Friday, August 19, 2011

Paradox in Pro-Choicers' Angst

Hip and slick, the webzine Slate.com isn't known as a bastion of conservative ethics.

Yet there it was this past Tuesday, William Saletan's article "Half-Aborted: Why do 'reductions' of twin pregnancies trouble pro-choicers?"

Um, what? Did he just use the term "abortion" in a negative sense?

Now, to be fair, just because some pro-choice advocates believe abortion should be legal doesn't mean they all want the practice to be common. Yes, some militant pro-abortion activists would have no problem with fetus-killing becoming as ordinary as having semi-annual dental cleanings. But a lot of abortion defenders hope the practice is used as little as possible.

Still, that's hardly a defense of abortion, even though it does indicate that abortion isn't even wildly popular among many of its supporters.

And apparently, a new twist in the debate has made even more pro-choicers think twice about what's really at stake here.

It's called "twin reduction," and it involves deciding to terminate one of two twin fetuses if the expectant mother decides she doesn't want both of them. Apparently, according to abortionists, the procedure is quite safe - except for the fetus whose future is terminated by its mother, of course.

And that's the rub.

Some abortion advocates have begun wondering about the ethics - ! - of killing one twin but not the other. As if aborting both of them would be more ethical than just one.

If you can breach the fallacy of that illogical idea, then you can move forward with understanding how a mother would become increasingly guilty about depriving a twin of their, well, twin; and being reminded of that choice every time she looked at her surviving child. How do you know if you aborted the right one? Who's to say you shouldn't have aborted the other one?  What gives you the right to deprive a twin of their twin?

Saletan writes:

"That's the anguish of reduction: watching the fetus you spared become what its twin will never be. And knowing that the only difference between them was your will."

As the pro-choicers in Saletan's piece all agree, the situation seems to become ethically complex quite quickly.

Of course, if you're pro-life like I am, you know the situation isn't complex at all. You just don't abort. But how ironic is it listening to people who claim abortion is OK suddenly finding themselves struggling over life issues when two - instead of one - are involved? Again, it's amazing to hear that it doesn't seem as though killing both twins is as difficult a decision as killing just one, which begs the question: why is killing ANY of them OK?

It's a question that appears to have rattled pro-abortion folks.

Indeed, this dawning realization that a fetus can have intrinsic value may re-captivate a critical component of America's abortion debate. And how ironic that it's been pro-choicers who've stumbled upon it all by themselves! Shouldn't this be some sort of encouragement to the rest of us? Just when it seemed like the abortion issue had faded into the background of our sociopolitical discourse, it comes burning back into focus.

By none other than the very people who said they could live with abortion.

As it's turning out, some of them are wondering if their kids can, too.
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