Macie McCartney was technically born twice. I wonder when she will celebrate her birthday? Will she get two cakes? Did she magically become a “person” or not?
Seriously, little Macie McCartney, when only 25 weeks in the womb, had a life-threatening tumor removed by doctors at the Texas Children’s Fetal Center. The surgeons left half the baby in the uterus to conduct the delicate procedure. After removing the grapefruit sized tumor they closed her mother’s abdomen and her development proceeded normally. The baby grew for another ten weeks inside her mother. While only a few places offer such prenatal surgery, it is becoming more commonplace.
It does, however, raise certain ethical concerns:
1. Some secular ethicists argue that the procedure is too expensive and risky; they contend that the child be terminated and that another ovum be fertilized. This position betrays a commodity view of unborn human beings.
2. If such children can legally be aborted, not just partial-birth abortion (really infanticide), then what was Macie’s status after being fully reinserted into the womb? Did she become a citizen protected under law the first time she emerged?
3. If she did not become a citizen with the first birth, was she still liable for termination, in other words, a target for abortion? The same technology that discovered the tumor is often used in the determination as to whether one should or should not murder children.