I have been watching with interest the moral and ethical debate swirling around the California single mom who had six children and then gave birth to octuplets. At first, I will admit to being shocked at the seeming recklessness of the fertility doctor to implant 8 embryos at the same time. I was surprised that she had carried them as long as she had and that they all seemed to be as healthy as a 31 weeker can be. Then the debate shifted.
The news pundits are no longer talking about the ethics of implanting 8 babies, but whether or not it was child abuse for her to decide to continue carrying them to term. Last night, I was afraid Bill O'Reilly was going to pop a blood vessel as he yelled at a legal expert who disagreed with him about whether or not these 14 children should be taken from their mother simply on the grounds that she has 14 children under the age of 8. God bless her.
Having a large family is not a crime. Having octuplets is not a crime. A mother making the decision to give all of her children a chance at life rather than murdering all but a few in a selective reduction procedure is not a crime. Being poor and having many children is not a crime. Being a single mom, while not the ideal situation, is not a crime.
I think we need to slow the bus down here a minute. We're heading into some dangerous territory here. It is not the responsibility of the government to tell a family how many children they can reasonably afford. Once they begin to do so, what happens to the extras? Quotas on child-bearing is not a place I wish to go. Have you read what happens in China? Do you really want to live like that?
I will be eagerly awaiting the moment when Ms. Suleman takes center stage and tells her tale. I would love to know her motivation behind this amazingly large family. On the other hand, she owes us nothing. We have no right to an explanation of her private life and personal decisions. If she decides to quietly go home and raise her children in peace, I'm in favor of that as well.
And for the record, Mr. O'Reilly, I don't think it is either outrageous or child abuse to attempt to raise a family of 14 children in a 3 bedroom house. I don't think it's any more abusive today than it was when my great-grandparents raised their 18 in a 2 bedroom house and the parents slept in the living room over 70 years ago. You might not choose to do it, and I might not choose to do it, but Ms. Suleman has. As long as she can support her large family and provide for them the basic necessities, I say only 'May God continue to bless them all.'