Let me set the scene: A husband and a wife have had 15 failed pregnancies and in vitro fertilization non-starters. Author Alex Kuczynski, a fine writer, comes perilously close to falling off the cliff when she describes a "fetus" that didn't make it past 10 weeks as "a small dead baby" and quotes a nurse as telling her, "In case you were interested, it was a girl." But she quickly regains her footing and writes, "I was not, in fact, interested in attaching a gender to the coagulation of cells, briefly and potentially human. . . ."
A month later Kuczynski is sitting with her baby on her back porch in the Hamptons. She wonders whether she has, in a sense, cheated to have him. Here's the offending section: "My husband came out and sat next to me. He took my hand. 'You gave birth to our baby,' he told me. 'The doctors went in and took our baby out of you 10 months ago.' He was casting back to the day the doctor removed my eggs. 'It was like a C-section. They just went in and got him when he was very small.'"
Excuse me? Technically the husband is incorrect, in that what doctors removed from his wife was an egg that had not yet encountered a paternal sperm. But his poetic wisdom is solid: It was like a C-section bringing out a tiny baby. And if that's the way it is, then maybe we shouldn't be cavalier about killing small creatures for embryonic stem-cell research, especially when scientists have discovered that adult stem cells are as likely (maybe more so) to work well in healing some sicknesses. Maybe we shouldn't think of a 10-week-old unborn child as merely a potentially human coagulation of cells. Maybe we shouldn't have legal abortion of older coagulations.