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May 21, 2007

Choosing which life

Twinswomb This is one of the most heartbreaking articles I've read in a long time. The article discusses "selective reduction," the deliberate killing of one or more babies in utero to reduce the number of children a mother is carrying.

Most of this is "necessary" because of reproductive technology that significantly increases the likelihood of multiples. Unfortunately, carrying multiples means a high-risk pregnancy.

Conflicted over the ethical and moral dimensions of her job, the sonographer in the story told the reporter, "Some of these people tried to get pregnant for the past five years and prayed to God. And now that they are pregnant, they are telling God: You gave me too many. I sometimes feel like we are playing God, and that is very emotionally stressful."

Ironically, while medical technology has advanced, giving premature babies a better chance at a healthy life, the doctor featured in this story has actually become more willing to eliminate babies.

When he was working to establish bioethical principles, Evans decided that he would not reduce a normal twin pregnancy. He would take somebody from three to two, but he would not take somebody from two to one....But Evans's thinking has changed. He is willing now to reduce two to one, and he does so. Not often, but the incidence is increasing. There are now data showing that reducing one twin does not affect the physical well-being of the twin who remains. Plus, many of his patients are women in their late 30s and early 40s, some married for the second time. Both partners may already have children, and what they want is one child together.

Is your heart breaking yet?

The heart of one mother who chose to eliminate one of her triplets is apparently breaking still. She told the Washington Post reporter:

"Now that I know my two daughters, looking at them, I think: It could have been you," she continued. "You terminated an embryo that could have turned into a baby you would love as much as the ones that you have, and that's hard."

(Ed. note: Reporter Liza Mundy will discuss this article online at 1 p.m. ET today. Go here to submit a question or just to read the discussion.)

(Photo courtesy of the Daily Mail)

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Christina Dunigan

It's nice to know that the mother who killed one of her triplets has the capacity for repentence. It's sad that she's so heartbroken, but that's better than having such a hard heart that you can kill one of your children without any remorse.

Carol Haro-Halperson

As I read the article, I, too, was saddened by each new turn it took and appalled by each incremental step of self-justification the doctor has taken in his practice. I am angered by the more than ample lies, but also hurting for the doctor, his staff, and his patients. I've fallen for too many subtleties in my own life, and, like one of the patients, have felt the pressures of generations of Latina mothers. All the righteous choices and decisions I've made have been by the grace and power of Christ alone. And by Him alone I am also angered by the evil that stops the heart of one baby while leading the reporter to comment that the remaining ones seemed oblivious to the death. I simply cannot believe that. The evil we encounter is both large and so minute. It is always evil, and so frequently subtle and "right" sounding.


I feel a pit in my stomach like I haven't in some time. I hope that many people read this article and are equally distressed. I appreciate the seemingly difficult situation that these parents are in but I also cannot push out of my mind the image of an active, swimming, little fetus.

12-weeks into pregnancy is too late to start addressing this problem. We need to start addressing it by tackling the notions that biological children are somehow superior to adopted children and that individuals who with pregnancy difficulties are somehow more broken.

I long for the day when not a single baby is "reduced" ... what an awful term.

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