There is a chilling article in this week’s New York Times Magazine, titled, “The Two-Minus-One Pregnancy.” The article discusses the growing trend of parents, especially those who have gotten pregnant using artificial insemination, aborting one of a set of twins, and the carrying the other to term.
1. At numerous points the author notes the real disquiet that many who administer or consider undergoing this procedure feel about it — it strikes them as bordering on eugenics. Nonetheless, the author quotes equally many who stress the logic of abortion rests fundamentally on a woman’s undifferentiated, unregulated power over the life of children in her womb.
2. The article draws a strong connection between our attempt to master reproduction via artificial insemination, and the further need to control the complications that arise from that attempt — e.g., if IVF predisposes the 45 year-old women employing it to become pregnant with health-endangering triplets, abortion is going to seem like a necessary mechanism of control.
3. The article provides a brilliant demonstration of the way in which the evil of abortion veils itself in banal euphemism: replacing each instance of “termination,” “a woman’s choice,” or “pregnancy reduction” with more direct locutions — e.g., “killing the unborn child” — would be too horrifying to speak, much less to enact.
4. Finally, the article links the uncontrolled voluntarism at the heart of abortion to the uncontrolled voluntarism at the heart of America’s most popular self-accounting.