Today is Blog for Choice Day in honor of 23 years since Roe v. Wade. The latest episode of Battlestar Galactica also dealt with choice and gives me a convenient blog topic. The show continues to make me uncomfortable by raising moral issues with no easy answers, and I love BSG for it.
In last Friday’s episode, Epiphany, President Roslin orders Boomer’s pregnancy terminated. (Boomer is a cylon agent–a “human model” created by sentient artificially intelligence gone rogue–that I argue is very much human.) The characters involved are divided in support of the president’s decision, not on whether or not the abortion was moral itself (with the possible exceptions of Helo, the fetus’s human sire, and Six, a cylon with her own motives) but on whether or not it was right to force Boomer to terminate her pregnancy against her will, for the good of the colonial fleet. The colonial fleet, overall, seems to support the right to one’s own body, including the right to choose to keep a pregnancy–an equally important side to “pro-choice.” The gray area is whether or not that right extends to a machine. Again, a very relevant issue to raise with human-machine integration and genetic engineering redefining humanity in contemporary real life.
One thing that bothers me about the episode: Roslin and supporters want to abort Boomer’s fetus because it is an anomaly. Allowing a human-cylon hybrid to exist is dangerous and against the interests of the colonial fleet as a whole. This suggests an irresponsibility towards bringing to term a pregnancy that deviates from “normal.” Parents of children with disabilities are sometimes ostracized for not aborting the fetus if prenatal screening detected a birth defect (I think it is an individuals right to do so if she chooses here, not anyone else’s business). My gripe with this? It further alienates people with disabilities by suggesting they are a “burden” to society and judges whose life is worth living.
(Back-posted because I didn’t have time to finish this yesterday.)