Ruth Padawer’s article, The Two-Minus One Pregnancy, discusses the ever growing “reduction” procedure, or, in more crude terms, the abortion of one fetus and not of another also present at the time in the same womb. The procedure became more popular with the rise of artificial insemination; reproductive technology often lead to women conceiving multiple fetuses, not just the one sought out. The first woman Padawer interviews, Jenny, had been trying to get pregnant for a while, only to end up aborting one of her twin’s because of financial constraints. The article points out that many pro-choicers found that the idea of reduction unethical. Dr.Mark Evans, the creator of the procedure, issued out a guideline that a reduction below twins was unethical, and urged fellow physician’s not to become “technicians to our patients desires”. Many women that get a reduction are coddled by physicians telling them that carrying two babies instead of one may have health risks to both infant and mother, though Columbia’s Dr. Richard Berkowitz points out that “overwhelming majority of women carrying twins are going to be able to deliver two healthy babies”. Berkowitz goes on to argue however, that if aborting a single fetus is morally acceptable, why is aborting a paired fetus because financial, social, or economic reasons not? A study was also cited which states that there is more disruption in families with multiple infants, than families with just one. Shelby Van Voris had a difficult time finding a doctor who would ‘reduce’ two of her triplets. Voris said that her husband was deployed, and she couldn’t raise three infants on her own. It is a recurring theme between all the interviewed women that they were afraid of being unable to care for twins (or more) for whatever reason, be it because of finances, another child, or they just didn’t want twins. The doctors mentioned within the text overall seemed to acquiesce that they are the one’s with the skill to perform this act, so they do it, and that it is ultimately the mother’s choice to reduce or not.
The author brings up her own twin pregnancy, and how she too was deathly afraid of what was to come. She wrote on that she now cannot imagine life without all of her children because they are no longer “shadowy fetuses”. This dissonance between a “person”, as Kant may have prescribed, and a fetus, seems to stake the author’s claim that the fear of the future should perhaps not reason for a need of a reduction. Despite this brief personal interlude, the author does not let in much bias when interviewing women who had undergone reductions.The author also brings up the dilemma doctor’s face when choosing which fetus to abort: does gender play a role in that decision? If they’re both equally healthy, is it up completely to chance? The main question the article props up is, is single abortion as ethical as reduction ones? The author leaves the answer up for the reader to answer for themselves.
Personally, I could not understand at all why these women would undergo reductions. Jenny surely should have been informed of the chance of a “mega” pregnancy. Responsibility is a fundamental to parenthood, and it does not seem as if Jenny had completely accepted this when she underwent IVF. Shelby Van Voris too seemed irresponsible to me, was she prepared to raise a single child on her own as well? Or did the idea of three simply just scare her? Can fear justify an abortion? ‘A’ is perhaps the only woman who’s reason I may be able to swallow easily, as she reduced because it was negatively affecting her health, and she had a baby to take care of, along with her also pregnant partner. This is the classic dilemma of ‘giving up a life to save a life’ where there really isn’t a right or wrong choice.
Speciests would be completely against reduction, as they find it immoral to kill any innocent human. Marquis may perhaps agree with reduction in a case where the mother is saving the fetus from a bleak future, such as what a euthanasia patient does, despite his strict ideal of the “essence of the wrongness of killing”. Dr.Gregory’s theory would not out-rule reduction, as long as it was done before the fetus was physically sentient. Thomson would most probably be against reduction, especially if it was conceived after a contraceptive failure, although, she would be against reduction if it was for convenience, as some may argue many of these mother’s did. Brody would be for a reduction as long as it was before the fetus’s neural system was formed.
Munson, Ronald, et al.” Bio-Medical Ethics: PHI 227, Northern Virginia Community College”, ELI Distance Learning. Cengage Learning, 2013. P.63-98. Print.
Padawer, Ruth. “The Two-Minus-One Pregnancy.” The New York Times Magazine, august 10. 2011, web. October 2, 2016
Here are some theories to examine
Quizlet note cards, https://quizlet.com/125478977/phi-227-exam-2-flash-cards/
I am anti-abortion on he subject.