The Republican presidential candidates have agreed lately that one of America’s big problems is that we don’t manufacture things here anymore. That’s not entirely accurate. We manufacture babies now, and business is booming, both for the makers and the destroyers. One of the women featured in that hideous NY Times magazine story, “The Two-Minus-One Pregnancy” articulated it perfectly:
“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.”
The story attempts to deal with the ethical dilemma caused by the increasingly common practice of “reducing” triplet and twin pregnancies when the mother says she only wants one child. The author, Ruth Padawer, asks, “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.”
Indeed, she has a point. Just the wrong point. The point is it’s reprehensible no matter how many babies are being terminated. But in this case it’s particularly odious because these parents requisitioned their babies and then discarded the “extras” they decided they didn’t want. In a bid for sympathy, we’re told how these women keep their “reduction” to themselves for fear of disapproval.
“Secrecy is common among women undergoing reduction to a singleton. Doctors who perform the procedure, aware of the stigma, tell patients to be cautious about revealing their decision. Some patients are so afraid of being treated with disdain that they withhold this information from the obstetrician who will deliver their child.”
Awww, the poor, poor people so afraid of disdain and the sting of judgment! Sorry, I can’t spare a tear.
It is astonishing that our society still isn’t shocked and sickened by what we’re doing to our own children. Good grief, people, what does it take to get your attention? What does it take to awaken the natural instinct to protect a child from harm? What does it take to blow away the fog and see things as they really are?
(Ironically, the abortion zealots took great offense at the NY Times story, too. Sunsara Taylor over at RH Reality Check had a hissy fit over the “Moral Agonizing about Women’s Reproductive Rights.” She writes, “The only basis for viewing the decision of a woman not to carry every fetus to term as a “moral” or “ethical dilemma” is the unscientific lie that treats fetuses like people, rather than as a subordinate part of a woman’s body.”)
One of the more outrageous segments of the NY Times story was about Shelby Van Voris who became pregnant with triplets while under the care of a fertility specialist. With her husband deployed in Iraq, Shelby was pumped full of hormone injections and then artificially inseminated with the sperm he’d left behind. When the doctor told her she was expecting three babies, she yelled at him, “This is not an option for us! I want only one!”
He then referred her to another doctor who did “reductions”, but was told the staff refused to reduce pregnancies below twins. Three other doctors told her the same thing. “It was horrible,” Shelby said. “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.”
Shelby eventually found her way to Dr. Evans in New York and flew there for the “procedure.” She told Dr. Evans, “You choose whoever is going to be safe and healthy. I didn’t give him any other criteria. I didn’t choose gender. None of that was up for grabs, because I had to make this as ethically O.K. for me as I could. But I wanted only one.”
But wait, didn’t she just say that since they’d tried for so long abortion wasn’t an option? Then what exactly did she pay to have done to two of her babies? A “reduction”? How is that not an abortion? What did she think was done to them? Where are they now? They’re dead. For $6,500, she got precisely what she wanted: one.
Shelby left the doctor’s office “incredibly relieved. ‘I went out on that street with my mother and jumped up and down saying, “I’m pregnant! I’m pregnant!’ And then I went out and bought baby clothes for the first time.”
Someone please tell me what kind of person is relieved that two of her babies have been destroyed? And spare me the admonishment not to judge. It’s appropriate to judge these acts evil and question the morality of one who commits such evil. We have to call it what it is. It flourishes in our nation precisely because people are afraid to “judge.” They fear nothing like they fear being labeled judgmental. They’d rather hide behind sophistry and euphemisms, like “reduction.” What are we reducing again? Oh, that’s right – innocent human beings. How, exactly? Just a lethal shot in the heart. No biggie.
That a mother could dance in the street and celebrate after having paid for the execution of two of her babies because she “only wanted one” is chilling and grotesque beyond words. Two babies had to die for this woman’s intolerable selfishness. Stop calling it an option or a personal choice. It is the most abhorrent violence.
We have a thoroughly backwards sense of the unthinkable in our culture. It ought to be unthinkable for parents and doctors to target babies in the womb for execution. Instead, we find it unthinkable that they should not have that “option.” We find it intolerable that they should be criticized and disgraced. Pitiful are we who find it more objectionable to hurt someone’s feelings than to expose evil and defend the helpless.
In the slavery of the modern age, we buy and sell children as our property. We “own” them in the way that gives us absolute power over their very lives. We do not receive them anymore as gifts; instead we manufacture them at will and afford them no greater value than any other expensive trinket we buy for our momentary craving.
We pay to bring them into existence for our own purposes and then when they become inconvenient, we arrange for their demise with barely a second thought. When the ethicality of their deaths becomes a bit muddled for us, we employ clever terms like “reduction”, “choice” and “reproductive rights”.
We assuage our guilt (what little we feel) by insisting that the baby isn’t human, isn’t a person yet, but merely a “fetus” (a term which now has a pejorative cast) and that makes it all better. Never mind that it’s absolute bull. We want to believe it because we need to believe it in order to prop up the illusion that we’re not really exterminating our own kids with less compassion and concern than the pest control guy has for the cockroaches in our homes.
We kill our babies, but we add unthinkable insult to unimaginable injury by denying them their humanity. We call them blobs of insentient tissue; parasites; invaders. But worst of all, we call them unwanted, even after we’ve gone to ridiculous lengths to manufacture them. We order ‘em up, and we order ‘em killed.
But heaven forbid we should suffer any moral agonizing.