Monday 22 August 2011

Where does it end?

Ever since I saw the link to it on James Preece's blog, I have been hoping someone else would pick up this piece and do the analysis. I simply found it too harrowing. However, nobody has, as far as I have seen. And it does need to be done.

The piece appears in the New York Times Magazine site, and is called The Two-Minus-One Pregnancy. It concerns what is euphemistically called 'pregnancy reduction' - that is aborting one or more children from a multiple pregnancy (twins or triplets) to leave only one to be born.

Here is an extract with my comments [in italics]:

As Jenny lay on the obstetrician’s examination table, she was grateful that the ultrasound tech had turned off the overhead screen. [Yes, who would want to see the reality of what she was just asking them to do...? - How much better to bury your head in the sand.] 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 [what an interesting choice of words...] one of two healthy fetuses [another significant word choice], almost as if having half an abortion [or more precisely, exactly as if...] . 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 [yes, we should pity - and pray for - this woman, caught between her conscience and what she has been educated to think is right...]

“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,” [there are always reasons, of course - but are any of these reasons to kill a child? Really?] she said later. “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 very clearly lays out the connection between the separation of procreation from natural human loving sexuality, and seeing the ‘product’ of conception as a consumer item, to be treated as any other product, depending on whether it is wanted or unwanted.]


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. [Yes she has been well-educated in fear.] 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. [This is one of the great lies of the modern age: propagated above all by those who lack the generosity of spirit to have a large family. You will rarely hear mothers of large families saying anything like this.] 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. [Again, experience shows that more the more children one has, the more love there is to go around. Paradoxical, perhaps, but true; and I write as the youngest child of a large (8 kids) family]. Jenny desperately wanted another child, but not at the risk of becoming a second-rate parent. [No, only on her terms...] “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,” [yes, of course, killing one of your children is not anywhere near as bad as ‘not giving everything you can to the children you have’] she told me, referring to the reduction [another significant lexical choice...]. 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. [Poor, sad woman: she knows she is doing something terrible.]

Pray for her, for her children living and dead, and for all who place themselves, or find themselves, in such a terrible place.

And pray especially for the medics who collude with this, and corrupt their vocation and themselves, so that they cannot see how contrary to their calling this killing is.

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