Sacrificing a child on the altar of Personal Preference and Convenience

Deleting a Twin
Deleting a twin for convenience... How wretchedly sad. (Image edited from an image of a beautiful set of twins by We El at nl.wikipedia, click for original and license.)

This article is rather popular on the website of Canada’s National Post, today: “When is twins too many?”

For those who have never heard of selective abortion as a procedure to voluntarily reduce unexpected multiple pregnancies, it may be an eye-opener. I have stated before (beginning here, I think, and in a Tomorrows World commentary here) that I think the pro-life crowd in America should consider whether it is being hypocritical, in that it frequently attacks abortion but seems to turn a blind eye to the practices of fertility clinics, which routinely create multiple pregnancies in which several of the developing babies are killed so as to reduce the pregancies to only one or two (not to mention leaving many in a frozen state of “limbo,” pretending that this is some sort of moral alternative to destroying them).

From the article:

“The very notion of a procedure that selectively eliminates fetuses, letting others live, is little known and almost never debated in the broader community, said Maxwell Smith, a University of Toronto doctoral student.

“‘While there is a lot of discussion in academic circles and lay circles about abortion, you don’t have these discussions happening so much around pregnancy reduction,’ said Mr. Smith, who spoke about the issues at a major U.S. bio-ethics conference recently.

“‘That puts a lot of patients and health-care workers in a situation where there might be a lot of moral distress, because they’re not sure what the ethical considerations are.'”


“There seems to be little ethical debate around reduction for triplets or more, when the technique clearly curbs the chances of a pregnancy being lost entirely or the babies born with serious health problems. Some experts, however, call even those cases a largely hidden symptom of a fertility industry whose work has helped increase the number of multiple births by over 40% in the past 20 years.

“Often, those multiples are conceived because clinics transfer a number of embryos into a woman undergoing in-vitro fertilization treatment, boosting the chances of pregnancy.

“‘It troubles me a lot because it’s avoidable,’ Dr. Jon Barrett, an obstetrician-gynecologist at Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. ‘We are forcing people to make a terrible choice because we haven’t been sensible.'”

Dr. Barrett’s comments should be enlightening.

If killing a baby because one does not want it is wrong, then what makes it OK to seek medical help to have one baby if it will mean killing three others?

I know that life-or-death choices when there are real dangers is truly heartbreaking. And the effects of such choices are deep and long lasting. Also from the article:

“Medical professionals often do not recognize that fetal reduction can be traumatic, said Ms. Haddon. She knows of one mother who years after a reduction still watches her children in the playground, thinking ‘there should have been more.’

“‘These poor parents are caught between a rock and a hard place,’ she said. ‘They tried so hard to get pregnant and probably spent a lot of time, energy, emotion, money and now they have to kill some of them, now they have to reduce. Even though the child was lost through reduction, it lives on, in mind and fantasy.'”

These choices are sometimes faced even by those who are not seeking artificial help for their infertility. If this were the norm, then the discussion over these practices would be totally different. But as the article points out, this case is sadly not the norm in these situations:

“The classic twin-reduction case, however, involves a couple on their second marriage who have children and want just one more addition — and might end the whole pregnancy otherwise, Dr. Evans said. ‘In North America, couples can choose to have an abortion for any reason,’ he noted.”

That kind of reasoning is highlighted by one couple from Burlington, Ontario, featured in the article in more detail (emphasis mine):

“Like so many other couples these days, the Toronto-area business executive and her husband put off having children for years as they built successful careers. Both parents were in their 40s — and their first son just over a year old — when this spring the woman became pregnant a second time. Seven weeks in, an ultrasound revealed the Burlington, Ont., resident was carrying twins. ‘It came as a complete shock,’ said the mother, who asked not to be named. “We’re both career people. If we were going to have three children two years apart, someone else was going to be raising our kids. … All of a sudden our lives as we know them and as we like to lead them, are not going to happen.’

“…The Burlington woman, however, says she has no regrets, and believes the option should be openly available to all parents expecting twins.

“‘I’m absolutely sure I did the right thing,’ she said. ‘I had read some online forums, people were speaking of grieving, feeling a sense of loss. I didn’t feel any of that. Not that I’m a cruel, bitter person … I just didn’t feel I would be able to care for (twins) in a way that I wanted to.‘”

Another child sacrificed on the altar of Personal Preference and Convenience.

What happens if a child develops a condition two years later which prevents his or her parents from living life as they “like to lead them” or which prevents them from caring for the child in the way they “wanted to”?

Just how close are we to a culture in which a newborn child can be legally killed a month after birth, as envisioned by controversial (though not controversial enough) bioethicist Peter Singer? After all, some conditions do not develop until after birth — if mere convenience, socio-economic considerations, or even simple personal preferences are the chief deciding factors, why stop at “reducing” fetuses? If only the law prevents us, what prevents the law from being changed?

What a horrific mentality this society is developing towards human life, and the God who forms us in the womb (Psalm 139:13) is watching. More than that, He will bring a reckoning.

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(I’ve quoted the article profusely, but it does have much more. Give them some well-earned traffic and click on through to read the whole article: “When is twins too many?” I appreciate that they have covered the negative side of an industry that does not receive enough attention and a practice that is talked about too little.)

5 thoughts on “Sacrificing a child on the altar of Personal Preference and Convenience

  1. Lisa Lord

    I have three children; ages 24, 22, and 9. Every child is a blessing from God. After God blessed my husband and I with two sons early in our marriage we decided that was enough children since I clearly had my hands full. (I am a stay-at-home mom.) However, I unexpectedly became pregnant with my daughter at the age of 40! I did not know that I was having a girl until the child was delivered. During my pregnancy I was in a very bad mood and my sons wanted me to get an abortion but I told them that was against my religion and I told myself that God only said I could not kill my baby, but it would be okay if I put the child up for adoption. Well, my blessing from God is now 9 years old (yes, I kept my beautiful daughter) and my question to other mothers is, why not give your baby away to one of the many couples who cannot have children? That is the right thing to do if you cannot raise the child yourself.

  2. Steve

    Yeah, I don’t get it. Seems like people don’t value human life anymore. Just another piece of protoplasm, I guess.

    We held up our boys before God when they were born. We showed Him a new life and future Son, and we asked Him to look out for them, despite our own flaws. Probably sounds like some kind of archaic and ugly thing in our modern world. Thing is, the boys are turning into outstanding young men, excellent in every way. We’re so proud of them (proud in the good sense of the word). The absolute apples of our eye.

    Children are the crown jewels of life.

  3. Michael

    Being unmarried and not having children because of that I delighted in my nieces and nephews always and now do so with their children when the opportunity arises. But we can look forward to a time when abortion will be a thing of the past and all children will be born into joyful lives.

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