Violently Uncomfortable Meghan McCain Talks About Artificial Wombs
Meghan McCain doesn’t like the idea of artificial wombs.
She doesn’t like the idea of wombs outside a woman’s body.
She doesn’t like scientists “messing with embryos.” (For those utilizing IVF, I’m sure you weren’t aware of this, but “messing” is the clinical term for what embryologists do with your gametes.)
She doesn’t like people messing with fetuses. (Again, “messing” is a clinical term.)
She doesn’t like it, and it makes her violently uncomfortable.
Can we pause for a moment and unpack that term? Violently uncomfortable. Is she saying that as she becomes uncomfortable, she becomes violent? (Watch out!) Is she saying that the discomfort feels like violence to her psyche? Is she saying that the violent side of her personality is suffering from discomfort? Or are her emotions just “messing” with her?
TakePart Live’s theme was “In the next 20 years, artificial wombs will be a real possibility, but will ethics get in the way?”
What do you think of artificial wombs? Will they be a good thing? #BabyFarms
— TakePart Live (@TakePartLive) August 12, 2014
Well, will it?
I understand that Meghan McCain believes that life begins at conception, and if scientists were indeed “messing” with life without a second thought to the ramifications of their actions, throwing gametes together like the Swedish Chef on the Muppets (bork! bork! bork!), I could understand her fears. But we have a long history of having children grow outside a mother’s womb even if their life didn’t begin inside this artificial space.
It’s called an incubator.
(Though “babyfarm” sounds clickier, right? I mean, who would click on #incubator? But #babyfarm — that’s catchy.)
Many preemie parents are familiar with the concept of their child growing and aging outside the woman’s body. The twins stopped growing in my body at 29 weeks. They were delivered and grown in what amounts to an artificial womb until they were able to regulate their own body temperature and be moved to an open-air crib. This development happened slower than if they had aged in my body, but we didn’t really have a choice. The options were slow-growing-but-alive or dead. And we took slow-growing. Call us crazy. We like to “mess” with fate that way.
Today, it would be inhumane to not attempt to kept a child alive in an incubator, even though it comes with its own set of possible problems. I can state from personal experience that growth (especially brain development) is preferable taking place inside the woman’s body vs. outside the woman’s body. We’re still dealing with issues from prematurity. But again, alive vs. dead… it’s a pretty easy decision.
If science were to catch up with need, and women without wombs, with malformed wombs (such as a unicornuate uterus), or poor functioning wombs (such as mine which doesn’t allow for proper implantation) could grow a healthy child inside an incubator, and that development would actually mimic life inside a human body, wouldn’t we find that preferable to making women put their body through endless tries to get one pregnancy that doesn’t miscarry or cause irreparable harm to the mother’s body? Is it really preferable to ask women to have multiple miscarriages (which include invasive procedures such as D&Cs) or risk their life in order to keep pregnancies solely inside a woman’s body?
The ethical issue begins with the fact that we’re talking about a child already existing vs. a child being created, though if life begins at conception for Meghan McCain, I’m not sure why she would distinguish between a 29-week-old child and an embryo.
And I am not saying that there aren’t other ethical issues to consider: when do we have women utilize an artificial womb rather than attempting conception in the body, what are the long-term effects for children born via this method, what are the emotional effects of having your child grow outside your body or being grown outside a human body? There are ethical questions that need to be discussed by those who are holding real information and true understanding of the situation and methods to address it.
I guess I’m not really understanding why we should sit and listen to Meghan McCain talk about artificial wombs. Why is her opinion interesting? What is it based on? Why should it be broadcast? Does she have professional experience? Does she have personal experience? Is there a possibility that she would utilize this technology in the future?
No one is stopping Meghan McCain from using the uterus in her body. (I am making an assumption right now that she has a functioning uterus.) She can go right ahead growing a baby inside herself, and she can also deny herself access to an artificial womb if it turns out that she can’t carry a child unassisted.
All scientists are doing is trying to solve a problem that plagues many other women: the inability to carry a child to term within their body. The concept of helping others shouldn’t make a person violently uncomfortable. Confused, sure. Worried, fine. But violently uncomfortable? That’s a term that casts judgment. And it’s judgment of a situation that Meghan McCain likely knows little about unless she has a secret medical degree or personal experience.
Especially when options exist in the here and now to grow a baby outside the body.
I, for one, am grateful that incubators exist. Without them, I wouldn’t have my twins.