Yet another weird SF fan

I'm a mathematician, a libertarian, and a science-fiction fan. Common sense? What's that?

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Yet another weird SF fan

Monday, November 09, 2009

Mad Scientists for Life

According to Half Sigma, abortion will kill the future of the Republican Party. I doubt that very much. The debate is likely to become moot first, not because the anti-anti-abortion side will have a permanent victory but because it will be obsolete. Consider the following possibilities:

  • Infallible contraception. There is reason to believe every menstrual period increases the chances of breast cancer. This provides a sound reason to turn menstruation and ovulation off unless one is trying to get pregnant. This will eliminate the vast majority of abortions. This will even eliminate the possibly mythical “nice girl who didn't use the pill because only tramps use it.”
  • RU-Pentium. This will stop cell division in the fetus temporarily. It can be used by women who want their children but at a later date. An alternate means would be placing the fetuses in cryonic suspension.
  • Raising the age of puberty. If a pair of “up-tight” parents don't want their kids fooling around in a society where adolescent pregnancy is impossible, they don't have to surrender to the liberal fundamentalists. They can raise the age of puberty back to what it was in the Victorian era. (I suspect it was the drop in the age of puberty that set off the “sexual revolution.”)
  • Genetic engineering. If a fetus has a genetic defect, it need not be aborted, it will be possible to inject the genes in utero. Even exposure to a teratogen could be remedied by fetal surgery.
  • Artificial wombs. The remaining unwanted children could always be placed in artificial wombs and adopted later. An alternate method is to transplant them into the bodies of pro-life volunteers.
  • Technical progress in general. We can expect increased resources and increased efficiency in using resources to get rid of the tendency to take Malthus seriously.
When we combine the above methods, the abortion rate will drop down to near zero. There may be an attempt to keep it moderately common by appealing to fetal research. On the other hand, it's hard to see what we can gain from research on human fetuses that we can't gain from animal fetuses. Abortion is generally tolerated only because it is common. Several decades after the last abortion has taken place, there will be a belated and unnecessary ban. (Even an anarcho-capitalist society is likely to be transparent and those old-fashioned enough to still abort will be known and shunned.) A few decades after that, the sort of history student who second guesses historical figures (someone who regards the existence of the United States as hypocritical since many of the Founding Fathers were slave-holders) will turn the high abortion rates of the turn of the century into some kind of a scandal. The next step will be examining the other opinions of both sides in debates that occurred during the abortion epidemic. We can expect the opinions of anti-abortion bloggers will be given more respect and those of anti-anti-abortion bloggers will be given less respect. If geriatric medicine improves rapidly enough, some of us may still be around then.

I want to form an organization to be called “Mad Scientists For Life.”


Blogger Jason said...

And just think how many of those alternatives might've been developed by now had abortion been kept illegal!

Nothing drives creativity like restrictions.

4:53 PM  

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