Posted by: bridget | 20 February 2007

Not Really a Theoretical Debate

Abortion rights have often been predicated on “viability.” This blog has addressed the theoretical issue of a quantum leap forward in viability and the possible repercussions for the abortion mandate. (Here and here.) This is no longer a theoretical possibility – a mental exercise, if you will. As Fox News reports, a baby who was born at ten ounces (back in October) will be sent home in a few days. Doctors predict that she will suffer few, if any, long-term health effects from her premature birth. Pachyderm hugs to her parents, who must be ecstatic to have their daughter home, and best wishes to her.



  1. I saw this on Drudge yesterday as well and had the same thought. The only slightly disconcerting thing about the whole situation is that the couple used in vitro fertilization to conceive. I wonder how many of their other children are now frozen or dead so that they could have one baby. I wish that couples who cannot conceive naturally would go to adoption instead of in vitro. You would think that they, of all people, would know the value of life. Either way, what’s done is done and the story of this baby’s survival is truly amazing and uplifting.

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Tieki Rae! :)

    I didn’t realise that the baby was conceived via IVF. If parents are going to do that (I understand the desire to have your own kids and to be pregnant and nurse etc), I just wish they would allow another couple to “adopt” the embryos.

  3. People need to understand IVF more before undertaking that procedure. Some people end up with too many fetuses and are told they need to choose one or more to abort.

  4. The notion of allowing abortions until “viability” have always been flawed. Newborns aren’t viable if no one cares for them but that isn’t a legal option.

    Also, it should be self-evident that if the date of viability is indeterminate until we learn whether or not a premature baby can survive then it isn’t a good moral yardstick. Also, viability would change from city to city and country to country and from time to time based on medical technology, and that seems like a lousy way to determine whether a human life can be taken. I need to blog on this topic :-)

  5. I can’t wait to see the blog post, Neil! “Viability” assumes that one’s life lacks value if it cannot be sustained on its own. That, as you point out, includes newborns, but also a person on an oxygen tank. Where is the line drawn?

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