In this month’s Elle, Bettina Paige shares the story her latest pregnancy, a mix of fertility drugs and artificial insemination. Paige and her husband already had a young son when they found out they were once again pregnant but this time, with twins.
Paige and her husband, although they obviously went above and beyond to conceive another child, were definitely not in a place to have two.
"My husband was convinced that twins would radically change our lives for the worse. We’d have to leave our beloved neighborhood for a place with cheaper rents and better public schools — there was no way we could afford private education for three kids. We’d kiss goodbye any hope of career advancement, at least for the foreseeable future. To his list, I added the loss of my income, necessary to meet our expenses. I couldn’t see how I’d be able to resume working after the birth since we could never afford full-time help, and — no matter how well they napped — two infants wouldn’t leave much time for anything else."
Paige decided it would be best for her family, although a hard decision, to have selective reduction. Selective reduction is basically what it sounds like: when you select which fetus to reduce or put frankly, abort. Although this practice has health benefits when women chose to abort one of a triplet- less chances of miscarriage and healthier twins- with reducing twins to a single child, you risk losing the entire pregnancy which is quite a big risk when you’ve already gone through so much to be impregnated, as Paige did.
Although we live in a beautiful era of technological advancements that give women many reproductive freedoms, where is the line drawn for letting nature take its course? Even though this is the extreme, this is basically customizing our pregnancies. Will there come a day when we can choose all the aspects of our pregnancies? Designer babies, perhaps?
But what is the other recourse? Only aborting based on altruistic reasons? But what would then justify an abortion?
Paige’s primarily economic grounds for the abortion would be deemed "selfish" in many circles and probably wouldn’t meet criteria for an "unselfish" abortion, but are they all that selfish? Is knowing you would not be able to provide the best for your child and the rest of your family and making a decision based upon those facts selfish or farsightedness?
Obviously this issue raises many questions, all to which we all have scores of answers to based upon our personal beliefs but in the end, no matter how scary the future of it may seem, the ultimate answer is that abortion for any reason is a woman’s choice, whether the rest of the community believes it is warranted or not.
What would you do in Paige’s situation?
I think I would have done the same as her. I would have felt terrible about making the decision but at the same time, I would much rather be able to give my two children as much as I could- monetarily, emotionally, et cetera- than struggle to provide for all three of them.
Photo: CC Flickr//FuFu