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breaker

Selective reduction on 60 Minutes

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breaker

This story ran on the Australian version of 60 Minutes tonight, and it made me so angry watching it. Did anyone else see it?

 

http://sixtyminutes.ninemsn.com.au/stor ... ble-choice

 

The reporter frames it as an issue of convenience, basically. There's all kinds of shame for the women who choose to reduce their multiple pregnancies, ostensibly because they don't want to give up their "lifestyle", while the health risks of higher order pregnancy are more or less ignored except for a few seconds of an interview with an OB. And I love their choice of families to feature - a young, happy mother with a set of adorable, healthy triplets, contrasted with a mother who reduced so that she would have more time/money to spend on a singleton. Where was a family with triplets who arrived so prematurely they required months in the NICU, some or all suffered disability or even died? It's not like those families don't exist. What about higher order pregnancies where five or even six fetuses are present? It's easier for the reporter to just show emotive footage of a fetus being injected with the abortive chemical, I guess, than actually talk about some of these issues critically.

 

This feels like a report we would have seen on abortion 20 years ago. I would have expected better from a show like 60 Minutes, but maybe I'm just being naive. They even tweeted from their official Twitter:

 

 

Quote
60 Minutes Australia â€@60Minutes9

 

What a difficult question! What is life? Is selective reduction murder? #60mins

If selective reduction is murder, I guess that means abortion is murder too. Is this even the same country in which both procedures are legal?

 

ETA: It looks like they're not putting the video up on their website right away which makes this topic kind of pointless for those who didn't catch it on TV. Sorry. If mods want to delete/move that's fine.

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bananacat

Anyone who wants to deny the choice of selective reduction will cause deaths. It's that simple. In many cases if the woman doesn't reduce, one or more of the babies will die from being born so prematurely. But these people rather see a newborn die than to see a selective reduction, because they're "pro-life". Pretty much anytime someone claims to be "pro-life", they are actually the opposite and support things that would cause more death.

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holothuroidea

I really hate it when the media sensationalizes these incredibly difficult and deeply personal medical decisions. It's impossible to understand all the reasons for and against selective reduction in under an hour. It's a decision that probably takes parents many sleepless nights and also many long discussions with medical professionals.

I can't see the video, but from the way you wrote the post it makes it sound like they made it look like the decision is completely up to the mother. Did they minimize the other parent's role? It seems like they are looking for another opportunity to demonize women as murderers.

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Conuly

I can understand how selective reduction kinda feels different from other abortions. I do get it. But if we're working from the assumption that abortion is not a decision that has to do with morality (and I for one certainly am!) then selective reduction isn't any different from abortion that gets rid of all fetuses currently in the womb.

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DarkAnts
I can understand how selective reduction kinda feels different from other abortions. I do get it. But if we're working from the assumption that abortion is not a decision that has to do with morality (and I for one certainly am!) then selective reduction isn't any different from abortion that gets rid of all fetuses currently in the womb.

I guess you would also be a martyr to motherhood.

My belief is that God cant control every minute detail in our lives. Some things just happen and there is no accounting for them. Its part of the great mystery of life. I would have no trouble doing selective reduction if it would save my life or the lives of my other babies. It would be a hard decision to make.

I also dont demonize abortion. Its not something that I would probably do. But, I know that there are times when its the only option. Unwanted children get abused. I have seen this abuse first hand first hand as an adult working as a volunteer at a hospital. Its so sad to see these babies come in with bruises and cuts all over their body. Some of them have so badly abused, that their IQ suffers. Some of these children will die as a result of the abuse. I dont think this was gods plan for the children. Perhaps abortion was gods plan for these children. They would have been better off going directly to heaven and being with god. Instead, they suffered and were forever changed by abuse.

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slickcat79
I love their choice of families to feature - a young, happy mother with a set of adorable, healthy triplets, contrasted with a mother who reduced so that she would have more time/money to spend on a singleton. Where was a family with triplets who arrived so prematurely they required months in the NICU, some or all suffered disability or even died? It's not like those families don't exist. What about higher order pregnancies where five or even six fetuses are present?

I saw a program about one of those families several years ago. They actually conceived quintuplets (this was ~early 90s) and she went into very early labor, 24-25 weeks IIRC. Two of the babies died very shortly after birth, and a third one a few days later. Two of them hung on for a few weeks, and then the fourth one died. The fifth one, a boy, survived, but was completely blind and may have had other developmental issues.

According to what the parents said on the show, selective reduction was never really mentioned to them as an option. I find that hard to believe, but it may have been something their doctor was just not in favor of. They said that if they had been aware of selective reduction they might have chosen to go that route. Obviously, they were speaking from hindsight, so who knows what choice they actually would have made, but they might have faced a better outcome by doing a reduction. Maybe they could have had 2 or 3 babies to survive instead of just one, or even the one could have avoided a lifetime of extra struggles.

On another segment of the show, a family ended up having either quads or quints, along with two school-age daughters. All the babies survived and were fine, but they racked up huge medical bills. In the months after they were born, the father, who was the only wage-earner at the time, lost his job. They were scrambling to get the babies to the doctor before their insurance ran out, because the multiples had problems with their vision and hearing that were supposed to be monitored. Those parents never spoke about reduction because they were happy to have all their children home, but trying to raise them was extremely difficult. They talked about how lucky they were to have things donated at Christmas time so that their older daughters would have just a couple of small gifts. The mother was just staring, stark-faced, at the camera, wondering how they were even going to come up with a housing payment. It was very frightening for them.

TL;DR, but really, there are so many considerations that go into having and raising multiples. Just coming home with healthy babies is by no means guaranteed, and that's just the beginning.

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pomology

Considering that high order multiples can cause medical issues for both the woman and all the babies...

Yeah, it's totally just a matter of convenience that some woman wish to make sure they are alive to give birth to healthy, living babies. :roll:

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CrazySister
I really hate it when the media sensationalizes these incredibly difficult and deeply personal medical decisions. It's impossible to understand all the reasons for and against selective reduction in under an hour. It's a decision that probably takes parents many sleepless nights and also many long discussions with medical professionals.

Wholeheartedly agreed. Just as with an abortion done for any other reason, the thing vehement pro-lifers refuse to see is it's not necessarily black & white. Many, MANY times a woman chooses abortion only after taking TREMENDOUS amounts of time considering all her options, weighs the pros and cons of abortion/her raising/placing for adoption prior to making the decision to abort. It's like so many other things in their world - choosing beliefs without genuinely knowing the other sides. Deciding all homosexuals are evil pedaphiles (sp?) without actually taking the time to get to know any homosexuals.

ETA: To you lurking fundies: Yes, sometimes the decision to abort IS done simply after a positive pregnancy test and without weighing any options. SO WHAT?? ...'K, steppin' off my soapbox.

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Hane

I've read that ANY multiple-birth pregnancy--even twins--is regarded by obstetric practitioners as a high-risk pregnancy. I personally know three sets of twins and one set of triplets (combined birth weight about eight pounds) in which at least one suffers from permanent physical or cognitive issues.

Yeah, selective reduction is all about Mom being able to afford Jimmy Choos and have time for her kid's Suzuki violin lessons.

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Conuly
I guess you would also be a martyr to motherhood.

Because I think that the choice to have an abortion is not a matter of morality one way or another and that selective reduction, different as it feels, is in reality no different from any other abortion?

Did you happen to misunderstand "not a matter of morality" as "immoral"? Because the two concepts are different. Abortion (or not), as far as I'm concerned, is as much of a moral choice as the choice to paint your house blue instead of green. I suppose you can make morals part of that, but....

(Or, no, maybe it's more in line with eating a BLT instead of an apple. I can see how some people consider eating meat morally wrong, but I'd be quite taken aback if any of them accused me of murder because I *do* eat meat.)

My belief is that God cant control every minute detail in our lives. Some things just happen and there is no accounting for them. Its part of the great mystery of life. I would have no trouble doing selective reduction if it would save my life or the lives of my other babies. It would be a hard decision to make.

My belief is that there is no God and that I don't want to have children, so... yeah. Selective reduction wouldn't enter into it at all because no matter how many fetuses mysteriously might appear in my womb, they're all going.

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dawbs

Here's one of the areas where I get stuck...

if it's 'playing God' to selective reduce, etc...isn't it playing God to do things medically that lead to needing selective reduction?

And...don't these people read these things?

I don't 'like' selective reduction, personally. I don't wish to condemn anyone who makes that choice (heaven knows, choices can be hard) and I'm not wishing to legislate it at all...but I personally wouldn't be comfortable with it (that's why we call it 'choice', I can choose to not be OK w/ it for me :-P)

ANd that is why, when we talked fertility options with my OB, I made it clear I wouldn't be doing any procedures that would give us a high likelihood of high-order multiples.

Why is that so hard- for people to think one step ahead?

(I know these things occur spontaneously on occasion, but most involve fertility treatments.)

Don't like selective reduction? be careful w/ fertility meds, follow the directions about using condoms when you're ready for you IUI, don't allow more than 2 embryos to be transferred into you, etc

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Glass Cowcatcher

This issue is why I started to really, really hate Kate Gosselin. She went through two multiple pregnancies, knew the risks and complications firsthand, but still talked about selective reproduction as if it was the same as elective abortion.

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ADoyle90815
This issue is why I started to really, really hate Kate Gosselin. She went through two multiple pregnancies, knew the risks and complications firsthand, but still talked about selective reproduction as if it was the same as elective abortion.

Same here, in fact I refused to watch that show even when she was still married.

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Rowan

ANd that is why, when we talked fertility options with my OB, I made it clear I wouldn't be doing any procedures that would give us a high likelihood of high-order multiples.

Why is that so hard- for people to think one step ahead?

Because most of the procedures that have the higher risk are the earlier in the process cheaper procedures. Some insurances won't cover the more-expensive more invasive treatments like IVF where there is more control until the less-expensive ones are tried.

True, there are people who act irresponsibly (Khate, who specifically ignored instructions to avoid sex when her ovaries were known to be over-stimulated), but some people don't have tens and hundreds of thousands to throw at the doctor and are doing what they can with what they have. Technologies are improving - there's a drug now (don't remember the name) that works like Clomid but only to produce one egg, even twins are extremely rare. But it's newer and it may not work for everyone.

Every person, every couple's, situation is different. So I can understand why people would end up with a multiple pregnancy. And I won't condemn them for it - or for choosing selective reduction or not. That is their choice to make and while I think people like the OctoMom are horribly selfish and foolish in their decisions, that single decision not to reduce is hardly the only thing that I am basing my opinion of her on.

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Witsec7

Perhaps I'm the only one here that doesn't regard this as abortion.

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pomology
Perhaps I'm the only one here that doesn't regard this as abortion.

I don't, but even if I did, I'm not sure why it's a big deal, given that I'm completely pro-choice.

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desertvixen
Perhaps I'm the only one here that doesn't regard this as abortion.

I don't know if I really consider it abortion but it definitely belongs in the class of medical procedures which I want people to mind their own damn business about.

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valsa
Perhaps I'm the only one here that doesn't regard this as abortion.

I consider an abortion to be pretty much any intentional termination of a fetus by the woman carrying it, so this does count.

May I ask why you don't regard it as an abortion?

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Witsec7

I consider an abortion to be pretty much any intentional termination of a fetus by the woman carrying it, so this does count.

May I ask why you don't regard it as an abortion?

Good question and it made me think. Perhaps because the term abortion is a highly charged word, and because there are surviving fetuses, and the reduction is part of an ongoing medical procedure. Its not like a woman with five zygotes walks past the protesters at a clinic to have a reduction. Admittedly this isn't the strongest defense for my thought process but it's been my POV on the subject for while.

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holothuroidea

Technically speaking, abortion is the termination of a pregnancy. In the case of selective reduction if one fetus is removed, the pregnancy still proceeds.

Personally I think it's a gray area.

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valsa

The reason I ask is because I worry there's an unconscious perception that this isn't abortion because, after all, these women had a "good reason" to terminate (the health of the other fetuses) Like it doesn't count as abortion if you just have a good enough reason to do it. I know the people at FJ are probably too smart to buy into that sort of thing, but I worry that's the sentiment that lurks beneath the surface.

Technically speaking, abortion is the termination of a pregnancy. In the case of selective reduction if one fetus is removed, the pregnancy still proceeds.

Probably technically true, but what else would we call it? Feticide has a nasty connotation to it.

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emmiedahl
The reason I ask is because I worry there's an unconscious perception that this isn't abortion because, after all, these women had a "good reason" to terminate (the health of the other fetuses) Like it doesn't count as abortion if you just have a good enough reason to do it. I know the people at FJ are probably too smart to buy into that sort of thing, but I worry that's the sentiment that lurks beneath the surface.

Probably technically true, but what else would we call it? Feticide has a nasty connotation to it.

Feticide is a legal term for a crime, so I don't think it fits. I think selective reduction is a good term actually, although Americans hate those big words. :roll:

I know someone in a vague social way who decided not to reduce her triplet pregnancy even though it was recommended and so necessary that the local Catholic hospital had no issue with it being performed there. The babies are now teens and dealing with so many issues, but she considers it a moral triumph over teh eebil doctors because they all survived. I respect her right to make that decision, but surely we can all understand, pro-choice or not, why someone might want a different outcome?

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valsa

Feticide is a legal term for a crime, so I don't think it fits. I think selective reduction is a good term actually, although Americans hate those big words. :roll:

I did actually look up "feticide" and it just says "the act of causing the death of a fetus", so it doesn't necessarily carry legal significance.

I don't mind "selective reduction", though I can imagine the fundies foaming at the mouth, "'selective reduction' is just the PC phrase for 'abortion', which is just the PC word for 'murder'!!!!"

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emmiedahl

I did actually look up "feticide" and it just says "the act of causing the death of a fetus", so it doesn't necessarily carry legal significance.

I don't mind "selective reduction", though I can imagine the fundies foaming at the mouth, "'selective reduction' is just the PC phrase for 'abortion', which is just the PC word for 'murder'!!!!"

I am sure it says that in the dictionary, the dictionary says similar for other -icide type terms. It is like homicide and infanticide, you automatically think wrongful death-->crime. We do think in terms of crime and legal matters when we hear the -icide ending. They aren't always crimes, you're right, but I hate to have a mother who is making a health decision dealing with terms that have this semantic baggage.

We don't call it oncocide when we treat cancer or plasmocide when we take anti-malarials. Because the life we are taking is just not that important compared to the life of its host. (And also because no one cares about invertebrate life, but that is another matter.)

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valsa

I am sure it says that in the dictionary, the dictionary says similar for other -icide type terms. It is like homicide and infanticide, you automatically think wrongful death-->crime. We do think in terms of crime and legal matters when we hear the -icide ending. They aren't always crimes, you're right, but I hate to have a mother who is making a health decision dealing with terms that have this semantic baggage.

I agree. I was thinking the wrongful death angle when I first mentioned it, which is why I said the word had a nasty connotation. Though I suppose the same thing could be said about calling it an "abortion". Maybe I'm just longing for a day when the word "abortion" won't be viewed with any more extra baggage than "selective reduction". Bad enough that people get all up in arms about miscarriages being, medically, termed as "spontaneous abortions".

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