The Corner

“Reduce”

That was gruesome story in the NYTimes Magazine yesterday. I remember a few years ago, when my wife was pregnant with one of our kids, I went with her to the sonogram. We got into a conversation with the technician, and my wife told him how her cousin’s wife was pregnant with quads and how difficult the pregnancy was. A puzzled look appeared on the tech’s face. “Why doesn’t she reduce?” he asked. It took us a moment to understand what he was saying: Why doesn’t she abort two or three of her unborn children? As it happens, the poor lady miscarried all four. But I’ve never forgotten that horrible euphemism. It seems that some people have amazing powers of rationalization, so long as they call a thing what it is not.

John J. Miller — John J. Miller is the national correspondent for National Review and the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. His new book is Reading Around: Journalism on Authors, Artists, and Ideas.

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