“This is not what I want for my life.”

Hidden within the prose of the New York Times article, The Two-Minus-One Pregnancy, are three ideas I want to illuminate: moral decay, profound selfishness, and willful disregard of conscience.

Moral Decay

Mark Evans is an OBGYN and an abortionist. He was one of the pioneers who brought “pregnancy reduction” – killing babies that share the womb with one desired baby. Being an ethically minded man, he decided the practice needed guidelines and one of them was that “most reductions below twins violated ethical principles.”

The ethically sound reduction procedure begins with an ultrasound in the 12th week of a pregnancy. The physician identifies which child will die and deftly injects a needle into the baby’s chest. Then he releases potassium chloride into the child and stops a beating heart (that began on day 22, week 4). Gianna Jessen survived a procedure like this.

This baby is twelve weeks into her development.

By week twelve, developing babies have eyes and eyelids, arms and legs, hands, fingers, and fingernails, feet and toes, every organ in place, their skeletal structure, nerves, and vocal chords. This baby hiccups, urinates, kicks, swims, hears, turns its head, frowns, grasps objects, and sucks his thumb. [source]

Evans knows he’s taking a life. His self-justification was “to increase a woman’s chance of bringing home a healthy baby, because medical risks rise with every fetus she carries.” As an ethical man, he didn’t want to be associated with an industry that killed on a whim, so he told his fellow OBGYN’s to resist becoming “technicians to our patients desires.” This was in 1988, but in 2004 Evans changed his mind.

Now he endorses and performs abortions including those that leave just one child living. He grew concerned that the risks associated with carrying twins had increased and when “experienced hands like his” performed the abortions, miscarriages were unlikely. According to Dr. Evans, “Ethics evolve with technology.”

His slide was almost inevitable.

This particular slide can be traced back to Darwin. Margaret Sanger wholeheartedly embraced evolution and believed women were being restricted from evolving due to pregnancies and time out of the workforce. As a solution, she introduced birth control pills. Birth control led to the morning after pill (pharmaceutical abortion), which led to illegal, surgical abortions, which led to legal abortions, and now we have “reductions.” When you place a marble on a hill it will end up in the valley.

Profound Selfishness

“I couldn’t have imagined reducing twins for nonmedical reasons but I had an amino and would have had an abortion if I found out that one of the babies had an anomaly, even if it wasn’t life-threatening. I didn’t want to raise a handicapped child. Some people would call that selfish, but I wouldn’t. Parents who abort for an anomaly just don’t want that life for themselves, and it’s their prerogative to fashion their lives how they want.” – Dr. Naomi Bloomfield

Consider me one of the people who call abortion, especially “reductions,” selfish. Yes, even in the case of a rape. That doesn’t mean I am unsympathetic to women who have been raped and became pregnant, because I am. Rapist should be punished, but babies shouldn’t. We learn two wrongs don’t make a right in preschool, and it applies here as well. Regardless of the circumstances, abortion stops a beating heart and it’s an act of profound selfishness.

The following statements are from the article.

“Jenny desperately wanted another child, but not at the risk of becoming a second-rate parent.”

“These women didn’t want to be in their 60s worrying about two tempestuous teenagers or two college tuition bills.”

“Patients concluded that they lacked the resources to deal with the chaos, stereophonic screaming and exhaustion of raising twins.”

“This is not an option for us! I only want one!” (she found out she was having triplets)

“I felt like the pregnancy was a monster, and I just wanted it out, but we tried for so long, abortion wasn’t an option. My No. 1 priority was to be the best mom I could be, but how was I supposed to juggle two newborns or two screaming infants while my husband was away being shot at?” (she decided to have a reduction) “I didn’t choose gender… I had to make it as ethically O.K. for me as I could. But I wanted only one.”

“I asked not to see any of the ultrasounds. I didn’t want to have that image, the image of two. I didn’t want to torture myself.”

“I didn’t want to raise a handicapped child.”

The author of the article accurately diagnosed the underlying idea: “this is not what I want for my life.” I don’t know if she’s pro-life or pro-choice, but the selfishness wasn’t hidden from her.

Supporting abortion doesn’t make someone compassionate anymore than lying for an alcoholic makes one compassionate – both enable selfish behavior.

Willful Disregard of Conscience.

The glimmer of hope in this article was the rarely acknowledged existence of guilt and pain that comes with having an abortion. Like a police officer standing with burning building behind him saying, “there’s nothing to see here,” our culture has tried to conceal the pain that comes with abortion.

“I don’t wish this on anyone. I’m very grateful that we had this option (abortion) at our disposal, that it can be done safely and in a legal way, but it was very difficult for both of us. I still wonder, Did we choose the right one? – even though I wasn’t the one who chose. The idea, that one’s gone and one’s here, it’s almost like playing God. I mean, who are we to choose? Even as it was happening, I wondered what the future would have been if the doctor had put the needle into the other one.”

The last sentence is pregnant with the seed of our culture’s decay. After lamenting about the difficulty of their choice, she contradicts herself by simply wondering if she would have felt different killing the other one. Why didn’t she say, ‘I wonder what the future would have been if the doctor hadn’t put the needle into either one?”
The willful disregard of conscience acknowledges the evil in abortion while at the same time justifying its practice. If you read Padawer’s article, in place of abortion you’ll see: extinguish, escape hatch, terminating, intervention, reduction, moral calculation, option, and procedure. She did a good job thumbing through her thesaurus, but it’s interesting the words kill and murder were not selected. (I believe Padawer did a good job reporting on this troubling issue. She shared the facts in an objective manner, I thought. I have no issue with her reporting or writing.)

The Response

This isn’t an issue of politics – politicians aren’t the moral guides for the world. This isn’t an issue of law – it happened before it was legal and it will continue even if it’s declared illegal. It’s not an issue of preference, convenience, or circumstance. This is an issue of life. Are you one who destroys life or are you one who upholds it? There are no other places to stand.

To those that uphold, we must be consistent in our belief that every life has dignity and value, even those who’ve had or performed abortions. Would you adopt a child if a pregnant teen cried out for help? Would you dip into your savings to pay for a birth an uninsured mom couldn’t afford? Would you volunteer at a pregnancy clinic and befriend a scared mom? Would your home be open, like ours was when I was a kid, to teen mothers carrying their baby? Would you contribute to the construction and management of a crisis pregnancy clinic? We cannot just vote for pro-life candidates. We must scrub-in.

To those that destroy, His mercies are new every morning. If you’re reading this, you’re breathing, and if you’re breathing you have a choice to make. Yesterday does not define you. We are called to be stewards of the moment, and your moment is now. I’m as pro-choice as they come about life. You can choose to tell your boss, “I quit.” You can choose to tell your boyfriend, “It’s not your body and I’m having this baby.” You can choose to get an ultrasound, read about your baby’s development, and talk to mom’s like the one in the article, who said, “the thought of not having any one of them is unbearable now, because they are no longer shadowy fetuses but full-fledged human beings whom I love in a huge and aching way.”

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