As Jenny lay on the obstetrician’s examination table, she was grateful that the ultrasound tech had turned off the overhead screen. She didn’t want to see the two shadows floating inside her. Since making her decision, she had tried hard not to think about them, though she could often think of little else. She was 45 and pregnant after six years of fertility bills, ovulation injections, donor eggs and disappointment — and yet here she was, 14 weeks into her pregnancy, choosing to extinguish one of two healthy fetuses, almost as if having half an abortion. As the doctor inserted the needle into Jenny’s abdomen, aiming at one of the fetuses, Jenny tried not to flinch, caught between intense relief and intense guilt.Where to begin? If you aren't "financially secure" enough to have two children, how exactly is it that you can afford "six years of fertility bills, ovulation injections, and donor eggs"? Whose paying for that? Insurance? Medicaid? If you weren't "financially secure" why exactly were you deciding to continue to aggressively pursue fertility treatments, including in vitro fertilization, at age 45?
“Things would have been different if we were 15 years younger or if we hadn’t had children already or if we were more financially secure,” she said later. “If I had conceived these twins naturally, I wouldn’t have reduced this pregnancy, because you feel like if there’s a natural order, then you don’t want to disturb it. But we created this child in such an artificial manner — in a test tube, choosing an egg donor, having the embryo placed in me — and somehow, making a decision about how many to carry seemed to be just another choice. The pregnancy was all so consumerish to begin with, and this became yet another thing we could control.”
OK, but put aside that economic criticism. Here's the moral criticism. There's these "two shadows" in this woman's stomach, apparently. Hmmm, I wonder what those could be? Hard to tell from the article, since the Times glides over the fact that the "two shadows" would have identifiable hands and feet and heads and hearts and faces and freakin' fingerprints at 14 weeks!
Now, I'm no doctor, and I don't have a Ph.D in moral philosophy, but the Regular Guy sure thinks that looks like a human being. So it would be pretty natural for this woman to have "intense guilt," since she's in the process of killing her own baby, and depriving her own child of its best friend, its twin.
So why did she go ahead and do it? Is raising two children, two babies, really that much more difficult than raising one? Sure seems like you'd get economies of scale and diapering time anyway. (And don't worry about financing college education.... there's literally no chance that the current system of college education can survive until 2029, or whenever these twins would be heading off to Overpriced U.)
I think the clue comes in this line, which sent chills down my spine: "The pregnancy was all so consumerish to begin with, and this became yet another thing we could control."
It's not a car, it's a kid. It's not a referigerator, it's a child. It's not a flat-screen TV, it's a person. It's not a health club membership, it's a human being.
You don't "consume" your children. You love them, and you raise them, as best you can.
You don't "control" your children (believe me). You love them, and you raise them, and you teach them, and you guide them, and you hope for them, and you worry about them, and you love them some more, as best you can.
What's wrong with us? What's wrong with New York Times writers and readers that this article makes this woman out to be the sympathetic victim in this situation?