Friday, July 16, 2010

"Can you turn the screen away, please?"

The magazine Elle has a piece by Bettina Paige entitled. "Fertility Treatments: Would You Get Selective Reduction" in which the author discusses her and husband's decision to abort one of their twins after using artificial insemination to become pregnant. It's amazingly honest for the most part, Paige knows her "selective reduction" decision was completely selfish. Her reasons for deciding to kill one of her twin children could easily have been used to rationalize killing both children (small apartment, don't want to move, don't have the money, limited career advancement etc.). She recognizes that the child she decided to have killed had "an identity," "could be a life" and that the "selective reduction" terminology is Orwellian. Yet she does it anyway after her husband responds negatively to the news they had twins.
During my weekly visits to Dr. H.’s office over the next month, I watched the two little sacs on the sonogram darken and grow, develop heartbeats and vaguely human outlines. “Can you turn the screen away, please?” I asked, tears pooling in the corners of my eyes. “I don’t want to get attached.”

Dr. H. turned it toward me and said sternly: “Start getting attached.”

I’d already asked him about selective reduction. A colleague of his had told me that many women do it, and that it was no more dangerous than amniocentesis. But Dr. H. contradicted her: The odds of losing the entire pregnancy were about 10 percent, he said, and he didn’t do reductions himself.

I kept telling myself I should be happy to be pregnant at all: After wanting another child for the better part of two years and trying and failing for 12 months to have one on my own, I’d conceived! But I grew increasingly despondent as the deadline for terminating one of the pregnancies loomed. My husband was convinced that twins would radically change our lives for the worse. We’d have to leave our beloved neighborhood for a place with cheaper rents and better public schools—there was no way we could afford private education for three kids. We’d kiss goodbye any hope of career advancement, at least for the foreseeable future. To his list, I added the loss of my income, necessary to meet our expenses. I couldn’t see how I’d be able to resume working after the birth since we could never afford full-time help, and—no matter how well they napped—two infants wouldn’t leave much time for anything else.


  1. Anonymous10:45 AM

    I was pretty disturbed by this article in ELLE. I wondered why, as she was already pregnant, she didn't just deliver both children and place the unwanted one up for adoption. She seemed to struggle with her decision to the point that I was like, if you feel so morally conflicted, there is a very "moral" way out of this predicament.
    Part of me hoped to the very end that she would keep it or come to the very doh! moment of realization that she could place her "extra" baby up for adoption.

  2. Anonymous4:53 AM

    As I sat in my beach chair yesterday, reading this article, watching my children play in the pool, I burst into tears. The fact that Nazi-like human engineering is not only part of our culture but apparently socially acceptable is chilling. Can you imagine the day that these selfish-old, heartless parents have to tell their living twin that they killed her sister or brother in order to not leave their "beloved neighborhood"?! The horror that this woman even TYPED those words as rationale are even MORE chilling. If you didn't want multiples Sick Bettina, you should have adopted...However, the fact that monsters like you and your husband are even reproducing is what is scary. I am all for making the tough decisions when they are TOUGH. But killing your baby's twin to save your zip code and selfish lifestyle...God, or someone gave you two and you killed one. I hope your poor remaining children have a chance at some faith in life (you have none...don't fool yourself)and I hop you and your Nazi husband face your judge and jury someday...

    Thank you blogger for giving us a forum to speak...

  3. "Eenie, meenie, miney, mo;
    Guess the boy will have to go!"

    Yes - absolutely chilling.