A quick google search of “you’re pregnant with twins” produces over 1 million results, the first of which says, “Are you having two (or three, or more) times the fun?”
There is something powerfully positive about twins (my mom, an identical twin, would agree, as would I who technically have a second biological mother). In fact, the positive impact of twins can be seen in a story featured in The Blaze about a woman who was going to have an abortion but changed her mind to adoption—until she discovered she had twins. Once she found out she had two babies she changed her mind again—this time to parenting. She said, “I thought about our life together and what it could be”
But while some look at twins as “double the fun,” tragically others view them as “double the trouble.” And that came to mind when I read a story in the National Post last week about an Ottawa woman who seized on news of being pregnant with twins as grounds to kill one of them through abortion.
As I read about various facts in this case, I was struck by how crazy the thinking of our abortion-obsessed culture has become. For example, the hospital the woman initially went to refused to “reduce” her twin pregnancy to a singleton. At the time, however, had circumstances been different, they would have acted: If she had three babies instead of two, they would have aborted one. If she had a diseased baby instead of a healthy one, the hospital also would have aborted.
Their standards seem to convey that killing a child isn’t inherently wrong, but only conditionally wrong, and that these pre-born children didn’t meet the conditions. That flies in the face of human rights doctrines which acknowledge that the inalienable right to life is something we have by virtue of being a member of the human family, not by virtue of meeting certain conditions. Indeed, back when I was studying at UBC, I recall a bioethics professor remarking that abortion is either all right or all wrong—the “grey” zone doesn’t exist, she said. That makes sense; after all, if the pre-born aren’t human, then why would we stop any abortion? On the other hand, if the pre-born are human, then why would we permit any abortion?
Perhaps the mother herself would attempt to answer my question by claiming that her eliminating one child would increase the odds of her embracing another child (she was told her twin pregnancy, her older age, and other factors increased her risk of miscarriage). Doesn’t that violate the universal standard of ethical healthcare: “Do no harm”? Don’t we decry experiments done to harm one human, even if such experiments might produce evidence that helps another human, precisely because it inflicts harm that is so wrong it doesn’t matter what good comes about? Correspondingly, shouldn’t we oppose killing one baby in order to increase the odds of bringing to birth another baby because the means to get to that end result involve committing egregious harm? Unfortunately it seems that that principle would have gotten lost on the mother whose previous decision appears consistent with her more recent one: The news reported that the pregnant patient (known only as “C.V.”) conceived her children by In Vitro Fertilization (IVF).
IVF typically involves creating more human beings than are implanted, meaning that some of these tiny, unique, unrepeatable individuals are, at their earliest age, subjected to the injustice of freezing and/or being discarded (and thus killed). There’s no denying the tragedy of infertility and the need to find ethical solutions to it (a subject for a future post). Even with that reality we must face this question: Is it ethical to endanger and/or end the lives of some humans because we desperately want to care for other humans?