The One Kind of Abortion Pro-Choicers Don't Like

William Saletan looks at reactions to a recent 'NYT' article
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 20, 2011 4:25 PM CDT
William Saletan: Why Pro-Choicers Don't Like Selective Twin Reduction Abortions
A sonogram of twins.   (Shutterstock)

Pro-choicers are in favor of abortion rights—but when a mother-to-be selectively aborts just one of her two fetuses, even pro-choicers get uncomfortable. A recent New York Times Magazine article on the increased demand for twin reductions highlights this discomfort. In reactions to the piece, a blogger wondered if such a practice were "morally wrong"; the former president of Catholics for Choice asked whether women who would make such a choice would be better off forgoing fertility treatment entirely; even an abortion rights website writer was bothered by one particular scenario presented in the article. In Slate, William Saletan attempts to unravel the reasons behind the discomfort.

At least two pro-life writers have expressed befuddlement: If you are OK with abortion, why aren't you OK with selective reduction? "After all, a reduction is an abortion," Saletan writes. But it all comes down to the "bifurcated mindset [that] permeates pro-choice thinking. Embryos fertilized for procreation are embryos; embryos cloned for research are 'activated eggs.' A fetus you want is a baby; a fetus you don't want is a pregnancy." With a reduction, you can no longer have that distinction, because both a wanted and an unwanted fetus exist in the same pregnancy. And someday, the wanted fetus will be walking around outside your body, "a living reminder of what you exterminated." (Read more selective reduction stories.)

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