Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Unnatural selection

Image: Twin Pregnancy

When I'm on vacation I can read more newspapers (hard copy!) and read them more thoroughly than I can at other times.

Sometimes, the news isn't good.

Consider Ruth Padawer's article from Sunday's New York Times Magazine.  The first two paragraphs set the scene for what follows:
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.

“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.”
The article closes with the story of two partnered women, both of whom become pregnant with twins at the same time.  One of these women says,
“I don’t wish this on anyone.  I’m very grateful that we had this option at our disposal, that it can be done safely and in a legal way, but it was very difficult for both of us. I still wonder, Did we choose the right one? — even though I wasn’t the one who chose. That idea, that one’s gone and one’s here, it’s almost like playing God. I mean, who are we to choose? Even as it was happening, I wondered what the future would have been if the doctor had put the needle into the other one.”
Yes, indeed, "it's almost like playing God..."

I'm reminded of an intercession from my parish Prayers of the Faithful that we've prayed for years now each week:
For children waiting to be born
and for the mothers who carry them;
and for children waiting to be adopted
and the families who will receive them,
let us pray to the Lord...

You'll find the complete chilling article here.




   
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4 comments:

Fran said...

I read that the other day and I have been left speechless.

What have we become?

Jo-Ann Metzdorff said...

I found that article very disturbing when I read it the other day. I like your petition. Since I compile the intercessions for our parish I just may borrow it. Very well said.

sonny said...

This story is heartbreaking. I don't know how the mother will be able to live without guilt and sorrow for taking the life of one of her babies. Wish so much adoption could have been an option. Wish so much abortion just didn't exist and we didn't have the technology to do something like this. It takes people sometimes a lifetime to cope with a decision to end the life of their baby. Tragic all around....

Philomena Ewing said...

Thanks for this.It is very thorough and heartbreaking to read all the scenarios.
God help everyone in the medical profession who have to deal with this. I know I couldn't do the reduction procedure. Perhaps you could add a prayer for the medical profession too.
I disagree with IVF because of the simple fact that discarded embryos can result. Life begins at conception for me and it is sacred from that point on.