Think on the moral implications of this story in the New York Times Magazine:
As Jenny lay on the obstetrician’s examination table, she was grateful that the ultrasound tech had turned off the overhead screen. She didn’t want to see the two shadows floating inside her. Since making her decision, she had tried hard not to think about them, though she could often think of little else. She was 45 and pregnant after six years of fertility bills, ovulation injections, donor eggs and disappointment — and yet here she was, 14 weeks into her pregnancy, choosing to extinguish one of two healthy fetuses, almost as if having half an abortion. As the doctor inserted the needle into Jenny’s abdomen, aiming at one of the fetuses, Jenny tried not to flinch, caught between intense relief and intense guilt.
Jenny’s decision to reduce twins to a single fetus was never really in doubt. The idea of managing two infants at this point in her life terrified her. She and her husband already had grade-school-age children, and she took pride in being a good mother. She felt that twins would soak up everything she had to give, leaving nothing for her older children. Even the twins would be robbed, because, at best, she could give each one only half of her attention and, she feared, only half of her love. Jenny desperately wanted another child, but not at the risk of becoming a second-rate parent. “This is bad, but it’s not anywhere as bad as neglecting your child or not giving everything you can to the children you have,” she told me, referring to the reduction. She and her husband worked out this moral calculation on their own, and they intend to never tell anyone about it. Jenny is certain that no one, not even her closest friends, would understand, and she doesn’t want to be the object of their curiosity or feel the sting of their judgment.
What is it about terminating half a twin pregnancy that seems more controversial than reducing triplets to twins or aborting a single fetus? After all, the math’s the same either way: one fewer fetus. Perhaps it’s because twin reduction (unlike abortion) involves selecting one fetus over another, when either one is equally wanted. Perhaps it’s our culture’s idealized notion of twins as lifelong soul mates, two halves of one whole. Or perhaps it’s because the desire for more choices conflicts with our discomfort about meddling with ever more aspects of reproduction.
Apparently, the NY Times Magazine is revealing a practice that has been going on for decades. Ironically, most of these doctors are supporters of abortion, but will often refuse to reduce a pregnancy below twins. The moral debate going on here is astounding. Put plain and simple, this is abortion, only by another name. New tests can also know a baby's gender as early as seven weeks, in utero. Gender selection is next, if it's not here already.
Read the whole NY Times Magazine article here: The Two-Minus-One Pregnancy
- Magazine Preview: The Two-Minus-One Pregnancy (nytimes.com)
- Latest Trend: Aborting One Fetus In Twin Pregnancy (sfist.com)
- Abortion in America: terminating one twin (guardian.co.uk)
- Is it ethical to reduce a pregnancy from two to one? (sfgate.com)
- Woman Wins Court Order Against Self-Induced Abortion Ban [Roe V World] (jezebel.com)