Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Two-Minus-One Still Equals Murder

Ok, so I took some time before tackling this one, but this article by the NY Times called "The Two-Minus-One Pregnancy" really amazed me and NOT in a good way.  It really just lays out for me how wrong things are in our society.  People are making the best "choices" for themselves, but these choices have serious negative consequences, not just including death to the unborn twin or triplet.  I like that people call these procedures a "reduction" when really these procedures are an abortion, plain and simple.  They merely choose which baby is going to possibly survive, assuming the baby makes it through to term.  I'm sure I'm going to get the "who are you to judge" question at some point.  I have a hard time with this "reduction" being at all ok.  This post is probably going to be sarcastic and at times a bit on the angry side. 

I'm going to put snippets of this article by RUTH PADAWER from the NY Times here in red with my reactions in black. 

here she was, 14 weeks into her pregnancy, choosing to extinguish one of two healthy fetuses, almost as if having half an abortion.
Well, partly.  She is not having "half an abortion," she is having a whole abortion.  Not almost as if.  Sorry, that is what she is doing, having a whole abortion, choosing which life matters more.
"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."
She is right, pregnancy and having children, there IS a natural order.  It should REMAIN a natural order.  Interesting that she wouldn't have reduced the twins if this happened naturally.  Is this how people justify it?  Oh, so this is just another choice, another thing we can control.  Lovely.  Playing God?  This irks me beyond belief.  Having a baby is not a right, it is a GIFT.  It is not something that should be done artificially just because it CAN be done artificially.  Yes, it makes having a baby "consumerish."  Sorry, but she said it, not me.  And I agree.  And this is a big part of why the Church sees artificial means of generating life as wrong.
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.
Nothing to give your older children?  Really?  I know that a newborn takes up a lot of your energy, but does she really want her older children thinking they are the center of the universe?  It seems as though people worry about not giving their other children enough attention when a baby is born.  I know when I had my second I was worried about the same thing.  But I'm glad that I have another child.  It means that the oldest doesn't think the world revolves around her.  And the baby learns that sometimes she has to wait too.  This is an important lesson for children, and probably for some adults too.  Here's another set of questions:  Did she give her second child only half her love?  As a parent already, I would think that she knows you love every child totally and completely.  This would make her a second-rate parent?  Perhaps it is her mindset that will make her a second-rate parent.

The procedure, which is usually performed around Week 12 of a pregnancy, involves a fatal injection of potassium chloride into the fetal chest. The dead fetus shrivels over time and remains in the womb until delivery. Some physicians found reduction unnerving, particularly because the procedure is viewed under ultrasound, making it quite visually explicit, which is not the case with abortion.
This procedure is viewed under ultrasound at 12 weeks!  I would think it would be visually explicit!  This is killing, it should be unnerving.  Perhaps they should have all abortions also be done under ultrasound and make that unnerving for the physicians as well.  Here's what happened so far through the 12 weeks of development:   at 5 weeks, the tiny heart begins to divide into chambers and beat and pump blood; at 9 weeks, the baby's heart finishes dividing into four chambers, and the valves start to form, the baby's organs, muscles, and nerves are kicking into gear; at 10 weeks the vital organs — including his kidneys, intestines, brain, and liver — are in place and starting to function;  at 12 weeks, reflexes have developed, fingers will soon begin to open and close, toes will curl, eye muscles will clench, and the mouth will make sucking movements. In fact, if the abdomen is prodded, the baby will squirm in response, nerve cells are multiplying rapidly, and in the baby's brain, synapses are forming furiously. The face looks unquestionably human.  This is what you are reducing.  Yes, the baby will feel it!

Another women who underwent fertility treatments became pregnant with triplets while her husband was overseas and most doctors would not reduce below twins.  She eventually did find a doctor willing to reduce her triplets to a singleton:

"I felt like the pregnancy was a monster, and I just wanted it out, but because we tried for so long, abortion wasn’t an option. My No. 1 priority was to be the best mom I could be, but how was I supposed to juggle two newborns or two screaming infants while my husband was away being shot at? We don’t have family just sitting around waiting to get called to help me with a baby."
Interestingly enough, her mother went with her when she got the reduction.  Perhaps her mother would have found time to help out when she had the twins. Just a thought.  I know not everyone has all the help from family available to them, but there are organizations, churches that provide no or low cost help for people with little means.
Today, her daughter is 2½ years old. Shelby intends to tell her about the reduction someday, to teach her that women have choices, even if they’re sometimes difficult. “I am the mother of a very demanding toddler,” she says. “I can’t imagine this times two, and not ever knowing if I’d have another person here to help me. This is what I can handle. I’m good with this. But that’s all.”
What happens when she tells her daughter, if she ever find the right time to do so?  Will her daughter ask, what about my possible brother or sister, or what if you had killed me, mom?  What kind of emotional problems might this daughter feel after hearing the news?  Is the mom prepared for this?
It’s not only the parents who may feel guilty. Even if parents work hard to conceal it, the child may discover the full story of his or her origins, and we don’t know what feelings of guilt or vulnerability or loss this discovery might summon.
Yes, as I wondered above, the child who is "wanted" may feel horrible guilt over this decision made by their parents.  What then?  What about an angry backlash?

Another woman was horrified to learn that she had twins after visiting friends who had a three year old and infant twins.  Her friends looked exhausted, beaten and overrun.  She had this to say after NOT aborting one of the two babies: 
"Studies report enormous disruption in families with multiples, and higher levels of social isolation, exhaustion and depression in mothers of twins. The incessant demands of caring for two same-aged babies eclipse the needs of other children and the marriage. It certainly did for us. There’s no doubt that life with twins and a third child so close in age has often felt all-consuming and out of control. And yet the thought of not having any one of them is unbearable now, because they are no longer shadowy fetuses but full-fledged human beings whom I love in a huge and aching way."
I think most people who fear they may not be able to handle it would not be able to imagine their lives without that second "fetus."  They are babies.  People need to face this and not just treat a baby as disposable.

A woman and her partner wanted to have a baby, but both women were 45 so they both underwent IVF.  They both had a difficult time conceiving, and then both got pregnant, one woman miscarrying.  The first woman did carry to term a healthy baby boy.  They decided they wanted to have another baby.  So they underwent IVF again, both of them. 
On their son’s first birthday, both women found out they were pregnant, both with twins. The women were tempted to reduce both pregnancies, so each woman would carry one, in part to ensure that even if one miscarried, they would have at least one baby. “But we discovered that the reality of having two pregnant moms when you have a 14-month-old is insane. We’ve both been very ill from the pregnancies, and it’s been hard to give him what he needs. At 14 months, they’re inquisitive and energetic, and it was becoming harder and harder to chase him and get him up and down the slide. There were days I’d be in the bathroom throwing up, she’d be on all fours with him, and then we’d switch. We all think we can conquer the world, but then reality hits you, and you realize you have limitations.” 
This is going to be horribly insensitive, but this is probably why it takes a male and a female to get pregnant.  That way one parent is available to help with the other child/children.  Yes, there are limitations.  Exactly.
I still wonder, Did we choose the right one? — even though I wasn’t the one who chose. That idea, that one’s gone and one’s here, it’s almost like playing God.
Almost? ALMOST?!!?  Really?  I think it IS playing God.
I mean, who are we to choose?
Yes, who ARE you to choose!!??

The woman was asked what would happen if she wound up losing the pregnancy after all. “We’ve talked a lot about it,” she said, after a bit. “I’ve come to realize there’s only so much we can control. There’s a point where you just have to let nature take its course.”
How about if we let nature SET and TAKE its course.

The Catholic Church is against abortion in all forms, for obvious reasons - it is killing.  No human life is less valuable due to the circumstances of how or why the life came to be.  Pretty simple really.  The less obvious part of the equation here is that the church stands against any type of artificial means of generating life.  There is a slippery slope here.  The moral relativism that I've spoken of in previous posts is so apparent to me.  We are trying to artificially CREATE something good, not CHOOSE to accept the gift of something good.  There is an absolute truth, especially when it comes to the truth of our sexuality.  We have decided to take the humanity, the dignity of the male and female as persons out of the beauty of the life giving unitive act that points us to the love of God.  Generation of life outside of the unitive act is just mechanics, not the beautiful miracle that a new created life actually is.  IVF and artificial means of having a baby treat a person as a commodity.  This is what the Church sees as wrong.

Even as I say this, I know more than a few couples who struggle with infertility.  It pains me to hear of their struggles.  I hope that they will be able to have children of their own someday.  Whenever I can, I try to point them toward Natural Family Planning.  This is definitely an option that is natural, more cost effective (supposing no major surgery or other intervention is necessary) and searches out the underlying causes of infertility.  It doesn't treat every woman as though her situation is the same as everyone else and we just need to get her pregnant and try to help her stay pregnant.

There is so much in the article that I didn't even touch upon.  But I just don't understand the justification.  I can't see how people view this reduction to singleton as a viable "choice."  Two-Minus-One still equals murder, no matter how you frame the argument...


  1. Seriously, no comments after 3 days?
    I agree 100% with everything you wrote. Keep on evangelizing! I linked here from Conversion Diary. I am a revert, too-- (and I lived in NH from 1971-1982.).
    May God bless you and your family! My 12 year old daughter saw a tv commercial with a difficult preschooler wreaking havoc in a grocery store. After all the drama and negative feelings generated towards this unruly guy, the ad "warned:" "Be proactive; use a condom.". My daughter was horrified. That generated some conversation. She suddenly realized that she or her brothers might not exist if her dad and I had followed said advice. Prayerfully, Jet

  2. Most of my friends who read my blog do not agree with me. It is tough sometimes being a Catholic in our world today. Most people just see you as bigoted, arrogant, intolerant. But I do think that pointing out the truth rather than staying quiet is important these days, whether people want to hear it, believe it or not.

    I believe I have seen that ad, or something similar. So glad to hear that it generated a conversation with your daughter. It is horrific and I'm glad that young people are watching ads with an open eye to what the real message is. So many people do not. Good job raising your daughter.

    Thanks for linking here. God bless you and your family as well! --Catholic Mom in NH