Monday, July 26, 2004
Eenie, meenie, miney, mo ... which of my children has to go?
Imagine: a shot in the heart with potassium chloride, done legally by a licensed physician, who rationalizes it by saying it relieves the woman of the trauma of a multiple birth.
It's simply wrong and incredibly sad.
It's come to that. Motherhood has fallen to the immoral depths of selecting which child will live and which will die. Not because of the mother's health. Not because the fetus has a health problem. Not because of the sex of the unborn. Not even because the woman doesn't want to be pregnant.
This life-or-death choice for the unborn isn't called abortion. It's abortion when the baby is unwanted. This elegant murder has its own name that sounds sanitary and medical: "selective reduction."
It's simple. A woman, who wants to be pregnant, is pregnant. But she's pregnant with twins or triplets and, in some cases, more. Being a modern woman, she wants to choose how many children she has in each pregnancy.
Multiple births occur naturally. But with the advances in fertility treatments, drugs and techniques, the problems of infertility among couples – and it would seem, the money to pay for the procedures – the frequency of multiple births is growing.
With in vitro fertilization, when physicians implant fertilized and seemingly viable embryos in a woman, they usually put more in than the number of children desired. They assume some will not survive, and they're usually right.
But not always. If more implants begin to grow, the woman is told it would be better and safer for her if she decided how many she wants and the rest are "selectively reduced."
Nice words. Clean and abstract. It means that the tiny, unwanted babies growing inside the "mother" are killed. Mom then carries the rest to term, assuming all goes well.
If you wondered about the number of twins being born, now you know. A high percentage of them are here with some help from modern science. Certainly, not all were "selectively reduced" from their brothers and sisters, but the truth is, we'll never know. It isn't the kind of thing one would think a person would talk about publicly.
And then there's Amy Richards, if that's even her real name. But that's the name she used in the New York Times Magazine on July 18, 2004. The article's title barely hints at the callous, crass, selfishness of this woman.
Written in the first person, Richards says she's 34, been living with a boyfriend (strange term for people of that age) for three years and using the pill. But she grew "tired" of taking it and stopped. She and the man decided that if she got pregnant, they would "have" the child.
Well, she did but then an early sonogram showed there were triplets – conceived naturally, without fertility treatments. To hear her tell it, her world was about to end. She lamented the children would interfere with her freelance lecturing schedule – she'd lose income, and she lived in a 5-story walk-up, so she might have to endure weeks of bed rest. She said her immediate response was "I cannot have triplets. I was not married."
And if he hadn't been playing house, she might not have found herself facing this situation. But this female wants what she wants on her terms.
She bemoaned she might have to move to Staten Island, never leave her house because she'd "have to care for these children," stuck "shopping only at Costco and buying big jars of mayonnaise."
She called them children, but never really considered giving birth to all of them. When she learned they were triplets, the first question she asked the doctor was about the possibility of "getting rid of one of them? Or two of them?"
Rid? How easy it was for her to choose killing.
The doctors confirmed it was possible. Another sonogram showed she was carrying twins and a stand alone, who was 3-days older. All appeared healthy and thriving.
The mother decided to "get rid" of the twins. It was a simple procedure which "involved a shot of potassium chloride to the heart of the fetus."
Now, it was a fetus – not a "baby" or "child."
What about the boyfriend? Early on, he asked, "Shouldn't we consider having triplets?" She put him in his place: "This is why they say it's the woman's choice ..."
When looking at the sonogram of his three children, we're told he was thinking" "Oh, my gosh, there are three heartbeats. I can't believe we're about to make two disappear."
No, not disappear. Kill.
And they did. The doctor wouldn't let him stay to watch. Richards says she knows he "was offended."
What a surprise! They're about to kill two of his children and won't let him be there. Talk about an attitude of men being useless.
So she birthed the "stand alone" – a boy. She says she's terrified of becoming pregnant again, but that she'd do it again if she had triplets again. If she had twins? "I don't know."
Reading this essay left me numb and weeping at the waste of life in the killing of those innocent children and furious that such a stonehearted ingrate has even one child.
Will she tell her son she killed his two siblings? Will the boyfriend hang around to see if more of his children will be killed?
What possessed the New York Times to print this? They should be ashamed.
But they have no shame and our society doesn't either.
Barbara Simpson, "The Babe in the Bunker" as she's known to her KSFO 560 radio talk-show audience in San Francisco, has a 20-year radio, television and newspaper career in the Bay Area and Los Angeles.