Lives: When One Is Enough

NYT carries a revolting story entitled, “ Lives: When One Is Enough” [RSS]. It is bylined By AMY RICHARDS as told to AMY BARRETT. Given that it’s the Times, it could well be made up. In this case, I hope so:

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?

I looked at Peter and asked the doctor: ”Is it possible to get rid of one of them? Or two of them?” 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.

From a sheer utilitarian point of view, I suppose we should be grateful that at least one of the children was allowed to live. After all, she was perfectly within her Supreme Court-granted rights to kill all three. Still, it seems more monstrous this way.

Steven Taylor
finds it particularly sad for very personal reasons, Michelle Malkin finds it “terrifying,” and Spoons sees a modern day Mengele.

I don’t disagree. Still, this wouldn’t even make the news if Richards had killed several babies one at a time. That, after all, happens with some frequency.

Update: Bryan S. also has a personal angle to the story, Ian is going to be ill, Michele Catalano pities the woman, and Allah discovers that Amy Richards is a moderately famous person and that the story is most probably not a hoax.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. OF Jay says:

    Loathe as I am to condone abortions of convenience, such as this one, I must agree that she has as much a right to do so considering current law. It does not make it any less unappealling, however. On the other hand, if she wouldn’t give any of them up for adoption, my only question for those who find this harrowing is, would they rather have her drown her babies in the tub? Because post-partun depression can be used as a temporary insanity defense these days, and she’d just as get away with murder then as she did now.

  2. Mark Hasty says:

    James, I don’t think we should be grateful that a child has to grow up with somebody as self-infatuated as this woman for a mother. I sincerely hope this story is a hoax.

  3. I had a similar reaction, Mark: I counted words in the initial reaction paragraph. Thirteen instances of the words I, me, or my.

    It’s all about her, apparently. Some mother she’ll be.

  4. Guy says:

    Truly sad.
    I hoping to retract the story from my site as well, but I’m not holding my breath.

  5. Chuck says:

    Chuck hears everyone’s mommies calling them for purely “Utilitarian” reasons and to remind each to beware of “Allahs” offering any type of assurances

  6. barrie says:

    Can you imagine being the birthed triplet and growing up not only to find out that you were “chosen” to live, but that your mother earned money writing about the decision to abort your two siblings? This woman is a real piece of work. So much for “private decision between a woman and her physician”.