Co-culture assay method design to model antibody transport across the placenta; Fetal research and the theory of care ethics contribute to a different understanding of abortion

Tomlin, Margaret, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Seabrook, Bryn, EN-Engineering and Society EN-Engineering and Society PV-Summer & Spec Acad Progs, University of Virginia
Dolatshahi, Sepideh, MD-BIOM Biomedical Eng, University of Virginia
Wessel, Remziye, MD-BIOM Biomedical Eng Engineering Graduate, University of Virginia

If there is one social dilemma that draws the most division, it would have to be abortion. No one can agree. Even people who are all ‘pro-choice’ or ‘pro-life’ do not agree with one another on the topic, let alone people on opposite sides of the debate. Are fetuses humans; if not, at what point do they become human; if they are, whose life is more valuable: the mother’s or the baby’s? These questions plague the debate and draw lines in the sand. In the following pages, I hope to draw a line in stone. The implications of technology such as the neonatal incubator and how it intersects with changing ideas on abortion will be investigated. This will be coupled with the Theory of Care Ethics – a classically feminist theory – to raise the question to an ethical framework. In summary, the question that the following pages are intended to answer is thus: how does considering abortion through technology that saves premature newborns influence views on abortion, and how can care ethics contribute to this understanding? In the end, the answer should show there exists a ‘relationship of care’ – the relationships Care Ethics is based on – between the doctor and the mother, yes, but especially between the mother and the fetus as well as the doctor and the fetus. Additionally, the mother-fetus and doctor-fetus relationships have such large gaps of dependence and vulnerability that it implies the responsibilities of the doctor and mother to the fetus are heightened.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
Abortion, care ethics

School of Engineering and Applied Science

Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering

Technical Advisor: Sepideh Dolatshahi, Remziye Wessel

STS Advisor: Bryn Seabrook

Technical Team Members: Elizabeth Tomlin

Issued Date: