The Two-Minus-One Pregnancy

Posted By on August 13, 2011

This chilling piece appeared in this week’s New York Times Magazine. Having recently re-read Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, I could only shudder at the clear parallels. We have truly lost our moorings when “reducing” a pregnancy (by aborting one child) can be treated as plain old “consumerism”:

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….

“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.” …

[W]hat began as an intervention for extreme medical circumstances has quietly become an option for women carrying twins. With that, pregnancy reduction shifted from a medical decision to an ethical dilemma. As science allows us to intervene more than ever at the beginning and the end of life, it outruns our ability to reach a new moral equilibrium. We still have to work out just how far we’re willing to go to construct the lives we want….

“Something about that whole situation just seemed unethical to me,” the commentator continued. “I just couldn’t sleep at night knowing that I terminated my daughter’s perfectly healthy twin brother.”

“Reach a new moral equilibrium?” Meaning we can reinvent our morals as we go along to “construct the lives we want?” So it seems. What we really need is a return to the old moral equilibrium–one where human life is not a plaything or a commodity to be created or extinguished for our pleasure or convenience. Human dignity is rooted in the fact that we are created in the image of God, which gives us a transcendent right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” That we know this deep down is evidenced by the fact that the women making this horrific choice still have qualms about it and feel guilty–guilty enough that they cannot bear to look at the human life flickering on the ultrasound monitor just before the doctor plunges in the needle to destroy it. God have mercy on us.

Read the entire piece HERE.

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About The Author

Jennie is the wife of Matthew and mother of ten children, all of whom keep the household bubbling with life, learning, and levity. Jennie co-founded LAF in 2002 with Lydia Sherman and has been delighted to hear from women all over the world who enjoy their femininity and love to cultivate womanly virtues.

Comments

6 Responses to “The Two-Minus-One Pregnancy”

  1. joysofboys says:

    This article reveals the dark side of infertility treatments, which can either be used responsibly in a life honoring manner, or, in this instance, in a purely selfish manner. That choosing which child to love, and which to discard should be approached so capriciously is tragic.
    Having endured 7 years of infertility, followed by a 2nd trimester fetal demise, and 5 more years of infertility before being blessed with our first living child, such a story obviously hits a nerve.

    If only one child meets a self-imposed criteria of a perfect family, please go out and adopt that one child. This is not a matter of going to the mall and deciding whether to pick the blue sweater or the pink one. Rather, “pregnancy reduction” for purposes of perceived convenience amounts to sacrificing your child on the altar of your own ambition.

  2. kcar38 says:

    Just when you think it can’t get any more bizarre…
    This article made me so sad.

  3. Amy says:

    That article just makes me so sad. I can completely understand longing and praying for a child, but treating these blessings like consumer goods and terminating one just because you only wanted one and not two? That is just chilling to me.

  4. rubberbacon says:

    I’ve read other articles like this. It’s very sad. I was pregnant with twins and lost one around 14 weeks. Prior to the baby passing I was given the option to selectively abort since I was told it would not be born normal. I chose to wait on God.

    Now, after having two kids, I just can’t imagine what would make a woman chose between babies who are not even born? It’s ridiculous to decide who is going to be a better “son” or “daughter”. You just don’t know what blessings your life will be filled with when those precious babies are born. I honestly cannot even fathom how a women can make this choice.

  5. Abbysmom says:

    kcar38 and joysofboys, I agree with you 100+%.

    As to the docs who say that it’s more difficult to carry twins…maybe in some exceptional circumstances, but welcome to my world.

    I graduated from a small midwestern high school (~500 students) in the early ’70′s. During my senior year, I remember at least 4 sets of twins without even having to think about it. All were typical healthy teens. Although we lived close to a city with excellent medical care, you can’t tell me that OB and maternal care isn’t more advanced than now it was 40 years ago.

  6. Darleen says:

    I am a twin. Can’t imagine life without my sister! Enjoyed being a twin so much so that I always wanted to have twins. The Lord allowed me to carry twins for a short time, then miscarried one – very grieved at one time, but realized that God knew what is best for our family. Looking forward to meeting this child in heaven one day.

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