Aborting One Twin While Keeping the Other Is Wrong

For many, a twin pregnancy is exciting -- "two for the price of one!" -- and everything they might have hoped for. But for many others, the added stress, both financial and social, is too much to bear and they wish they were only having one. For some of them, selective reduction becomes a viable option.

Selective reduction is the process by which a twin pregnancy becomes a singleton one. The New York Times recently did a story on women who had done IVF, created two fetuses, and then terminated one of them

It's very controversial. With good reason. Even for those of us who consider ourselves pro-choice, the idea that a mother and father would consciously create a pregnancy through IVF only to turn around and terminate is a violation of the word "choice."


The fact is, what they are really "choosing" is one life over the other. Do I think it should be illegal? No. But there is a lot of room between denying someone's right to make their own choice and feeling something is morally wrong.

I have never been infertile so I don't know what that feels like, and maybe when you're so desperate for a child (but only one), you do things you think you wouldn't. But I don't think I really would. I would either face the consequences of my actions (twins) or I wouldn't implant more than one embryo in the first place. It may have less of a chance of success, but it would help me feel better about the process.

It's an uncomfortable thing to think about. One writer for Slate put it best when he said the most troubling part for pro-choicers is the line between "baby" and "fetus." How can a woman celebrate one as a wanted and precious life while she is also terminating the other? How can she want one life and not the other? And how does she choose?

Personally, my time to have had an abortion has passed. Had I ever fallen pregnant in high school or college, prior to getting my degrees or when I was dating unsuitable father types, then maybe I would have considered that, but at this time in my life when children are feasible, even an "accident" is doable. So maybe my feelings on abortion are a bit mixed anyway. It's a choice I am grateful I never had to make and I took great, great precaution to avoid.

But that is me. There were women in The New York Times article who had compelling reasons to only have one. I understand that, too. They have the right to make their choice. And I have the right think it's morally wrong.

Do you agree with this?


Image via abbybatchelder/Flickr

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