Science Fiction Today – Abortion

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If I were going to start writing Science Fiction Today more regularly, I think the topic I would start with would be abortion. Because whoa, you want to talk about a heated political issue of today, with no answer that people can come to a consensus on? An issue that has come up in every election I can remember for my entire life, without there ever being any big changes in the argument or solutions?

In our Science Fiction Today posts, which we are running as our theme for the April A to Z Challenge, we don’t try to provide an answer to today’s problems in today’s terms. Nor do we try to take a side on the issue in today’s terms. Instead, we look at what the issue could look like in a science fiction sense: with new technology, with society having moved on. What it might look like in 50 years, or 200. And how maybe the whole issue might go away. So what might that look like for Abortion?

The Perfect Birth Control

Abortion is a big issue with complicated opinions on it. But I can imagine a future where the entire debate is gone. What would it take? Why, something small and easy, right? Just the perfect birth control.

It could take different forms. The one most like our world today would be some form of birth control that is 100% effective, cheap so everyone can get access, and easily accessible. Even better, one that no one has any moral problems with, that in some way does not interfere with conception.

Okay, I can imagine such a thing, even if I don’t think it’s completely realistic. However, there are simpler solutions, and you see them sometimes in science fiction. And that would be virtual sex. It could be virtual but in-person, like in a movie like Demolition Man. Or it could be distant and separate but virtual, in aΒ Second Life sort of situation like in the bookΒ Ready Player One. It might be easier to envision a virtual solution like this for our near future!

Completely Planned Children

Of course, there’s the tendency with discussions about childbirth to worry that we are straying into territory of “playing god.” And really, this can be taken to an extreme. In lots of science fiction, you see societies where children are fully planned, fully raised by society. Maybe genetically modified, maybe not. Maybe all artificially inseminated.

This would dismantle a lot of what the world looks like today, in terms of family structures, or even in terms of what it means to be human. Abortion, or even a form of perfect birth control, could be a part of it all. But rather than a situation where conception is avoided, it’s more about a future where it’s all planned, or all dictated by a controlling society. Where a child would not be yours, but would be society’s. The abortion debate would be gone – but would this be a better world?

This post is part of the April A to Z Challenge, and also part of our occasional series on Science Fiction Today. You can read an explanation of both here. We are striving to keep these posts short, and know that we have not covered every example or angle – plenty of room for discussion!

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43 responses to “Science Fiction Today – Abortion

  1. Very cool. The best science fiction tackles current issues, to make you look at things from a different point of view with a fresh set of eyes.

    I always found it fascinating that the heroes of Star Wars are, by our current definition, terrorists.

    Liked by 3 people

    • They would be, wouldn’t they? But you ask them and they’re “rebels.” It’s a “Rebellion” like the American Revolution… In which the same could be said, depending on perspective.

      Science Fiction AND History! It’s a good morning πŸ™‚ Thanks for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. There is some real food for thought here, and I love it when Science Fiction stories tackle ethical issues. Putting current issues in a new context helps us think through these things…

    Liked by 2 people

    • As opposed to the current way, with this issue, which has existed largely unchanged for my whole life – yet it comes up constantly! Without any alternatives being presented… So I turned to Science Fiction!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Very hard issue to discuss and you’re brave to try! I think education is left out of the equation all together. Until education is tackled in a realistic way, this issue will never go away. I believe education is the key, along with a perfect BC! Great post! Glad you’re participating in the A to Z! Lisa, co-host AtoZ2015, @ lisabuiecollard.com

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I’d be interested to see some sort of chip embedded in the body and controlled by the brain (almost similar to how some replacement limbs are connected to the nerves and now controlled by the brain). “I wanna have a baby” turns off birth control. “I don’t” turns it back on. As to the method of delivery, maybe controlling the fallopian tubes via pinching them open and shut? Or maybe the chip delivers regulated levels of hormones instead.
    Interesting thoughts.
    –A-Z Participant Raven Oak, #1247

    Liked by 2 people

    • I like the ideas, and the idea of control is of course something we assume from a lot of Science Fictional technologies! At this point the joke would be that there will be an app for that… but with wearable technology, that might actually come true…

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. oh, I think this is never going to be that easy. The perfect birth control would be if a woman had the mind power to say okay today I don’t want to get pregnant. You know some kind of jedi mind power thingi…. and a man should be able to do the same…… Abortion is such a heated topic of debate.

    Liked by 2 people

    • The commenter above you had the same idea – mental control over it! Hormonal or however that would work. And I agree, such a heated topic of debate. That’s why it is a perfect topic for Science Fiction Today – let’s skip the entire current debate, and actually think about it in whole new terms.

      And the mental or technological control over hormones like that? That’s the sort of idea that can come from thinking about the issue in a whole new way, instead of as a yes-or-no binary! πŸ˜€

      Liked by 2 people

  6. My blog is signed up above yours in the A to Z challenge so I’m checking in as per challenge instructions. I wouldn’t normally think that I’d be interested in science fiction but this is certainly a thought provocative post. Nice to know people are thinking outside the box and not afraid to tackle a taboo subject. Thanks for something to think about.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. NotAPunkRocker

    wow, bold but very accurate jump into the sci-fi A to Z scene. Well done!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I like the sci fi thought process and you are right what if we had the perfect birth control we would have to find something else to split hairs about as a society like if it’s acceptable to wear blue and red? (those were taboo colors in our town)

    Liked by 1 person

    • There are so many issues, and the constancy that this one comes up without change baffles me… But maybe you’re right, and if it weren’t this it would be something else.

      I am realizing that, in terms of the perfect drug, Dune has the best example. Definitely a Sci Fi idea to have the perfect version of these sorts of things! But also maybe something to strive for?

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Like

  9. Liked by 1 person

  10. I think the key thing would be who controls access to the birth control. I can see some other commenters are going there too. πŸ™‚ Nice post!

    Liked by 2 people

    • We like to think a bit about the good and bad, or utopian and dystopian answers… So while commenters have said the self… I’ll go with the bad and say the government! What could go wrong?

      But even now, even if there were say make birth control, there’s still a question of who controls it. “Perfect” is a pretty lofty goal, I know!

      Like

  11. Birth Control was a major plot point in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, so it’s an excellent choice for an A-Z Sci-Fi blogging.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I like the idea of a perfect form of birth control, but I don’t know if it would solve all of the issues. There are some cases of abortion that happen because the child has developed with an incurable disease (see “The Boy Whose Skin Fell Off”), but maybe if we’re at a point where humans have cured all diseases, have limited childbirth by law due to overpopulation (even more strictly than China, where people can still have six kids but just pay more taxes), and, as you say, it’s all planned, I’m not sure the appeal of a having a child would be as high as it is right now, either. πŸ˜›

    Great start to the challenge! I can see there will be no side-stepping the big issues in this theme. πŸ™‚

    Alex Hurst, A Fantasy Author in Kyoto
    Out of Print, Fiction authors and their shorts

    A-Z Blogging in April Participant

    Liked by 1 person

    • Great and small, the issues cannot hide from us!

      There are definitely dystopian fears with something like this. Forced birth control or limited children… like in Ender’s Game, as well. It was a big deal (and important to the plot and especially sequels) that Ender is a “third.”

      And I could definitely see it being the case that if we had “perfect” anything, we would have a way to solve a lot of genetic sorts of diseases as well. Maybe?

      Only so much that can be said in under 500 words! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Stopping over from Sourcerer and I have to say, interesting topic and thought provoking discussion. Makes ones mind really think about how things could possibly be in the future. I do like how the other comments reflect the idea of mind control for the woman if she wants to get pregnant or not.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. It wasn’t a topic I was expecting to bump into today and you did it well. Thanks for popping by mine and commenting. We’re off and I’m left wondering what other topics I’ll be reading and pondering about here.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Love the theme! Looking forward to the rest of your A-to-Z posts. One solution is that people are genetically unable to conceive children until the appropriate license and testing has been completed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh yeah, license to be a parent. I’m sure someone has written science fiction stories about this! Well, I guess it’s mentioned in Ender’s Game, isn’t it?

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s not a new thought πŸ™‚ I have seen many variations on the theme.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yeah. Not sure it often comes with perfect birth control, though – which tends to lead to a plot point, I’d imagine!

          But would it chaff less if it did?

          Like

          • People seldom appreciate when choice is taken away from them. And to date, I know only 1 perfect birth control and that is abstinence. Not my favorite kind πŸ™‚ Other types may be close to 100% but never are.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Well but that brings us back to my example in the post… Abstinence through virtual means, I guess. Demolition Man.

            Marvel is banking on people not liking choice taken away from them – the common theme in their villains is they want to restrict freedom!

            Liked by 1 person

          • Great movie! I’m not sure I would care for that one either. It would probably lead to more MDK’s πŸ™‚ No one likes have something they take for granted removed, even if they don’t use or exercise that freedom.

            Liked by 1 person

  16. Some people in society already seem to think all children are personally theirs… How about a futuristic world where all unwanted babies are left on the doorsteps of politicians?… πŸ˜€
    It would also help if there were easier and quicker methods for detecting pregnancy very early on. It wouldn’t help with the ideologies, but it would help with the process.

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    Multicolored Diary – Epics from A to Z
    MopDog – 26 Ways to Die in Medieval Hungary

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, “false positive” and phrases like that are something we’ve heard a lot of lately… more accuracy in a lot of other parts of the process could be great as well πŸ™‚

      And if we’re thinking all parts of the process, or alternatives, things like adoption could be a lot easier – though when in doubt, politician’s doorstep sounds right. With a camera to record and make sure they keep it, right?

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Like

  17. I love how versatile Scifi is as a tool for exploring politics, morality, and everything associated with either or both. It’s a big part of why I love Star Trek, Star Wars, and tons of other series.

    One of the setting that really looks at the procreation controversies well is the Battletech/Mechwarrior universe. There are the inner sphere free-birth (naturally born) humans and the clans which genetically engineer their armies and have a sense of superiority to go with it. The two societies approaches to sex and reproduction are incredibly different, and their sense of honor and morality vary accordingly.

    Plus, you know, there are 3 story tall robots that have fusion engines, so that’s cool…

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Pingback: Science Fiction Today – Robots | Comparative Geeks

  19. Chappie doesn’t deal with abortion directly… There is some tension created in that Chappie is “born” with only five days to live, though. Which could be pulled into the abortion debate, in that his creator chose to make a life with a very short time limit…

    And that’s all the letters! Woot!

    Liked by 1 person

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