Our Humanity Selectively Reduced

By Dave Andrusko

My wife and I virtually never see a new show when it first airs. Typically, one of our kids alerts us to something they think we would like. And thus far (we are months behind and have only seen the first three episodes), “This is Us” fits the bill.

Let me mention just the opening scene, which is set in the 80s or 90s. The mother is talking to her unborn babies–all three of them! Her assurances to her babies and her commitment to protecting them is enough to melt your heart.

I will say no more other than that the twist (as my middle daughter promised me) is incredibly life-affirming.

As I watched that first episode, I could not help thinking about a post I wrote about one of those stories that you simply will never forget. It, too, dealt with a couple and triplets but with a tragically different ending. The title was “The New Scar on My Soul.”

The author is anonymous, and I will provide few details here because you really do need to read this dirge, this lament from the bottom of his soul.

The outline is simply that having conceived one child via IVF (“the light of our lives”), the couple decided they wanted another child. The doctors implanted three embryos, all “took,” but his wife decided she would not carry three babies.

She would not carry two babies. She would “selectively reduce” triplets to one baby (in the abortion trade the survivor is glibly described as a “singleton.”)

His sad account is of his futile efforts to dissuade her; of the lies they are told about how the babies will all die if they didn’t; of his wife’s ambivalence until the very end; of the horror of having to choose between one baby and “none”; implicitly, of the damage done to his marriage; and of the punishment he believes he deserves– “For I have failed, intentionally and knowingly, in the first duty of a parent: protecting the lives of two of my children.”

The author bares his soul to the reader in “The New Scar on My Soul.”