How New Technology Could Threaten a Woman’s Right to Abortion image

Gizmodo, July 28, 2017
Kristen V. Brown, quoting I. Glenn Cohen (Faculty Director)


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Read the Cited Hastings Center Report Article, "Artiļ¬cial Wombs and Abortion Rights" by I. Glenn Cohen

From the article:

[...] It could also complicate—and even jeopardize—the right to an abortion in an America in which that right is predicated on whether a fetus is “viable.”

“The Supreme Court has pegged the constitutional treatment of abortion to the viability of a fetus,” I. Glenn Cohen, a Harvard Law School bioethicist, told Gizmodo. “This has the potential to really disrupt things, first by asking the question of whether a fetus could be considered ‘viable’ at the time of abortion if you could place it in an artificial womb.”

Cohen raised this issue in a report for the Hastings Center published on Friday.

A normal human pregnancy lasts about 40 weeks. In Roe v. Wade, the case that ultimately legalized abortion in 1973, the Supreme Court ruled that whether a fetus was capable of surviving outside the womb was an important test of whether an abortion was legal. The Court said that viability typically began at some point during the third trimester, which begins at 24 weeks, but could really only be determined on a case by case basis. In 1992, Planned Parenthood vs. Casey reaffirmed that viability is key in defining a state’s power to regulate abortion. The number of weeks at which you can legally procure an abortion varies between 22 and 24 weeks by state. (If a woman’s health is at risk, the state cannot enforce an abortion ban at any stage of development.)

Read the full article

Read the cited Hastings Center Report article, "Artificial Wombs and Abortion Rights," by I. Glenn Cohen. 

abortion bioethics i. glenn cohen regulation reproductive rights reproductive technologies