Katie Roiphe wrote an article in Slate, “Preglimony and Pro-Choice Rhetoric”. What is preglimony you ask? Preglimony would be financial support from the father, for the mother’s care during her pregnancy. There is new technology which can answer that question “Who’s the father?”, at only 8 wks or so in the pregnancy, with a simple blood test. Don’t get too excited. At a cost of up to $1750 dollars, to say it’s cost prohibitive for most of us, is putting it mildly. But with all new technologies, the cost is sure to come down, and it will probably still be cost prohibitive for most of us.
As a single mother, I read with interest the law professor Shari Motro’s eminently sensible and humane op-ed in the New York Times arguing for what she somewhat clunkily calls “preglimony.” Her point was that given new technologies that allow very early, safe paternity tests, why shouldn’t the father of the baby-in-progress be responsible for medical and other costs during pregnancy?
As you may have noticed in the quote above, the rhetoric is changing already. What was once a ‘clump of cells’, and more recently a ‘potential child’, is now becoming a ‘baby in progress’.
The implications of Motro’s sensible stance to the pro-choice movement, though, are complex and thorny. The interests of protecting expectant mothers do not necessarily coincide with the interest of protecting abortion rights. Once you admit that the father is responsible to a woman carrying his fetus, you are halfway, at least in an imaginative sphere, to admitting that the fetus is a “life.” You are, in theory, extending the idea of “paternity” and implicitly the idea of the child, to pregnancy.
Sometimes even pro-aborts surprise me in the way they think. “You are, in theory, extending the idea of “paternity” and implicitly the idea of the child, to pregnancy.” We can’t have that, can we? Just imagine the father of the unborn child, being recognized as having responsibility (he should) to the woman he impregnated!
I don’t actually think it is in the interests of feminism or the pro-choice movement to cling so rigidly to outdated notions of “life.” It no longer helps our cause to try to argue that the fetus is not “life.” The reason for this, as people have noted, is that technological advances, like sonograms, where you can see feet on a fetus in the first trimester, have made those claims clearly and patently hollow to even ardently pro-choice people who have seen the black and white staticky fuzziness take shape into human form. How can we possibly claim that the moving creature, with feet and toes that we can see, is not “life”?
Yes, technology has proven the humanity of the ‘baby-in-progress’. No longer can pro-aborts claim it’s ‘just a clump of cells’. No longer can they claim the human fetus is not a life, when it so clearly is.
The only question that remains is; How long will it be before the pro-choice movement is forced to admit abortion kills unborn babies? My gut tells me, not much longer.