Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Is a Woman's "Right to Choose" always "Right?"

A couple engages a surrogate mother for implantation and gestation of their fertilized egg. Now, of course, we have two mothers here - the surrogate who is, in fact, providing the environment to bring the embryo to term, and the biological mother who has provided the genetic material to the product of conception. For the purposes of this discussion, lets ignore any legal and contractual issues that may exist, and consider only some moral ones.

Does the surrogate mother now have the moral right to electively abort the fetus she is carrying? After all, it has become, so to say, part of "her body." Or, does she now relinquish "moral" control of this fetus to that of the biological couple, i.e. it is not really part of her body, but belongs to the biological couple.

But if it does belong to the biological couple, does the couple then hold the right to have the fetus aborted? I do not believe than anyone would condone forcing the surrogate, at the donor's demand, to undergo an abortion to which she is opposed. If one agrees with this conclusion, then the final "right to abortion" must lie with the surrogate mother.

Should, then, a woman's right to choose be no different whether it affects her biological fetus or whether it affects a surrogate fetus? Should she legally have he right to abort in both situations? If not, then clearly she no longer has the absolute "right to choose." "Right to choose", then, depends on which products of conceptions are permitted to be removed and which are not - a limited choice.

If one believes that the "right to choose" trumps all, then to choose elective abortion of a surrogate fetus must be endorsed.

But does "the right to choose" really extend to this circumstance? Maybe the legal right does, but how about the moral right?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I would say if a society endorses a right to choose policy, it extents to all circumstances, including to cases when the fetus is not biologically the surrogates.

Morally, she may have to reinburst the biological parents for the expenses they are out of, due to her breaching their agreement. But legally, I think that's not the case.

And morally, if a society is against abortion, ie, a mother's right to choose, then what is in the best interest of the child prevails. But in a "right to choose" society like ours, that's not the case. The surrogate gets to decide what happens with her body in every scenario.