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August 04, 2004

More on That Triplets "Selective Reduction" Story.

Y'all will remember a few weeks back the story in the NYT Magazine about the woman carrying triplets who had two of them killed so that she didn't have to "Move to Staten Island and buy mayo from Costco". There was a fair old furore in that part of the Blogosphere that I inhabit, with Allah, Michele, The American Digest, Bill (who was. while still not happy a little more tolerant than the rest of us and also hosted in his comments section a huge catfight over the question), Michelle, James, the avowedly pro-choice Sekimori, Poliblogger and Bryan all weighing in with their thoughts. I have no doubt that the argument went further but I have not gone through all the trackbacks to those various posts, those are just the ones that I saw at the time. My own reaction is here.
So far this just looks like a bad case of link-whoring but there is something new to add.
One of my readers, someone I know from both this blog and work, read the story in the NYT and decided to try and contact Ms Richards. His email to her is as follows (I've removed the email address):

Date: Thu, 22 Jul 2004 11:05:45 -0400
Subject: From a pro choice parent

Dear Amy,

How come delivering the twins and giving them up for adoption never
seemed to be an option? You're obviously accomplished, smart,
energetic. Don't you think those kids would be at least as successful
and as bright as you are having inherited your fine genes?
Here's our situation. My wife and I are both 37. She works as an
attorney, I work as a metals broker. We have 3 young kids aged 3, 5 and
7. My wife graduated from Bryn Mawr College and considers herself a pro-
choice feminist. We don't come from wealth. Both our parents had broken
marriages and, like you, neither of us saw much of our fathers. You seem
like the type of person who we would be friends with, so please dont view
this as a finger wagging letter. Its just a letter from one parent to
another.
Something I have learned in making the leap from grad school to the real
world, (or from being single to being married and having children) is
that theory and practice don't always meet head-on. In this case, I
think your grad school inspired feminist convictions and sense of self
importance led you to make a decision you may come to regret. For all
that you have to offer, Amy, I think you short-changed yourself by making
this choice and ignoring the needs of your soul. Perhaps now you may not
know what I am getting at, but give it some time.
If the choice of selective reduction was all about you and what is good
for your lifestyle, then I understand what you think you were trying to
achieve. But speaking plainly as a "not religious and not ideologically
bent" regular kind of guy, I've got to tell you, my wife and I agree
there is nothing more satisfying to our inner peace and to the
nourishment of our souls than our three, beautiful, rowdy, demanding,
loving, feisty, messy, affectionate children. You know that sometimes
life is a struggle, and my wife and I have learned to balance work, our
own pursuits and our volunteerism with the needs of our kids.
Incidentally, we have no relatives here to help us and there was no road
map given to us on how to raise kids and balance work, etc. We just rely
on our intelligence and experience so we try to figure it out as we go
along. We still dont know what the future holds, but I've got to tell
you, life has never been better.
The irony of the Times piece is it seems as though you made this decision
thinking it was what was best for you, but what you may not have realized
at the time was that YOU - for the sake of your contribution to the
world, for your sense of pride, for the overall well being of your soul,
and for the chance to show these two children how they can help create a
better world - you were the one who probably stood to gain most from
choosing to deliver those twins.
Regards,
(Name removed as he is a business contact)


Much to both his and my surprise he received an answer back:
Date: 07/22/2004 11:12 PM
Subject: Fwd: Fw: From a pro choice parent

Dear David -- thanks so much for your note and for sharing your
perspective and opinions, which I sincerely respect and appreciate.
Obviously the piece is only part of the story and even though some
details are in there they are overlooked in the face of others. For
instance, I didn't consider carrying the triplets to term because of the
health risks associated with carrying triplets. There is actually a
great piece that ran in the Washington Post this past Tuesday on this
exact subject: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A62874-
2004Jul19.html. And it wasn't a decision that I made solely to preserve
my lifestyle, but rather in thinking about the life that I want for my
child/children. I do want my children to have access to things like a
good doctor and health insurance, music class or art class, school and
just generally a sense of well-being and enough exposure to diverse
experiences. That and the medical risks are precisley why I decided not
to carry the triplets to term. Also, I personally believe that the long
term physological impact on my child would be more negative if he knew
that he had "siblings" out there whom he didn't know. I also want to be
clear that I am not opposed to having three children -- I just couldn't
imagine -- given the health risks, my financial situation and my mental
health -- having all three at one time. One interesting response I have
had to this essay is about economics. I think there are two assumptions
being made -- one, that my income is secondary to Peter's and two, that
I am just not wanting to give up my privileged lifestyle. Contrary to
that -- I am the primary bread winner and at $40,000 a year on a
freelance income, meaning out of that I pay all health insurance for
myself and my child. I don't believe that my choice was perfect -- my
situation wasn't, so my choice couldn't be. But I do believe that I
weighed my options and made the best choice I could for myself and my
family. I hope that's clear and, again, I do appreciate your response.
Amy


Please note that these are real emails, not something made up just to drag the story out. Now I am resolutely pro-life well up there with Spoons in my detestation of the whole practise of abortion (as he so eloquently laid out in his comments to Bill's post above) yet I do understand and appreciate (while disagreeing with) some of the pressures that lead women to consider it.
However, I really can't get my mind around the logic shown above. The idea that a child should be aborted because it might not have access to music lessons? (Leave aside the idea that a houseful of siblings provides a selection of bandmembers.) That knowing that there are siblings out there that you don't know is psychologically damaging? Perhaps it is, but more so than knowing that Mommie killed them?
I was prepared to give Ms Richards the benefit of the doubt in the NYT piece as it seemed to be so slanted by the author. Surely no one could actually be as uncaring, as self-centered and logically perverse as she was portrayed?
Having seen her own words and explanation unfiltered I'm afraid I can no longer do that. She and her decision are simply repulsive to me.
Oh, and the $40,000 a year freelancer? There's a good chunk of America that regards that as a pretty good living. Add in whatever Peter's making and you're up there in the top 20% of the income distribution at least, if not higher.
So, my take? Sorely misunderstood? Ill represented? Stout defender of a woman's right to choose in difficult circumstances?
Nah.
Scabrous Bitch.

Update. On reflection, and with a touch of prompting from Bill at INDC, that judgement is a little harsh. Please read "selfish" for "scabrous".

August 4, 2004 in Idiotarians | Permalink

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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference More on That Triplets "Selective Reduction" Story.:

» THE AMY RICHARDS STORY CONT'D from Michelle Malkin
Blogger Tim Worstall posts an interesting update to the Amy "Hold the Mayo, Abort Two Triplets" Richards. In a response to a letter-writer, Richards gives further reasons for "selectively reducing" two of her unborn children rather than putting them up... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 4, 2004 12:35:08 PM

» THE AMY RICHARDS STORY CONT'D from Michelle Malkin
Blogger Tim Worstall posts an interesting update to the Amy "Hold the Mayo, Abort Two Triplets" Richards. In a response to a letter-writer, Richards gives further reasons for "selectively reducing" two of her unborn children rather than putting them up... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 4, 2004 12:38:25 PM

» THE AMY RICHARDS STORY CONT'D from Michelle Malkin
Blogger Tim Worstall posts an interesting update to the Amy "Hold the Mayo, Abort Two Triplets" Richards. In a response to a letter-writer, Richards gives further reasons for "selectively reducing" two of her unborn children rather than putting them up... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 4, 2004 12:38:43 PM

» Amy Richards Update from Arguing with signposts...
Remember selective reductionist Amy Richards? One of Tim Worstall's readers e-mailed her and got a response. I think Tim sums up what I would agree with. Hint: Richards doesn't really help her case. Previous coverage: The essence of pro-choice. (thanks... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 4, 2004 12:49:57 PM

» "SELECTIVE REDUCTION" from The Spoons Experience
One of Tim Worstall's readers contacted Amy Richards, the author of that NYT article a couple weeks ago. Surprisingly, the... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 4, 2004 1:18:40 PM

» THE AMY RICHARDS STORY CONT'D from Michelle Malkin
Blogger Tim Worstall posts an interesting update to the Amy "Hold the Mayo, Abort Two Triplets" Richards. In a response to a letter-writer, Richards gives further reasons for "selectively reducing" two of her unborn children rather than putting them up... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 4, 2004 2:14:26 PM

» She Really Is That Abhorrent from LeatherPenguin
Remember the woman featured in the NY Times a week or so ago who had the "selective reduction" procedure, flushing two of her three expectant children so she wouldn't have... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 4, 2004 2:33:54 PM

» Abortion Blogging? (Please Make It Stop) from INDC Journal
Nah. Well, sort of; I'm just going to link something and add a few comments. Tim Worstall has published an e-mail exchange with Amy Richards, the woman who started a blogospheric firestorm with the flippant piece about "selective reduction" of... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 4, 2004 3:15:57 PM

» Abortion Blogging? (Please Make It Stop) from INDC Journal
Nah. Well, sort of; I'm just going to link something and add a few comments. Tim Worstall has published an e-mail exchange with Amy Richards, the woman who started a blogospheric firestorm with the flippant piece about "selective reduction" of... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 4, 2004 3:18:12 PM

» THE AMY RICHARDS STORY CONT'D from Michelle Malkin
Blogger Tim Worstall posts an interesting update to the Amy "Hold the Mayo, Abort Two Triplets" Richards story. In a response to a letter-writer, Richards gives further reasons for "selectively reducing" two of her unborn children rather than putting t... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 4, 2004 3:32:28 PM

» The Amy Richards Saga Continued from PoliBlog(TM)
Tim Worstall has an e-mail to and one from Ms. Richards in regards to her "selective reduction" (i.e., abortion of two of her three triplets (my original posts are both here). There is some discussion of health reasons for not... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 4, 2004 3:49:42 PM

» The Amy Richards Saga Continued from PoliBlog(TM)
Tim Worstall has an e-mail to and one from Ms. Richards in regards to her "selective reduction" (i.e., abortion of two of her three triplets--my original posts are both here). There is some discussion of health reasons for not carrying... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 4, 2004 3:52:53 PM

» She Really Is That Abhorrent from LeatherPenguin
Remember the woman featured in the NY Times a week or so ago who had the "selective reduction" procedure, flushing two of her three expectant children so she wouldn't have... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 4, 2004 4:48:20 PM

» She Really Is That Abhorrent from LeatherPenguin
Remember the woman featured in the NY Times a week or so ago who had the "selective reduction" procedure, flushing two of her three expectant children so she wouldn't have... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 4, 2004 6:25:49 PM

» The One That Survived II from Posse Incitatus
Some of you may recall the horrific tale a few weeks ago of a woman who had her triplets "reduced" to a single live baby. Tim Wortstall now offers an update that includes an email exchange with Amy Richards, the [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 4, 2004 7:06:12 PM

» Absolutely Sick II from The Key Monk
None of the concerns about her narcissism or her willingness to kill additional fetuses is addressed. If anything, she provides more support for her detractors. [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 4, 2004 8:43:25 PM

» Abortion Blogging? (Please Make It Stop) from INDC Journal
Nah. Well, sort of; I'm just going to link something and add a few comments. Tim Worstall has published an e-mail exchange with Amy Richards, the woman who started a blogospheric firestorm with the flippant piece about "selective reduction" of... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 4, 2004 8:45:19 PM

» The One That Survived II from Posse Incitatus
Some of you may recall the horrific tale a few weeks ago of a woman who had her triplets "reduced" to a single live baby. Tim Worstall now offers an update that includes an email exchange with Amy Richards, the [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 4, 2004 11:57:18 PM

» Amy Richards Update part 2 from Arguing with signposts...
This morning I was in a hectic rush to get to the airport, so I wasn't fully able to digest the most recent Amy Richards explanation for the selective murder of two of her children (as I stated earlier, when... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 5, 2004 1:22:17 AM

Comments

I was going to post this over at Bill's, but since you're the one with the original info, it's going here.

Actually, 65K (hers + the dad's money) is ample to support 3 kids in NYC, just not in a self-absorbed, pampered lifestyle. Of course, one might have to move to Queens or Staten Island (=gasp!= the horrors!). In addition, there's this program called WIC that helps mothers provide for their babies, (even in pregnancy) that has some pretty loose qualifications. And then, should her family ever be down on its luck, there's welfare, which is still not bad here in New York. Oh, and there's the freelancer's union, which has some health insurance plans, and there's all sorts of state-sponsored health care for insuring kids, again with some generous limits on family income. Oh, and there's all sorts of freebies out there for families with multiples.

But I guess that would mean some sacrifice of self-image for Ms. Richards.

Anyway, as people mention repeatedly, there was always the adoption route. I really don't understand where Ms. Richards is coming from other than selfishness. I wouldn't go as far as you, Tim, but she's obviously more interested in making herself feel materially good than anything else.

Posted by: Meep | Aug 4, 2004 5:13:04 PM

Well, she said it herself: there's these health risks, you see. Better to kill the extra fetuses now than take the risks they might die, right?

Posted by: Rick C | Aug 4, 2004 10:47:01 PM

Thanks for the update.

Seems to me that the "psychological effect" of knowing that his mother killed his two siblings for selfish reasons will be much more deleterious that the idea that he might some day be lucky enough to meet those siblings.

Ugh.

Posted by: J at TAotB | Aug 4, 2004 10:48:18 PM