‘Selective reduction’ of twins highlights need for a culture of life


The New York Times ran an article recently about a growing abortion practice in which a woman carrying twins chooses to abort only one of the two healthy, viable fetuses, while keeping the other. The article noted that this abortion practice, termed “pregnancy reduction,” is occurring more and more among women who receive in vitro fertilization treatment (where multiples are much more frequent). It is based not on medical reasons but “social reasons” like not wanting to take on the rigors and lifestyle changes required to raise twins. Towards the beginning of the article, it contained this disturbing quote from a woman who had artificially conceived and made such a decision:

Things would have been different if we were 15 years younger or if we hadn’t had children already or if we were more financially secure. … If I had conceived these twins naturally, I wouldn’t have reduced this pregnancy, because you feel like if there’s a natural order, then you don’t want to disturb it. But we created this child in such an artificial manner — in a test tube, choosing an egg donor, having the embryo placed in me — and somehow, making a decision about how many to carry seemed to be just another choice. The pregnancy was all so consumerish to begin with, and this became yet another thing we could control.

This is an amazing example of how a culture that toys with life entices seemingly good people to justify participation in that culture against their better moral judgment, creating a psychological requirement to rationalize and blind themselves to how their thinking dehumanizes life generally and themselves in particular. The quote above is just one of multiple disconcerting illustrations of this from the New York Times article.

On a personal note, I’m not sure whether to be more troubled by the quotes in the article, or the nonchalance/casualness of the Times reporter in reporting on the issue. As Rachel Abrams wrote in a blog post on the Times article, after pointing out the disturbing parallels between “pregnancy reductions” of twins for “social reasons” and the eugenics practiced by the Nazis at Auschwitz during World War II, that kind of journalism is “not fit to print.”