Editor’s note. This first appeared on the blog of Right to Life of Michigan
“Selective reduction” is a euphemism to describe a procedure in which one or more unborn children are aborted in a multiple pregnancy. Potassium chloride is injected into the heart of the unborn child (or children) which causes the heart to stop and the child to die. In the past, it was typically performed when women became pregnant with 3 or more children and fertility doctors believed killing one or more of the unborn children would increase the likelihood of the other children surviving after birth.
As the ideology of choice grows stronger within some portions of our society, “selective reduction” has become increasingly trendy among women who become pregnant with twins after using in-vitro fertilization.
The New York Times’ Magazine recently featured a story on women who, after becoming pregnant with twins through in‑vitro fertilization, decide to have one of their twins aborted. Since having twins isn’t dramatically dangerous to the twins or the mother, the reasons for these selective reduction abortions were purely for the convenience of the mother. One mother even describes her pregnancy as “consumerish” with multiple choices. Deciding to abort one twin was just another choice to be made.
According to the article, in 1997, only 15 percent of selective reduction abortions at one of the biggest fertility clinics in New York were abortions where multiple pregnancies were aborted down to single children. By 2010, that number had risen to 61 percent. What was once irregular is now common.
While some fertility doctors refuse to kill a twin for convenience, others see this practice as merely a case of ethics “evolv(ing) with technology.” Or rather a case of how making a career out of killing some children can quickly lead down the slippery slope to where all ethical boundaries get tossed out the window in favor of granting more choices.
One woman interviewed even admits if she had conceived twins naturally, she wouldn’t have aborted one of her twins. However, since the children were created in “such an artificial manner” that “making a decision about how many to carry seemed to be just another choice” and deciding if they wanted one or two children “became yet another thing (they) could control.”
So much thought was given to what they wanted and so little thought to the consequences of what they were considering. So focused were these women on what they desired, they blocked out the fact they were intentionally ending the life of one of their own children. Not only did they rob themselves of a child, they robbed their children of a sibling.