03 April 2008

Saving fetuses one seatbelt at a time.


According to a new study in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the 'lives' of 200 fetuses could be saved each year if pregnant women were only responsible enough to buckle up.

"Even if a fetus survives, premature delivery as a result of the crash can lead to low birth weight, respiratory problems and long-term physical or neurological problems, the authors said".

I find this very odd. Not necessarily that being in a car crash can cause fetal death, but that the authors consistently refer to a fetus as a 'fetus' and not a 'baby'. This is why. Given that the authors do not make any specifications as to how 'old' a fetus has to be in order to sustain injury or death, I would assume that if a pregnant woman was worried about harming her fetus chances are she would buckle her seat belt because she didn't want to harm her 'baby'. If the woman is worried about endangering another 'life', she is thinking about the 'life' growing inside of her as a 'baby'.

I have made a similar argument surrounding miscarriage; the reason why women are often so traumatised by this experience is because they are clearly attached to the pregnancy. A miscarriage is not just a loss of blood and tissue, it feels like the loss of a 'life'. Therefore, in the case of this seatbelt study, it seems odd to call a pregnancy a 'fetus' considering the whole point of the study is to make women more responsible for their unborn. Therefore, women need to be thinking about their fetuses as 'babies' because 'babies' are 'individuals' whereas fetuses (or at least I found in my research) are clinical and alien that are not characterised by anything that is necessarily 'human'.

Finally, shouldn't women be wearing seatbelts so they don't kill themselves in a car accident? What good will it be to have a living fetus if it has no mother?

That was my philosophy for the morning.

Source: http://health.usnews.com/usnews/health/healthday/080402/seat-belt-use-by-pregnant-women-could-save-200-fetuses-a-year.htm

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