Thursday, September 22, 2011

Twin Killings > Haggling over Price

By Chuck Colson

I know there are plenty of bioethicists who believe in the sanctity of life. Tragically, as one disturbing trend shows, there are also plenty who don’t.

As my late good friend Richard John Neuhaus once wrote, “for the most part, bioethicists are in the business of issuing permission slips for whatever the technicians want to do.”

A less charitable friend of his put it more bluntly: “a bioethicist is to ethics what a [prostitute] is to sex.” A recent article in the New York Times shows why one could be so harsh.

The story is about the rising number of what are euphemistically called “twin reductions”: Women who are carrying twins decide to kill one of their unborn children while allowing its sibling to live.

This demonic procedure was the unintended but not unforeseeable consequence of reproductive technologies such as in-vitro fertilization. Women undergoing IVF often found themselves carrying four, five, and even six children at a time.

The medical response was to “reduce” the number of fetuses to a more “manageable number.” “Reducing” in that case meant a shot of potassium chloride to the heart of one of the three-month old fetuses.

And do I have to tell you that the definition of what’s “manageable” has shrunk over the years? In a blink of an eye, reducing meant from going from whatever number of children there were to twins.

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