Artificial Wombs

By Mark Antony Rossi

Science frees us in many ways…from the bodily terror which the savage feels. But she replaces that, in the minds of many, by a moral terror, which is far more overwhelming.

                                                                                                 ~Charles Kingsley

 THE TECHNOLOGY advance in the field of reproductive services begs the question: How far is too far? Will science reach the point where its intervention alters nature in ways inhumane and irreversible? The most recent example of scientific over-reaching involves the research into building artificial wombs.

Like most scientific research into human reproduction its applications are well intended but blind to social and ethical ramifications. This unhealthy trend of afterthought is becoming commonplace in the medical community. Social and ethical considerations are immediately deemed “political;” sponsored by Neanderthal naysayers too narrow-minded to comprehend the latest beneficial scientific frontier. Critical information is filtered through public relations instead of public education, for fear of losing prime time media and the all-consuming competitive edge. In spite of the devil in the details, a democracy cannot correctly operate in the dark.

Fostering this innovative artificial approach are the tragic circumstances of women unable to carry a fetus due to the malformation of their womb. Others are unable to have children because of surgical removal of the womb to reach cancerous regions. As I stated before the reasons for artificial wombs are noble. But what of the warped usage of such technology in the hands of fascist governments? Entire armies of brainwashed soldiers, blue-eyed, blond-haired, killing machines might be created to form a master-race type society. Donated sperm and eggs could be fertilized in test tubes and transplanted into artificial wombs bringing about horrible results: Children whose parents are the State. Offspring reared and educated to shed blood in the cause of racist utopia.

This is one dark option for which an artificial womb might be utilized. The other, quite possibly more gruesome, entails the commercialization of child birthing. “Baby-to-order” services promoted to eliminate painful pregnancies and save months of lost industry production by subsidizing this procedure. Women workers need not worry about stretch marks or reintegration after a lengthy recovery layoff. Yet this option has deeper negative manifestations that might appear later. Are women biologically and culturally destined to become desensitized to the concept and reality of children?

Does the maternal instinct, a misunderstood, but vital feminine internal mechanism, become deadened? My concerns cannot be emphasized enough, because social history proves men have always been poor advocates for children. I mention the fact not as a covert method to label women “the eternal role as child protector,” but to openly admit that men, while slowly moving in that direction, are still not fully geared for the role.

Artificial wombs are on the horizon and their guaranteed abuse will not be the sole responsibility of men. Men and women shall bear the brunt for unleashing an arcane component of social engineering perfectly suited for authoritarian means. Male prejudice and its resulting oppressive tactics against women may be the catalyst for science to lessen the load of the 21st century woman’s predicament: full-time work and full-time housework. Women cannot escape judgment if through their consent artificial wombs are turned into a war-of-the-sexes weapon to liberate their bodies and accelerate their careers.

If men cannot see the wisdom of putting down the remote control and becoming more active in relationships and child rearing, we may hasten the conditions that bring about future offspring programmed by religious-political-scientific governing coalitions, bent on subjugating entire societies with a seemingly logical formula: community rears loyalty, independence breeds disorder, disorder threatens the community.

Mankind’s tampering with fundamentals of human life coupled with man’s lack of respect for women, and women’s frustrating family/career dilemmas, could be a fertile foundation for a new society providing ready answers by removing all the questions. Without questions, there are no answers. Without freedom, humans are mere machines bought and sold by technological tinkerers convinced they have been granted a supreme mandate to think for us.

About the Author: Mark Antony Rossi is a poet, playwright and author of the bioethics volume “Dark Tech” now available from Amazon. His most recent plays have been produced in Liverpool and New York. He also hosts a podcast called Strength to be Human.




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