I have been reading about marsupials and kangaroos. Don’t ask why. But it got me thinking…
Imagine, if you will, a parallel universe where the human race evolved, due to the vicissitudes of chaos, from marsupials rather than primates. In every respect, the Kangaroo-People have developed as we have. Same nations, same traditions, same institutions, same ethical standards, life expectancy, gender distinctions, laws, culture and politics. The only difference is that in this universe, the Kangaroo-People give birth like kangaroos, as females have the same reproductive equipment as their kangaroos ancestors To look at them, you’d never know. Kangaroo Person Kate Upton looks exactly like ours; Kangaroo Person Hillary Clinton could walk up to our Bill and he’d never know the difference. (She does have a safe place to keep her Blackberries, though.)
After a few weeks of gestation, baby Kangaroo-People are born at about the size and shape of a jellybean, with about as much personality. The Kangaroo-People mother guides her offspring by licking a path from her cloaca ( which leads into three vaginas, just like regular kangaroos in this universe) to her pouch. The baby is essentially still a fetus at this point, with incompletely developed eyes, ears, organs and central nervous system. It does have claws, so it can crawl, and an olfactory bulb, the section of its brain devoted to the sense of smell. This allows the baby to follow the scent of mom’s saliva into the pouch. There it latches on to a teat, and holds on as involuntary contractions of muscles in the mother’s stomach wall force milk out of her mammary glands to the growing fetus/baby. 235 days or more later, the baby, now fully developed, emerges from the pouch. Before that, the baby Kangaroo-Person gets strong enough to periodically let go of the teat, and crawl around the pouch.
Kangaroo People celebrate their birthdays based on when they were born, of course. They also are named by Mom and Dad, and have their birth certificates filed.
Now, what would the ethical and reasonable position of the Kangaroo-People Pro-Choice movement be? Should abortions be permitted only during the three weeks or so before birth? Should there be a cut-off before that point, when the developing jelly bean has its claws and olfactory bulb ready to go? In the alternative, would the movement insist that the baby clinging to mom’s teat like grim death has no right to life even after birth, since it lacks a complete nervous system?
What would be the activist’s criteria for when the creature qualified as a Kangaroo Person, with the right to keep growing and traveling on the road to full Kangaroo-Personhood? Is the moment of attachment to the teat when the right to live also attaches? Or is that version of the tiny nascent Kangaroo-Person too dependent, and unlikely to prevail in a game of Scrabble?
Abortion at that stage is remarkably easy, nowhere near as messy, dangerous, traumatic or expensive as our abortions in this universe. You don’t even need a doctor; a plumber could do it. You just reach into the pouch and yank the little thing off its teat. The young Kangaroo-People early on develop some vocal abilities even before they can see, travel or hear, so sometimes the plucked baby makes a high-pitched mewling sound, faint, but like the screaming of the lambs. But that only lasts a second, since the accepted abortion technique is to throw the thing on the floor and squash it like a bug. (Most mothers are given ear-plugs, which are paid for by Obamacare.)
Of course, most, well, many scientist and doctors in the pro-abortion camp maintain that cries aside, the Kangaroo-People babies can’t feel pain.
Then again, since the lines are so blurry, will the movement argue that until the baby actually leaves the pouch, it isn’t born, meaning that Mom, Dad, or a friend can just club Jr. to death as soon as he sticks his head out for the first time, like in Whack-A-Mole?
Tell us, abortion fans, what would you advocate as the most ethical abortion policy in the World of the Kangaroo-People?