The video above features a woman named Amy Richards telling her story about “selective reduction” (HT: @drmoore). If you are unfamiliar with the term, it’s a euphemism for killing one or more unborn babies when there are multiples in a womb. In Richards’ case, she found out that she was pregnant with triplets. In the video above, she describes her fateful decision to have two of her triplets killed. In a 2004 Op-Ed for The New York Times, she describes why she refused to allow all of her children to live:
My immediate response was, I cannot have triplets. I was not married; I lived in a five-story walk-up in the East Village; I worked freelance; and I would have to go on bed rest in March. I lecture at colleges, and my biggest months are March and April. I would have to give up my main income for the rest of the year. There was a part of me that was sure I could work around that. But it was a matter of, Do I want to?
I looked at Peter and asked the doctor: ”Is it possible to get rid of one of them? Or two of them?” The obstetrician wasn’t an expert in selective reduction, but she knew that with a shot of potassium chloride you could eliminate one or more.
Having felt physically fine up to this point, I got on the subway afterward, and all of a sudden, I felt ill. I didn’t want to eat anything. What I was going through seemed like a very unnatural experience. On the subway, Peter asked, ”Shouldn’t we consider having triplets?” And I had this adverse reaction: ”This is why they say it’s the woman’s choice, because you think I could just carry triplets. That’s easy for you to say, but I’d have to give up my life.” Not only would I have to be on bed rest at 20 weeks, I wouldn’t be able to fly after 15. I was already at eight weeks. When I found out about the triplets, I felt like: It’s not the back of a pickup at 16, but now I’m going to have to move to Staten Island. I’ll never leave my house because I’ll have to care for these children. I’ll have to start shopping only at Costco and buying big jars of mayonnaise. Even in my moments of thinking about having three, I don’t think that deep down I was ever considering it.
When the appointed day came, she went through with her decision to kill two of her three unborn children. She describes the procedure and its aftermath with such detachment that it’s hard to imagine that this woman is actually a mother. She writes,
When we saw the specialist, we found out that I was carrying identical twins and a stand alone. My doctors thought the stand alone was three days older. There was something psychologically comforting about that, since I wanted to have just one. Before the procedure, I was focused on relaxing. But Peter was staring at the sonogram screen thinking: Oh, my gosh, there are three heartbeats. I can’t believe we’re about to make two disappear. The doctor came in, and then Peter was asked to leave. I said, ”Can Peter stay?” The doctor said no. I know Peter was offended by that.
Two days after the procedure, smells no longer set me off and I no longer wanted to eat nothing but sour-apple gum. I went on to have a pretty seamless pregnancy. But I had a recurring feeling that this was going to come back and haunt me. Was I going to have a stillbirth or miscarry late in my pregnancy?
I had a boy, and everything is fine. But thinking about becoming pregnant again is terrifying. Am I going to have quintuplets? I would do the same thing if I had triplets again, but if I had twins, I would probably have twins. Then again, I don’t know.
I have written previously about the damning euphemism known as “selective reduction” and the great evil that the phrase seeks to conceal. In this case, the horror is so obvious that further commentary is superfluous. Wisdom cries aloud in the streets (Prov. 1:20-22). Maranatha.