Journal of Medical Ethics 46 (5):320-327 (2020)
AbstractWhile artificial womb technology is currently being studied for the purpose of improving neonatal care, I contend that this technology ought to be pursued as a means to address the unprecedented rate of unintended pregnancies. But ectogenesis, alongside other emerging reproductive technologies, is problematic insofar as it threatens to disrupt the natural link between procreation and parenthood that is normally thought to generate rights and responsibilities for biological parents. I argue that there remains only one potentially viable account of parenthood: the voluntarist account, which construes parental rights as robust moral obligations that must be voluntarily undertaken. The problem is that this account mistakenly presumes a patriarchal divide between procreation and parenthood. I propose a reframing of procreation and parenthood from a feminist perspective that recognises gestational motherhood as involving robust moral obligations that ought to be voluntarily undertaken. If this were the case, all gestational mothers would be, by definition, willing mothers. To make this happen I argue that ectogenesis technology must be a widely available reproductive option.
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Citations of this work
The path toward ectogenesis: looking beyond the technical challenges.Seppe Segers - 2021 - BMC Medical Ethics 22 (1):1-15.
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The Right to Parent One's Biological Baby.Anca Gheaus - 2012 - Journal of Political Philosophy 20 (4):432-455.
Rethinking Abortion, Ectogenesis, and Fetal Death.Christine Overall - 2015 - Journal of Social Philosophy 46 (1):126-140.
Willing Parents: A Voluntarist Account of Parental Role Obligations.Elizabeth Brake - 2010 - In David Archard & David Benatar (eds.), Procreation and Parenthood: The Ethics of Bearing and Rearing Children. Oxford University Press. pp. 151--77.