July 18, 2004

Killing Two of Your Three Triplets to Keep Your Lifestyle

THE REALLY AWFUL THING ABOUT AMY RICHARDS TALE AS TOLD TO AMY BARRETT in Lives: When One Is Enough is that Amy Richards put her name on her shameful tale of selfishness.

"I found out I was having triplets when I went to my obstetrician. The doctor had just finished telling me I was going to have a low-risk pregnancy. She turned on the sonogram machine. There was a long pause, then she said, ''Are you sure you didn't take fertility drugs?'' I said, ''I'm positive.'' Peter and I were very shocked when she said there were three. ''You know, this changes everything,'' she said. ''You'll have to see a specialist.''

"My immediate response was, I cannot have triplets. I was not married; I lived in a five-story walk-up in the East Village; I worked freelance; and I would have to go on bed rest in March. I lecture at colleges, and my biggest months are March and April. I would have to give up my main income for the rest of the year. There was a part of me that was sure I could work around that. But it was a matter of, Do I want to?"

The self-centered Ms. Richards who writes an advice column for, of course, feminist.com and has published a book called: Manifesta: Young Women Feminism and the Future, elects to undergo what is coyly titled "selective reduction." This is a nice term for the killing of one or more multiple babies in the womb. As the article puts it, "The obstetrician wasn't an expert in selective reduction, but she knew that with a shot of potassium chloride you could eliminate one or more."

When the time came to pick one, it was fraught with the pathetic little drama that so often overtakes these young members of our intellectual classes in urban areas:

The specialist called me back at 10 p.m. I had just finished watching a Boston Pops concert at Symphony Hall. As everybody burst into applause, I watched my cellphone vibrating, grabbed it and ran into the lobby. He told me that he does a detailed sonogram before doing a selective reduction to see if one fetus appears to be struggling. The procedure involves a shot of potassium chloride to the heart of the fetus. There are a lot more complications when a woman carries multiples. And so, from the doctor's perspective, it's a matter of trying to save the woman this trauma. After I talked to the specialist, I told Peter, ''That's what I'm going to do.'' He replied, ''What we're going to do.'' He respected what I was going through, but at a certain point, he felt that this was a decision we were making. I agreed.
Hard to imagine if "Peter the Boyfriend" would have had much of a future with this woman if he'd piped up to say, "Maybe it isn't such a good idea to kill off two of my children." He'd be history and Amy would be wrapped in the arms of the sisterhood at feminist.com. But then again, if he was that kind of a man he wouldn't be with this kind of a woman.

The climax of this sordid little drama is delivered as casually as the rest of the entire episode:

When we saw the specialist, we found out that I was carrying identical twins and a stand alone. My doctors thought the stand alone was three days older. There was something psychologically comforting about that, since I wanted to have just one. Before the procedure, I was focused on relaxing. But Peter was staring at the sonogram screen thinking: Oh, my gosh, there are three heartbeats. I can't believe we're about to make two disappear. The doctor came in, and then Peter was asked to leave. I said, ''Can Peter stay?'' The doctor said no. I know Peter was offended by that.
Offended? By being denied the right to be present at the execution of two of his children? Why should a man so lacking in manhood be offended? He probably made a face and then beat it to a bar, glad he'd gotten off easy, once again.

Then again, he missed the central life experience of "making two heartbeats disappear." Never a rose without a thorn.

The story, from Amy's point of view, has a happy, almost Hollywood ending, complete with a whiff of false remorse and guilt:

I went on to have a pretty seamless pregnancy. But I had a recurring feeling that this was going to come back and haunt me. Was I going to have a stillbirth or miscarry late in my pregnancy?

I had a boy, and everything is fine. But thinking about becoming pregnant again is terrifying. Am I going to have quintuplets? I would do the same thing if I had triplets again, but if I had twins, I would probably have twins. Then again, I don't know.

Well, it certainly good to know that 'everything is fine' and that there is a boy survivor in the world. But it is not so good to know that Ms. Richards only took from this experience what she brought into it -- nihilism, selfishness, and an ego much bigger than her sense.

She's the very essence of the Modern Feminist of the Future, all me and no see. Triplets, no. Twins, maybe -- but maybe not.

Michelle Malkin who pointed this story out comments: " So she's terrified? I can only imagine how her surviving son will feel when he grows up and learns about the fate of his siblings."

I don't. There's nothing in Ms. Richards' character that makes me think she'll have the guts to tell him about it. I realize that means that I believe she'll finally develop a sense of shame about what she did, but I believe even the most vapid among us can grow a real moral sense. At least, that's my hope.

Posted by Vanderleun at July 18, 2004 4:09 PM | TrackBack
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Perhaps the survivor will grow up to believe that elderly people with Alzheimer's or another terminal illness have no right to life either. And what will Momma do then?

Posted by: Connecticut Yankee at July 18, 2004 6:22 PM

I'll remember her testimony the next time some judge awards custody to a wife because she just HAS to be a better carer or nurturer.

Posted by: slats at July 18, 2004 7:38 PM

Tell me, again, why the hell we bother fighting the islamofascists when we live this way? Sometimes, I'd rather that our culture cut to the chase and die.

If you counter that, like the Dark Ages following the Roman Emprie's fall, what comes after might be worse, my reply is: how? In -- mostly -- the first half of the last Century, Post Modernism/Socialism murdered 100 million via military and paramilitary means. In the second half (mostly), it's murdered almost the same via quiet, sterile, clinical measures ("selective reduction" -- I love that! 'A final solution to the pregnancy question').

One hundred years and, basically, two hundred million murdered. I love this planet.

Posted by: Clayton Barnett at July 18, 2004 8:16 PM

I once participated in some forums, administered by highly liberal moderators, in which posters actually made the claim that the New York Times was NOT liberal, but, in fact, almost not liberal enough. I wondered what they were smoking.

What I can't quite understand, in this never-ending, ever-living (pun intended) abortion debate, is how WOMEN can actually go along with this idea that killing one's child--who is half his/her mother and half his/her father--is the key to women's true equality and liberty. Selective reproduction is not freedom--its fascism. "Reproductive freedom" is an illusion. There is nothing okay about "electing" to annhiliate another human being because its MERE EXISTENCE inconviences the mother. So this woman decided that she couldn't be a mother to triplets....so, what, she couldn't give the other two up for adoption? She didn't want to "cramp" her "lifestyle" of freelance writing in NYC, so she made the choice for her child that it was going to hinder her progress as an "empowered" woman in this society.

We do not BECOME persons--we ARE persons. You do not have a day where you are not a person and then suddenly, ta da! You're a person! You're a person on your [insert arbitrary number here]-day of gestation. The day before, you were just a nothing, and the next day, you became a person. That doesn't make any sense. Life is a continuum. We all begin the same way. Even Kate Michelman, though many pro-choicers would probably claim she was torn from the thigh of Zeus.

Children are not things to be "gotten"--they are not possessions. They are not OWNED by the mother, they are not the PROPERTY of the mother. They are human beings who must be treated with dignity and respect. To say that the adult woman's right to her "lifestyle" trumps the unborn child's right to simply exist is--if she "feels" it wouldn't be "fair"--this kind of thinking is, perhaps, the most dangerous, relativistic reasoning since World War II.

Posted by: Jacqueline Byrne at July 19, 2004 6:56 AM

[sarcasm]Now that I think about it, she's probably right. I mean, the world really suffer without her university lectures.[/sarcasm]


Posted by: Jacqueline Byrne at July 19, 2004 7:03 AM

My wife and I are the parents of delightful twin girls. They are three years old now, and we have had to make many financial and professional sacrifices for their welfare. We don't regret it one bit.

We were both horrified and revolted by the article in the Times. This self-centered monster killed two people so she could continue sipping lattes at Starbucks. Keep that in mind the next time the Democrats block yet another of Bush's judicial nominees. If the Democrats have their way, this type of atrocity will become the norm.

Posted by: Jonathan at July 19, 2004 7:47 AM

Oh, but it's really just so great that Amy doesn't have to deal with the burden of feeling guilty. Since, you know, she didn't do anything "wrong" under the hypocritical eyewitness of the Supreme Court. Yeesh.

I think it's bizarre how pro-choice feminists swear by the faulty reasoning of the Supreme Court, as if the Supreme Court is completely infallible....and yet they RAIL against Catholics' belief in Papal infallibility. WTF?

There used to be a time when a mother would sacrifice her life to save her child. Now mothers sacrifice their children to save their own LIFESTYLE.

Women become mothers when the child is conceived, not when the child is born, because maternal duties--like nourishment--begin as soon as the child exists. But I'm afraid they don't want the "burden" of feeling "guilty," and so the child must pay. The child always pays, nowadays.

Posted by: Jacqueline Byrne at July 19, 2004 8:22 AM

Hey, look at it from "Peter the Boyfriend's" point of view: he saving on child support.

Posted by: noboy important at July 19, 2004 8:24 AM


I understand that language is not static and I understand that when you say a women is a mother you mean not just those women who gave birth to a live child but any women who ever had a fertilized egg in her body, but I can make no sense of: "Selective reproduction is not freedom--its fascism." or "Reproductive freedom" is an illusion."

Posted by: Charles Croninger at July 19, 2004 11:22 AM

"Hard to imagine if "Peter the Boyfriend" would have had much of a future with this woman if he'd piped up to say, "Maybe it isn't such a good idea to kill off two of my children." He'd be history and Amy would be wrapped in the arms of the sisterhood at feminist.com."

From a Darwinian point of view, he did the right thing. Because the alternative might have gone:
"Peter the Boyfriend" Maybe it isn't such a good idea to kill off two of my children."
Amy: (looks at him, and coldly recognises that this worm is not quite what she thought he was - there is something there with a will, or the potential for a will, of its own, and an attachment to its future that has no value for Amy): "You're right, Peter. It must be all three."
Amy then has all the little Peters exterminated, and gets much support from the sisterhood at feminist.com, blaming him, and men in general, for not being supportive enough.
Eventually she works this complaint into a piece in the New York Times, and a poll finds most modern women agree: you can't have the babies of the sort of man who would question your decision to eliminate them.

Posted by: David Blue at July 19, 2004 12:07 PM

Charles--first of all, again, you are using relativistic pro-"choice" rhetoric, reducing an unborn child to a "fertilized egg." By the time a woman finds out she's pregnant, it looks pretty much like a baby, tiny though it is. The "fertilized egg" part only lasts a couple of weeks, and during that time, the woman doesn't even know she's pregnant.

I must say, all the pro-"choice" men I've come across are almost always more vehement than the pro-"choice" women I know. Selective reduction/reproduction IS fascism and/or neo-Nazism, i.e, the social engineering of certain cultural aspects to the ends of the greatest possible prosperity for them at the expense of all else. Fascism is reactionary and imperialistic. Of course, I can understand how "anti-abortionists" are viewed as "Nazis" or "fascists," claiming that we are "imposing" our beliefs onto someone else's liberty--their body specifically. But most of those in the pro-life community are simply saying that no individual has the right to kill another person because that person is an obstacle to the life they envision for themselves.

Thus, using the stage of life of the unborn human being to DE-humanize it and excuse its termination is nothing less than fascistic reasoning. When a society claims that the most defenseless and innocent of human beings have no right to exist unless his or her mother SAYS SO is absolutely horrifying.

I am, in fact, a rape victim. I am simply anti-sex or anti-abortion. I am certainly not anti-woman. I am, however, against the hubris and pride and self-centered attitude that unborn life is only valuable when planned and wanted.

Posted by: Jacqueline Byrne at July 19, 2004 12:20 PM

I meant to say I AM NOT SIMPLY "anti-sex" or "anti-abortion"--In fact, I have no problem with pre-marital sex. Whatever. I don't care who anybody sleeps with.

I am not simply "anti-abortion" because I am against war. I am against capital punishment, too. The problem with the Great Abortion Debate is that nobody wants to say what it really is, let alone SHOW what it really is. It is people saying, I CAN DECIDE WHICH HUMANS LIVE AND WHICH DIE BASED ON WHAT IS BEST FOR ME. That is frightening. Imagine if we applied that reasoning to our every-day lives. Imagine if everyone who was an inconvenience to us could be exterminated and thrown into the trash.

Now, tell me, what makes the unborn NOT a person--the way it looks? It's age? Where it lives? No woman *I* know has ever given birth to a carrot or a puppy. To call an unborn child "fetus" to make sure no "emotional" or "sentimental" language interferes with our precious "reproductive freedom"--what is that? The reason I say "reproductive freedom" is an illusion is because TOTAL CONTROL is an illusion.

Pro-choicers think, If I can't control my own body, WHAT NEXT? But we are not talking about the woman's body. We are talking about the baby's body, the baby who is killed. The woman is inconvenienced for, like, what, nine months? Reproductive freedom......that's a joke. Motherhood is not a liberty. Motherhood is not a right. It is a privelege and an honor, and a duty as well. And if a woman makes all kinds of choices (which is her right) that leads to the creation of another wholly unique individual, she DOES NOT have the right to kill it because she is "not ready." If you are not ready for the possibility of motherhood, then you are not responsible enough to have sex. I don't preach abstinence, because I never practiced abstinence. But I sure as hell believe in accountability.

Posted by: Jacqueline Byrne at July 19, 2004 12:30 PM

She probably chisled the nanny down too, seeing as she is a mother ("mother"??) who is happy to watch her "stand alone" grow-up rather than raise her own child.

How sad her son will read this later and feel compelled, as boys are, to defend his "mother".


Posted by: Andrew de Villiers at July 19, 2004 5:05 PM

Jacqueline Byrne says:



People have been making the decision for over 2,500 years that we know of.

Now what ever you may think of abortion, we find that whenever it is outlawed a black market arises.

So the question is not is abortion right or wrong. That has pretty much been decided. The question is: can government control it without creating harms worse than the original problem (drug war anyone?).

We know a black market will arise because in 1969 in Berkely Calif. the local undreground paper gave instructions on how to perform an abotion in a living room. At an abortion party. Now we have the internet and RU-485. Abortion will be stopped by laws. In America? This is a joke. Right?

Well I suppose given the mood of the country we could try this again before giving alcohol prohibition another go.

Posted by: M. Simon at July 19, 2004 7:56 PM


I believe having an abortion to better take care of yourself and your remaining children was always one of the top three or four reasons. it was the #1 reason for married women to have abortions.

It may be selfish but humans have been this way for a very long time.


Now let us see. If we gave every woman in America a weekly certified government approved pregnancy test we could stamp out abortion permanently. Just as drug testing has permanently stamped out drug use.

Oh. Yeah. All miscarriages will be classified as homicide investigations until reviewed. And of course the women will need to be jailed during the review. After all having an abortion is a potential murder charge. We could have a special jail all comfortable like built for the recovering murderers I mean mothers. Or we could do what is done so often to drug addicted mothers. Chain them to their hospital beds. Should their miscarriage require hospitalization. All women will be suspect and need to be watched and their visitors reported.

You know stamping out abortion sounds like a job for Castro. He has a system exactly suited to the task.

I suppose we could ask for advice. I'm told he loves giving advice.

We CAN put a stop to abortion with the right methods. A Pregnancy Enforcement Administration. We can name a pregnancy czar. The czar can be the chief PEA brain. America can take the lead in forced pregnancies.

Satan will be forever tormented. Just like he was during alcohol prohibition.

I wouldn't worry about any of this though. Just think of it as the Republican version of Hillary care.

Posted by: M. Simon at July 19, 2004 8:22 PM

Now suppose we charge the women $25 for each testing service opportunity. Times 52 times a year. Times 120 million women. Do you have any idea of the amount of revenue this will generate? Steady cash flow independent of the economy.

I bet if you start talking money and jobs you can get the Democrats to sign on. I mean look at how easy airport security was. And how well done too.

Now that I consider it I must confess that if government can solve the drug and abortion questions perhaps they need to look at housing and food too. And the medical care mess.

I mean there is no reason Democrats and Republicans can't be friends in government. After all the goal is the same. More government. All we need is a bit more bipartisanship.

Posted by: M. Simon at July 19, 2004 8:46 PM

BTW I'm not sure you are aware of this but the morality of abortion was decided by pagans. 500 years before Christ. The pagans said it was wrong.

What makes Christians think they have a special claim on the issue? They are kind of Johny come latelys. In so many ways. The Christian emphasis on the morality of abortion is recent. It is not a long standing chuch position that has recieved continuous attention over the ages.

I mean the pagans knew abortion was murder 2,500 years ago. What took the Christians so long to catch on? And now that they have caught on the best thing they can think of is to make anti-abortion a government program? How just like a Democrat. I mean Republican. It all gets so confusing these days.

Posted by: M. Simon at July 19, 2004 9:25 PM

Pagans opposed abortion? What evidence do you have for this, M. Simon? I always thought that one of the primary draws of Christianity to women in ancient times was that it forbade abortion, infanticide, and discouraged arranged marriages, in contrast to the prevailing pagan mores.

Don't get me wrong I have no prejudice against pagans. I'm just saying...

As for "stamping out abortion", the Poles banned the procedure back in 1996. Women's gynecological health improved. They didn't need a "pregnancy czar" to do so. Nor, incidentally, did the number of births skyrocket (actually, the birth rate dropped for unrelated reasons). It seems that, when not given the option to abort, people just become a bit more careful in their behavior.

Posted by: Marc at July 19, 2004 11:47 PM

M. Simon--you should do a little more research. Why pro-choice activists think only Christians are pro-life is beyond me. The evidence to the contrary is right under your nose.

I became pro-life after eleven years of research. It was the argument of two pro-life atheist Jewish Libertarians that convinced me (one of them a lesbian).

You talk about about a black market. So? There will always be women seeking abortions, because an unplanned pregnancy at a seemingly inopportune time will always cause alarm.

First, I think you should know, I do not blame the pregnant women. I have been through a crisis pregnancy. I feel for them. I DO blame, however, Michelman, Feldt, et. al, for continously LYING to these women and taking their money. Abortion is not liberating--it just makes more problems.

You know, making child abuse illegal isn't going to stop it. Making rape illegal isn't going to stop it. Making abortion illegal isn't going to stop it, but at least we can look at what we're doing and take some responsibility. Especially as the people we are killing have no good reason to be killed.

And thanks for cluttering this board with your self-serving nonsense.

Posted by: Jacqueline Byrne at July 20, 2004 5:22 AM

Hey Simon,

Thanks for the first rate lesson on what the druids were up too 3 millenia past. Maybe Stonehenge is some paean to that sentiment, huh Simon?

And what do you believe kept Christians waiting to object Simon, if in fact this isn't some nonsensical ruse? Perhaps in 1850 there was no broad effort by millions of liberals to enact measures that sanction mass murder. But since then technology and a liberal judiciary have formed the ideal binary compound for effecting the slaughter. NICE. And I'll bet you object to using lab rats.

Let the black market thrive if it must - it won't approximate 1.5 million murders a year - which is good enough for me. I don't know why you're so damned concerned anyway, since all kinds of illegal activity thrives despite the law.

One day abortion will be gone. Each successive year makes it easier since the most vocal abortion proponents insist on exterminating each other. Admittedly, I have mixed feelings on that one.

No Simon, your problem isn't with pagans, abortions, or some confounded black market taking it's place. It seems to rest squarely with..{drum roll}..Christians! How novel, what bravery and stoicism you must possess to take on such a controversial and well protected group Simon. The fortitude to keep going; you have my admiration in abundance.

I really appreciate your expressions Simon, since it's a helpful reminder of the boobs normal people have to deal with in everyday life. We NEED people like you to remind us Simon, so thanks much.

Posted by: Jim from New Jersey at July 20, 2004 11:37 PM

Black market - THAT's a good one. I suppose we should make the murder of adults legal too, since it still goes on despite the law? After all, hiring a hit man is awfully dangerous - legalized murder WOULD be safer.
"BTW I'm not sure you are aware of this but the morality of abortion was decided by pagans. 500 years before Christ. The pagans said it was wrong."
Just shows how obviously wrong it is! One doesn't need divine revelation to know abortion is murder - logic alone suffices.

Posted by: Erika at August 9, 2004 8:32 PM

The fact that this woman chose to "selectively terminate" two perfectly healthy fetuses when millions of infertile couples are struggling to have a child and can't is literally, in the words of one woman "a slap in the face."

She was not a victim of incest or rape, she was not in an abusive relationship, she did not have cancer or AIDS, her fetuses did not carry Tay Sach's disease, sickle-cell anemia, neurofibromatosis, coolies anemia, Down's Syndrome, or other severe/fatal birth defects. She just didn't want to give up her lifestyle or make the necessary sacrifices for her children the way all mothers have done since time immemorial. Even her nice-as-peach-pie boyfriended suggsted they give raising triplets a shot; she ignored his desire and refused to do so.

Needless to say, the boyfriend was bothered by it - what normal guy wouldn't when there's even a slight possibility that raising multiple kids is going to be okay, and the woman terminates the multple pregnancy anyway because of selfishness?
Moreover, if her son ever finds out that two of his roomies-in-utero were aborted because his mom didn't want to raise all three of them together, or even let a friend or relative help raise them, how will he handle it?

Posted by: Camilla at October 22, 2004 11:18 PM