A recent story about “selective reduction” illustrates the wisdom of the Church’s teaching on technologies like IVF. Many people do not realize that abortion and IVF go hand in hand. To boost success rates, IVF practitioners implant more embryos than the couple wants babies in the hopes that at least one will take. When more embryos than are desired implant, doctors “reduce” the pregnancy down to the desired number of fetuses. “Reduce” is a euphemism for killing the unlucky fetuses with a shot of potassium chloride. It used to be that doctors would only “reduce” triplets or above, but now have taken to “reducing” twins down to a single fetus. One such story of reduction was recently in the New York Times. Jenny discusses why she is killing one of her IVF twins:
“If I had conceived these twins naturally, I wouldn’t have reduced this pregnancy, because you feel like if there’s a natural order, then you don’t want to disturb it. But we created this child in such an artificial manner — in a test tube, choosing an egg donor, having the embryo placed in me — and somehow, making a decision about how many to carry seemed to be just another choice. The pregnancy was all so consumerish to begin with, and this became yet another thing we could control.”
Jenny has articulated Church teaching on procreation and she doesn’t even know it. There is a natural order to things and when that is bypassed and life is created in an artificial manner, it is easy to rationalize the killing of an innocent life down to a simple matter of “control.” Just like William E. May (and the Church) said it would. [Source]
Though in some ways you have to wonder why this story on the murder (“reduction”) of one twin is such a news story in the first place. After all IVF almost always results in the death of siblings. Multiple implantations so that one survives is normal procedure and of course freezing embryos also results in death at some point.