceptical that the possibility of ectogestation will transform the problem of abortion. Here, I outline some of my reasons to justify this scepticism. First, that virtually everything we already know about unintended pregnancies, abortion and adoption does not prima facie support the assumption that a large shift to ectogestation would occur. Moreover, if ectogestation does not lead to significant restrictions to abortion then there is unlikely to be any radical transformation of the practice of abortion. Second, abortion is already associated with stigma and so the presence of ectogestation would need to create additional stigma to modify behaviour. Finally, I argue that ectogestation shifts the debate away from the fetus to the human subject of the artificial womb—the gestateling. Therefore, creating a new category of killing—gestaticide—and this would only reorient the debate rather than end it.

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Daniel Rodger
London South Bank University


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