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When Personal Preference Becomes Murder


When Personal Preference Becomes Murder

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Last week, The New York Times Magazine ran a horrifying story about a woman who conceived twins through IVF and then terminated one of the babies (referred to as pregnancy reduction). The biggest issue to note is that the woman who is aborting one twin (as is the case in many of these situations) is doing so out of convenience and preference for her and not because of her concern for the babies (which is still no excuse). Dr. Denny Burk and Dr. Albert Mohler have both commented on this article and I’ve included a couple of excerpts below.

Dr. Denny Burk introduces us to the topic:

The New York Times Magazine has a heartbreaking article on yet another monument to the culture of death—pregnancy reduction. In case you have never heard the term, here’s what pregnancy reduction is in a nutshell. When a pregnant mother is carrying two or more babies in her womb, she can choose to kill one or more of those babies while allowing others to live. According to pro-choicers, pregnancy reduction is a practice that began years ago to reduce health risks for women carrying multiples. Pro-choicers have also reasoned that pregnancy reduction increases chances for surviving multiples to make it to term. But that was then, and this is now. What began as a misguided attempt to help women and (some!) unborn babies, has now devolved into the slippery slope. Now, the procedure is increasingly performed on women carrying twins. In fact, the Times article focuses in particular on the increasing number of women who carry twins but who for whatever reason only want one of them to live. The reasons for killing one and letting the other live range from finances to time-management.

He concludes:

In this article, the euphemism “pregnancy reduction” is a rouse. It is a term that attempts to cover-up a great moral evil. The expression plainly functions to deflect attention from an intolerable contradiction—that one unborn child might be allowed to live while its perfectly healthy sibling is destroyed. But the covering is a fig leaf, and that is seen most conspicuously in the troubled consciences of the mothers and medical professionals in this article who have participated in this procedure.

At the end of the day, it’s not just the euphemism that is the problem. It is the heinous evil that the euphemism is trying to hide that should scandalize us. Reducing a pregnancy means killing an innocent human. Just as we don’t want to give in to the mores of a decadent culture, neither should we be complicit in covering evil with clever obfuscations. Such talk is a not-too subtle throwback to an ancient method that humans use to justify sin—calling evil good and calling good evil (Isaiah 5:20). Make no mistake. God is outraged at that, and so should we.

Dr. Albert Mohler‘s commentary begins:

Euphemisms are the refuge of moral cowardice, and no euphemism is so cowardly or so deadly as “reduction” — a word that sounds like math, but really means murder. The August 14, 2011 edition of The New York Times Magazine makes this fact clear in its cover story, “The Two-Minus-One Pregnancy.”

He continues:

“The Two-Minus-One Pregnancy” is one of the most significant articles of recent years. With chilling and unflinching candor, Ruth Padawer virtually forces her readers to see the twisted thinking that justifies the killing of the unborn, and then she tries to evade moral responsibility by calling the procedure a “reduction.”

There is a story behind this story, of course. The intersection where modern reproductive technologies and legal abortion meet is now a deadly place for many unborn babies. In the name of personal preference and for “social reasons,” some women now demand that their multiple babies be aborted so that they will have only the one baby they want.

Padawer says that many Americans are uneasy about this knowledge, perhaps “because the desire for more choices conflicts with our discomfort about meddling with ever more aspects of reproduction.”

But the procedure so dishonestly called “reduction” is really not about mere “meddling.” It is murder.

I would encourage you to read the original article in its entirety and pray for these precious babies who are losing their lives to “preference.” God hears their cries.


  1. Ken

    I am trying very hard to find words that will not offend or upset you but I have a very basic, maybe base, question that, regardless of verbage is going to grate on your sensibilities. But it is important and fundamental to our discussion and the issues you address with this post.

    Why is human life precious?

    Outside of your archaic biblical references, please cite one scientifically sound sorce that shows we as a race are significant in anyway other than our domination of every other species on this planet. And as such, if we could back down our overwhelming numbers, might we allow other species to profilgrate and maybe – dare I suggest – achieve self-consciousness?

    How fun – and much more interesting – would be a wotld with conversing whales and self-aware chimps?

  2. Nathan

    Ken, the Bible may be old, but truth doesn’t change.

    But aside from the fact that the Bible says we are made in the image of God,the uniqueness of humanity is self-evident. Chimps can use simple tools and whales can communicate with each other, but only humans have developed a written language, only humans show concern for other people across the globe, only humans (some humans) care for the wellbeing of other species and the planet as a whole. Only humans can think abstractly, only humans have a sense of history, and only humans make moral choices.

    I fail to see how reducing the human population would help increase the intelligence of whales, and Planet of the Apes clearly shows us that self-aware chimps are a bad idea 🙂

    As a response question also not intended to be offensive, if human life isn’t precious, why haven’t you killed yourself? Why don’t you kill anyone who you disagree with, or anyone standing between you and what you want? (Anyone already born, that is.) Why is it bad when ‘anti-abortionists’ bomb abortion clinics if the lives of the doctors in them aren’t precious?

    Sorry, that was three questions, and again, I don’t mean to be offensive but am looking for a thoughtful response.

  3. Ken


    Thanks for a well spoken, succinct response almost devoid of biblical or religious “reasoning”.

    While humans have been the first to develop a written language, I think that has more to do with the evolution of an opposible thumb as it does any devine resemblance. I would ask that you provide any proof that humans alone care for others as I know of many instances where this is simply not the case. As for humans caring about the well being of other species and the planet as a whole, um, have you heard of how many species we have hunted to extiction, the extent of our devastation of this planet to the point of possibly no return from global warming, fresh water depletion and over population to the brink of global collapse?

    It is pure human arrogance that would think we are the only creatures on this planet who think, remember or act out of kindness to our fellow creatures. Have you never had a dog, cat or even a hampster?

    I haven’t killed myself because I still have things I need to do. But rest assured, when I am done living, I will have no problem remitting my space on this planet for those after me. And I don’t randomly kill other people for the same reason I do not kill animals to eat. I do not believe there is a God. But if there is, I am sure I am not Her.

    And it is wrong to kill abortion doctors for the same reason it is wrong to kill veternarians and dentist, teachers and police officers – it isn’t your life to decide when it needs to be over. Just because I don’t think it is precious doesn’t mean I think I have the right to decide how, when or if it ought to live.

    I resent your implication that I kill the unborn. You people want to paint targets on escorts back as if to say that if we went away, abortions would stop. How simple are you? The fact is, escorts could go away, abortion clinics could disappear, ob/gyn’s that provide the service could all be gunned downed by your Scott Roederers. But it still would not stop abortion. Women have been terminating unwanted pregnancy for 4000 years – that’s longer than your religious cult has been around – you think it is going to stop because you kill a few more doctors or wage more legislative war on the poor?

    FACT: we live in a world where the best thing for some people’s lives, their families and their health is to kill their unborn babies. If you are privileged enough to not live in that world, thank your lucky stars. But wake UP, some of us live there! We also eat out of dumpsters and sell plasma to buy our aging, ailing parents’ medicine. How dare you decide how we ouught to serve our selves, our families and our God! Who ordained you our Jesus? Sorry to pop your bubble but God has that covered for us – and it AINT YOU!!!

  4. mother21

    Thanks for addressing this issue. As a mother of a large family I can’t quite wrap my mind around choosing which of my children get to live and which one(s) to kill.

    Also I wonder if the preferred baby dies does the doctor get sued for malpractice? I mean there are tests that my OB/GYN has preformed on my that I have to sign a long list of what could happen. Miscarriage or still birth sometimes are listed as complications I can’t imagine the “reduction” being safe for the preferred child or rather be without risks to the preferred child and also the mother.

    I have been through a crisis pregnancy, didn’t know how I was going to afford to take care of another child. FOB and I were unmarried and found ourselves “in trouble” a 2nd time. We went to an abortion clinic but left, pregnancy intact. It is amazing how fast the abortion clinic changed its tone toward us after we decided a different choice was for us. We didn’t encounter any pro-life sidewalk counselors so folks can’t blame them.

    That child is very grateful for her life. So I know 1st hand that if these children could talk they’d ask to live.


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