Mittwoch, August 20, 2014

Debatte: "Die künstliche Gebärmutter wird den Feminismus für immer verändern"

A report says a man-made womb could be reality within 30 years. But when the womb—the most politicized body part in history—is separated from the woman, what will it mean for feminism?

fragt sich Samantha Allen und führt dazu weiter aus:

In a culture that is founded on the symbolic link between womanhood and reproduction, and in a political climate where so many feminist political efforts of the past have been predicated on that link out of sheer necessity, the separation of gestation from a woman’s body will have earth-shattering consequences for the contemporary feminist movement. The artificial womb, after all, is a 21st-century technology and with it will come with 21st-century consequences.

Ectogenesis will pry open every gendered fault-line in contemporary cultural politics, from workplace politics to the men’s rights movement to an increasingly virulent abortion debate. The artificial womb will undoubtedly improve the lives of some women who opt to use it, but the separation of childbirth from a woman’s body will also give the anti-feminist Right terrifying new points of leverage at a crucial moment in feminist history.

(...) Men’s Rights Activists (MRAs), for example, are already claiming the artificial womb as karmic payback for the recent discussion surrounding the diminishing role of men and masculinity in a post-industrial world, a discussion that reached its high-water mark around "The End of Men," Hannah Rosin’s widely-read column in The Atlantic and her 2012 book of the same name. Starting from evidence that parents in the United States who use new sperm selection techniques are starting to express a stronger preference for girls, Rosin considered what it would mean to live in a world where women dominate the workforce, the academy, and the home.

When last week’s Newsweek report on the artificial womb found its way to the Men’s Rights subreddit, an Internet message board that has been marked by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a "woman-hating site" since 2012, members of the subreddit reacted as if they had just pulled off a stunning wrestling reversal while down for the count. "Maybe the article should have been titled ‘The End of Women,’" one commenter wryly observed. Another commenter ventriloquized feminist concerns with ectogenesis in this way: "We can kill all men and keep the species going based off of sperm banks! Wait, you don’t need us for reproduction anymore? That’s misogyny!" The tone, across the board, was nothing short of jubilant. Finally, it seemed, the artificial womb would literalize their claims of equal importance in human reproduction by making a woman’s body unnecessary for gestation.

MRAs have long resented women for receiving paid maternity leave, for being favored in child custody decisions, and for insisting that women’s bodies remain at the center of reproductive politics. On the subreddit, the artificial womb is already being hailed as the solution to these perceived inequalities. Some MRAs are preemptively celebrating a future in which women do not have access to the supposed “social power” that women have by virtue of childbirth. And another thread of comments shows MRAs imagining a future in which women who want to receive an abortion are required to transplant their fetus into an artificial womb to be raised by the father or a “charitable organization” upon birth. Soraya Chemaly already predicted this particularly "surreal" argument in her initial report on ectogenesis.

In einer Replik auf diesen und ähnliche Artikel gibt der Männerrechtler Matt Campbell zu bedenken:

For a woman, having children without including their father in the equation post-conception has several routes. Artificial insemination is one, but the less expensive routes can still be pursued: have sex with a man/men "casually" and tell them they needn't use condoms because she's using birth control and STDs aren't a concern based on her last visit to the doctor. A less astute man may believe her and become a father without ever knowing it. For financing, she can file for "public assistance", or pursue a child support order, assuming she is ready to tell the father that he is one. (...) Several options for her, but not for him.

An artificial uterus is a device, not a right. As long as women can still do to men what has been described above and men's recourse is either limited or non-existent, men's rights in this area remain unchanged. Ectogenesis does not provide men the right to a "paper abortion", a legal right to renounce parental rights (such as they are) and obligations (a lot of those) within a given time after a man is named the father by the mother or the state, as does women's option to abort. Not much changes for men, rights-wise, with ectogenesis.

Secondly, it isn't known how courts will handle parental rights around ectogenic children. Like the genetic mothers of children born of surrogates, will children remain the legal progeny of the genetic mothers? If so, will privacy contracts signed by donors and egg brokers prevail, should donors later seek to discover where their offspring are? Courts have consistently upheld the rights of mothers to gain custody of/access to their children, but not of fathers. As long as the need for human eggs are a factor, egg donors may still be able to create problems for the buyers/brokers of them.

Thirdly, there's a bigger picture that could directly and adversely affect men's rights. While not an immediate concern after ectogenesis becomes available, if a government were to decide it needed an army with superior intelligence, strength, and stamina, but who were also easily managed, obedient, undistracted by emotional or sexual needs, and fearless, it would doubtlessly start with a man's genome and then splice in/out various traits.

With legal rulings already in place allowing entities the right to patent genetically modified organisms, it doesn't take much to see where things can go when cloning and ectogenesis are mixed. In the history of slavery, the great bulk of people forced into slavery have been men, not women. Men's rights would clearly not be served in such a scenario.

Men's rights activists and others have asserted that children are better off having both parents raise them, presuming both are fit. If so, then children gestated ectogenically would be as much at a disadvantage if raised solely by dad as solely by mum, correct? MRAs, like feminists or anyone else, can't have it both ways. One's position must be consistent or it loses credibility.

The only way to see how this all plays out is to first see ectogenesis become a reliable methodology, then see how the courts handle it. But humanity's gone from one to over 7 billion individuals in just over 200 years. Just how badly does it need ectogenic reproduction added to in utero reproduction? About as badly as fish need bicycles.

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