Prior to 24 Weeks, a Fetus Is Not Viable - Rebuttal

  • Depends upon current technology

    • Age of viability used to be 28 weeks in U.K.

    • Changed to 24 weeks in 1990

  • Artificial womb (Nature, 2002)

    • Developed for premature infants

    • Uses oxygenated perfluorinated hydrocarbons

  • Could cut the point of fetal viability in half?

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Slide 44 of 49

Defining personhood on the basis of fetal viability outside the womb also has several problems. By this definition, the age of viability is subject to human technology. In the United Kingdom, this definition led to the lowering of the age of viability from 28 weeks to 24 weeks in 1990. A recent article in the medical journal Nature, indicated that an artificial womb might lower the age of viability. The authors of the study commented on the possible implications of such technology on the availability of abortion, since the current legal definition of abortion "rights" is based upon "fetal viability."

References Top of page

  1. Knight, J. 2002. Artificial wombs: An out of body experience. Nature 419: 106-107.
Last Modified June 14, 2008


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