Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Killing Babies to Have Babies

Aug 24, 2011

When you combine moral relativism, a war on truth, out-of-control radical individualism, and a pro-death culture, you get the madness that passes for our daily newspaper headlines. Indeed, it can be argued that as we lose the ability to think straight, we also lose the ability to act right.

The sheer madness of modern thought on almost any social issue today is coupled with a moral vacuum in which anything goes. We are becoming dumbed down mentally and morally, and the tragic results are everywhere to be seen. Simply open any newspaper and the ugly effects of all this are clearly on display.

Consider some recent items in the press about abortion, IVF, and morally and mentally confused parents. Earlier this year we heard about parents who aborted twin boys conceived through IVF, because they wanted a girl instead. I wrote this story up here:

One news item on this incredible story says in part: “The husband said sex selection should be determined on a case-by-case basis. He said: ‘Girls will go and get abortions and terminate when they know it’s not the right sex. That’s the reality. We think it’s our right to have a chance to do it. It’s ridiculous that sex selection is illegal, actually.’ And one of the country’s IVF pioneers said he agreed the couple should be allowed to choose the sex of their next baby. Professor Gab Kovacs said: ‘I can’t see how it could possibly harm anyone’.”

No harm? What about the death of the unwanted baby, simply because he or she is the wrong gender? How totally bizarre is this? We are creating babies by artificial means, but if they don’t meet our particular specifications, we kill them.

But sadly this schizoid life/death arrangement has become a regular occurrence. In fact, it is so common that the New York Times recently featured a lengthy article on all this. Entitled “The Two-Minus-One Pregnancy,” it speaks to this widespread practice with barely a trace of ethical concern.

The article offers some personal stories of couples who have had twins through IVF, only to kill one of the babies for various reasons. It is a great example of the mental gymnastics people will engage in to push their immoral agendas. The article begins, in part, this way:

“For all its successes, reproductive medicine has produced a paradox: in creating life where none seemed possible, doctors often generate more fetuses than they intend. In the mid-1980s, they devised an escape hatch to deal with these megapregnancies, terminating all but two or three fetuses to lower the risks to women and the babies they took home.

“But what began as an intervention for extreme medical circumstances has quietly become an option for women carrying twins. With that, pregnancy reduction shifted from a medical decision to an ethical dilemma. As science allows us to intervene more than ever at the beginning and the end of life, it outruns our ability to reach a new moral equilibrium. We still have to work out just how far we’re willing to go to construct the lives we want.”

At least the word “moral” is mentioned. But it is all downhill from there. Consider this clear-cut case of mental and moral confusion: “What is it about terminating half a twin pregnancy that seems more controversial than reducing triplets to twins or aborting a single fetus? After all, the math’s the same either way: one fewer fetus. Perhaps it’s because twin reduction (unlike abortion) involves selecting one fetus over another, when either one is equally wanted. Perhaps it’s our culture’s idealized notion of twins as lifelong soul mates, two halves of one whole. Or perhaps it’s because the desire for more choices conflicts with our discomfort about meddling with ever more aspects of reproduction.”

What a minute – stop right there at the first sentence. What do you mean, “terminating half a twin pregnancy”? Just how foolish is this? Twins, as the name clearly indicates, means we have two babies – two, distinct and separate individuals.

When you kill one of the two babies, you have not killed half of anything; you have killed an entire and complete human being. As always, by playing fast and loose with language, the moral relativists think they can cover up a multitude of sins.

And so much of this killing involves the worrying trend in designer babies. We want to create children to order – much like we go to the counter of a hamburger joint and tell them whether or not we want pickles or mustard with the burger. Our cafeteria lifestyle has now even extended to how we have children.

The article continues: “Who doesn’t want to create a more certain and comfortable future for themselves and their children? The more that science makes that possible, the more it has inflated our expectations of what family life should be. We’ve come to believe that the improvements are not only our due but also our responsibility. Just look at the revolution in attitudes toward selecting egg or sperm donors. In the 1970s, when sperm donation took off, most clients were married women with infertile husbands; many couples didn’t want to know about the source of the donation. Today patients in the United States can choose donors based not only on their height, hair color and ethnicity but also on their academic and athletic accomplishments, temperament, hairiness and even the length of a donor’s eyelashes.”

This is brave new world sort of stuff, and it is getting worse all the time. Today it is hair colour, but tomorrow it is what? A perfect race to rule the world? Have we not seen all this before? Have we not yet learned the lessons of history?

Al Mohler recently penned some commentary on the NYT article. His insights are worth sharing. “Those who have tried to justify any and all means of controlling reproduction must face squarely the fact that they have created what amounts to a consumer market for babies — and customers eventually find someone to provide what they demand. When it comes to human life, the stage is set for tragedy.”

He concludes this way: “‘The Two-Minus-One Pregnancy’ is one of the most significant articles of recent years. With chilling and unflinching candor, Ruth Padawer virtually forces her readers to see the twisted thinking that justifies the killing of the unborn, and then she tries to evade moral responsibility by calling the procedure a ‘reduction.’

“There is a story behind this story, of course. The intersection where modern reproductive technologies and legal abortion meet is now a deadly place for many unborn babies. In the name of personal preference and for ‘social reasons,’ some women now demand that their multiple babies be aborted so that they will have only the one baby they want.

“Padawer says that many Americans are uneasy about this knowledge, perhaps ‘because the desire for more choices conflicts with our discomfort about meddling with ever more aspects of reproduction.’ But the procedure so dishonestly called ‘reduction’ is really not about mere ‘meddling.’ It is murder.”

Quite so. Call it what you like; seek to dress it up all you like; play all the verbal engineering games you like, but at the end of the day we still end up with a dead baby – all in the name of choice.–try-baby-girl-daughter-died.html

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23 Responses to Killing Babies to Have Babies

  • Thank you for speaking the truth.
    Lauren Butler

  • So true Bill. One day the parents and the abortionists will have to answer to God for this.
    John Bennett

  • Hi Bill,

    I wish you didn’t need to write articles like this. But because of the apathy and the indifferent of our society today, to the life of a baby yet to be born, these articles still have to be written. I have always been single but often think I should have been a father to two or three children by now. Whatever happened to life being a gift? A blessing? I don’t care whether it is a boy or girl as long as it’s healthy? It is sad our society looks like it is becoming more amoral and selfish as time goes by. This is a ungrateful generation living in luxury with sanitation to hot and cold running water; the availability of food to all our electronic gismos and entertainment is unprecedented in world history. Even a hundred years ago or less. Most of the world today doesn’t have the lifestyle that we enjoy. This is something I try and remember when I dare become self absorbed in my petty problems. Is life really becoming so cheap? What can be done to change this attitude? How many church’s discuss this today? Whenever this gets brought up I am almost always told that it is a woman’s choice and I am made to feel wrong in my my opinion against abortion.

    Carl Strehlow

  • What of the child that is actually born – will this child be told that Mum chose to kill off its twin, or worse still, that it is the only living triplet? For a Mother to be able to callously decide to kill one of her unborn children there must be mental health issues later on in life. How God must weep at the way the world has rejected Him.
    Joan Davidson

  • Quite right Joan.
    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • I would just like to say thanks to Carl. I too haven’t had children of my own and I very much doubt it will ever happen at my age of 46. But I take your point. It’s incredibly sad to think it’s come to this, the way these people are choosing. Yes although were not women and I’ve been told so many times, I don’t understand because I’m not a woman, I still hold fast to the fact that for a woman to take the liberty of choosing between a girl and boy and disposing of the unwanted one makes me sick.
    Daniel Kempton

  • Abortion has such a negative and tragic psychological effect on the mother and father of the aborted baby. How can this be so unknown and covered up. I think if people knew the psychological devastation abortion causes, babies would be more protected ensuring a living child is born and ensuring the psychological health and well being of the parents. Your article is just overwhelmingly sad.
    Maree Wood

  • Bill, you refer to “brave new world” as a label.

    May I suggest that it is worth emphasising that Aldous Huxley dared to think this to its horrible logical conclusion a long time ago, in his book of that title.

    As a “humanist” he may have been advocating for it, but nevertheless God can speak through the pen of an atheist, as well as through the mouth of a donkey.

    John Angelico

  • I think I can safely say that any woman who kills off a foetus in pursuit of a baby that suits her design specification must be as thick as three short planks. The sort who gets rid of a pet cat because it doesn’t match the carpet. The sort who has been given far too much and doesn’t appreciate any of it! The sort who is on her own personal adventure totally incapable of thinking of anyone else but herself. The sort who thinks that life is just a consumer’s trip round the supermarket.

    Once you’ve got what you wanted so very much, you invariably want something else.

    Rachel Smith

  • I read these articles last week and they made me sick.

    The interesting part thought has been following how pro-choice advocates have responded to these articles – clearly by choosing one child over another they are acknowledging that these are children, not just ‘lumps of tissue’. But that puts them in a bind because their whole argument is based on unborn babies not being children!

    Christie Ewens

  • Hi Bill,

    You said

    This is brave new world sort of stuff, and it is getting worse all the time. Today it is hair colour, but tomorrow it is what? A perfect race to rule the world? Have we not seen all this before? Have we not yet learned the lessons of history?

    I’m pretty sure at this point the answer is no, we really really haven’t learned the lesson yet. It is still one we are in the process of learning.

    What do you expect from an insane morally compromised post-christian west?

    Jason Rennie

  • Carl
    “ long as its healthy..”. Remember its still a baby, a child of two parents, and of God, regardless of its physical characteristics.
    Dunstan Hartley

  • ” play all the verbal engineering”.
    Bill, you have redifined the word baby, which really means from birth to one year, murdering a baby is a lot more emotive than killing a fetus. I guess it serves your purpose.
    Gregory Storer

  • Thanks Gregory

    Sure, there never has been a mother in human history who glowingly referred to the baby she was carrying. Tell me another one. The truth is, for example, no mother laments a mere foetus when he or she dies in a miscarriage. The mother and everyone else not pushing a callous agenda know that a baby has been lost, and they mourn accordingly.

    Play all the ugly and deceptive word games you like, but baby killing is still baby killing. But we have long ago come to expect you atheists and secular humanists to seek to defend the indefensible. What a ghastly and anti-life worldview you so desperately cling to.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • You are of course right Dunstan. “… a child of two parents, and of God, regardless of its physical characteristics.” It was a response I use to get when I asked many years ago whenever expectant parents wanted a boy or girl. I also apologise using the word ‘it’. I should have read that more carefully. A baby is not an it. I can’t believe that many people out there don’t think that life begins at conception. I mean is not a sapling that grows into a tree not life? Of course it is. Yet again in my experience if I express my views in that area, people look at me as though it is wrong that I hold onto that opinion. Or they tell me off in effect saying it is the womans choice. etc etc. They get quite emotive about it actually.
    Carl Strehlow

  • Thanks Bill,
    Of course stillbirth, miscarriages and other unexpected death of a baby is a deeply emotional time. That is very different to an abortion, which is a different procedure and carries a different set of emotions.
    Gregory Storer

  • Thanks Gregory

    Of course on the one hand they are absolutely different. In the first case an accidental and unintentional death of a baby takes place. In the second case the deliberate and intentional killing of a baby takes place.

    But on the other hand both are absolutely identical, in that a baby – a unique, individual, fully human person, with his or her own distinct genetic makeup – is dead as a result.

    But sorry, your illogic is absolutely bizarre to behold here. Why in your worldview should any of these first cases of baby loss be “a deeply emotional time”? In your view, this is merely a foetus, a blob of tissues, a clump of cells. Why get bent out of shape about that? We don’t get all emotional when we cut our hair or clip our fingernails.

    The reason all normal people deeply grieve when a miscarriage and the like occurs is because a full member of the human race has died. A living person who has all the same inherent right to life as any one of us has lost his or her life. And of course the exact same members of the human race die when deliberately killed in an abortion. Same human beings. Same loss of human life. Same tragic outcome. We only have a different means of getting to the same place.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Gregory
    The definition of a baby that you have used has only been necessary since abortion was decriminalised; especially in Victoria, where it is legal to abort a baby right up to the full gestation period. Peter Kavanagh, ex MLC for Victoria, detailed 52 cases where babies, who survived the abortion procedure, were left to die after they were born. Even by your limited definition of a baby that was murder; yet nobody was ever charged with murder. Why not?
    Dunstan Hartley

  • Gregory Storer,

    I am a medical doctor, today (as on many days in my profession) I saw a very anxious young couple who had a embryo within the mother’s womb which has only been in existence for 5 weeks and is about centimetre in size. She was having a threatened miscarriage, and you could see the fear on their faces for their child, followed by the relief when I told them that the scan showed the baby is alive and has a healthy heart beat.

    Jereth Kok

  • I had the absolute pleasure recently of hearing Bruce Coleman the founder of ‘Choices of Life’ give a talk to 50 or so year 10 students about the ‘wonder of life’ from conception to birth. Using a slide show of human development, listing factual information of genetics and biology, and then show actual life size models of a 10 week old fully developed baby to a 20 week baby, it was awesome to see and hear the audience response.

    The students filled out response forms many of them admitting their absolute ignorance on this issue and now for the first time realizing it is a precious human life in the same place where every single one of us started. When Bruce asked for guesses about how many abortions they thought might happen every week in Australia, the room went silent, when he said it was entire school community twice over (a school of 800).

    One boy wrote anonymously his recommittment to remaining a virgin until he marries for he would never want to be responsible for an abortion. A number of other girls came to talk to Bruce afterwards saying how that really helped them in their view of abortion and they had no understanding of it previously. What a great ministry – such a shame that so very few of our youth will ever hear this message.

    In case, anyone is interested in going to one of his talks, or arranging him to talk at your school, or helping in organizing school appointments for him or even presenting talks yourself- it is definitely a wonderful ministry and I am sure you would feel the way I did when I left – the joy of seeing young people being enlightened and forever changed by ‘truth’. Who knows how this one 90 minute presentation will change 50 lives forever.

    Annette Williams

  • Thanks Annette

    Yes Bruce is doing a terrific job and deserves all of our support. Please keep him in prayer and check out his website.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Gregory, could it be that when you describe the different responses to a miscarriage verses an abortion that you very eloquently describe your humanist position? For it appears that it is the women who decide, respond, are in the place of God, yet are mere humans. Hence the inconsistency of thought that Bill described earlier. How come a baby is a lump of tissues when you don’t want it, when you want to abort it, but not when you wanted a baby and lost it? Doesn’t make sense, really, does it?
    Many blessings
    Ursula Bennett

  • Dear Bill, Thank you for your sad but true words. I would say that sort of thinking is satanic not just erroneous. There is no other way to describe it. We Catholics believe that we have to strive hard to be in a state of grace or friendship with God.That means being without sin in thought, word and deed because God’s Holy Spirit being all good cannot dwell where there is evil. If the Holy Spirit can dwell within us it will bring with it Wisdom. Catholics have the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the Eucharist to assist us in living always in a state of grace and our lifelong wish is that we die in that blessed state.

    Therefore, there would be many in Australia today that would not be in a state of grace and so would not be able to exercise the Wisdom the Holy Spirit gives those who are in His friendship.They may not be in a state of grace through ignorance or lack of faith.Saying this is not meant to be arrogant or to assume I am always in a state of grace.

    This is also why we have such bad government, because as politicians are drawn from the populations they serve they depend on the people to vote for them and if many people in the population are not in a state of grace they will not be able to exercise wisdom in their choices. For instance how could a wise person vote for a woman such as Gillard knowing as they should that she believes in abortion up to birth? All I can say is that many people of good will but not in a state of grace and therefore not thinking clearly do not bother to become properly informed about the person they are voting for. The sad part is we all have to pay for unwise or evil governments Only half the German population voted for the Nazi party in the 1930’s and historians have said is was mostly the middle and upper classes who should have known better as they were better educated. His evil ideas were made plain in Mein Kampf. The whole German population had to pay for its evilness.especially its weaker members.Likewise every Australian will have to pay for the bad government Gillard leads.

    Patricia Halligan

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