Judge not lest….

So. Nadya Suleman. She had eight babies at once. And she already had six. No job, no husband, no income, etc. Taxpayer burden, selfish, crazy, blah, blah, blah. You can probably guess where I land on this one. Heather at dooce.com took up the issue with another few bloggers in a momversation video.

I agree with Heather. You can’t attack reproductive rights on a case-by-case basis just because she made what most would deem a bad personal medical decision. I question her mental acuity and think her choice was likely made with selfish motivations, but it is the doctor who transferred so many embryos who is at fault. His ethics failed. It is not unethical to be crazy and a parent. It is not my place, or anyone’s place, to judge what she wants for a family.

What bothers me the most is people calling her Octomom and referring to her children as a litter. That only serves to dehumanize her so that people feel justified in spewing out vitriol on her and judging her fitness to parent these kids. The intense hatred that is being voiced says way more about our attitudes about race and class in this country than it does about her or her parenting skills. The idea that octuplets would be more socially acceptable if she were white, married, and rich is despicable. The doctor who transferred so many embryos without first getting her to agree to selectively reduce should all implant is the one who should be up for judgment professionally and in the court of public opinion, not her. As for the cost of rearing them, I fail to see how it makes much of a difference whether taxpayer support is given to eight children in eight different families or eight children all under one roof. People saying that the children should be removed from her care without any evidence of abuse or neglect for her other six children would quickly change their tune if that type of reasoning could be applied to them based upon, say, how many drinks they have with dinner out and then drive their kids home, or whether they smoke around their kids, or whether they force their kids to sit in proper car seats and buckle up. It will be interesting to see how public opinion on this issue changes over time, if at all.

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10 thoughts on “Judge not lest….

  1. Bazarov says:

    She’s not white? Hmm.

  2. Update: Cynthia and Rchoudh in the comments clarified exactly why there are mixed racial insults. According to Rchoudh: “It’s turning out that Nadya’s father is Iraqi and her mother Ukrainian. Her being considered as Hispanic is due to her keeping her ex-husband’s last name after the divorce (he was hispanic).”From http://www.racialicious.com/2009/02/10/unmarried-nonwhite-woman%E2%80%99s-crapload-of-babies-not-considered-%E2%80%9Clittle-gifts-from-god%E2%80%9D/#more-2231

  3. suntzusays says:

    I hadn’t followed the racial problems (and actually I hadn’t cared that much about this at all, but to summarize the part I do care about, I agree the doctor/fertility clinic is more at fault than anyone).I do recall that families in say the 19th century used to have a dozen children quite often. Some of them didn’t survive to adulthood, or the child birth itself, of course. But it’s not unusual for people to have this many children in one family by historical terms. What a stupid country.

  4. Good point on the family size. The fact that she had eight at once seems to be taken as an opportunity to turn her into a freakshow. This may in fact be what she was after, but it just makes the whole debate that much uglier.

  5. Bazarov says:

    I’m upset to see her spawing so many, but then again, seeing most people who decide to spawn upsets me. This planet is beyond the saturation point with humans. If every person has one child, or every couple two, then we’ll have a slightly declining population. This lady, with her now 14 kids, has taken up more than her fair share. It’s rude. QUIT HAVING BABIES PEOPLE! And why do all the people who should have babies not have them? They’re usually adopting other people’s. It’s silly.There, has that gotten your temper back to fever? :-p

  6. No, I totally get the angle of restricting population growth. Spinster Aunt over at I Blame the Patriarchy put the best spin on that viewpoint. Basically, yes, people should stop reproducing. But, since people don’t listen to reason….Let me find the link. She’s brilliant.

  7. I guess it’s the same one I linked to/quoted on Sarah’s myspace blog; you may have already seen it:http://blog.iblamethepatriarchy.com/2009/02/04/sure-eight-is-enough-but-lighten-up-already/

  8. Hear, hear! I heard a story on NPR the other day about multiple births and how women’s bodies aren’t technically, biologically designed to have more than one or 2 children at a time. Obviously, the risks start to increase exponentially the more embryos turned fetus there are – not just for the mother, but for the children, too. I think they said the most commonplace problem with twins is an issue where one twin steals all the nutrients from the other twin, and causes malnutrition or even stillbirth. My memory’s a little foggy, but I hope I’ve got my facts straight on this one. It should have totally been the doctor’s responsibility (depending on her own medical condition) to urge her to implant only one, or a few, embryos. They did say if a mother is extremely healthy, she’d be more likely to handle more implantations. Unfortunately, the guest on NPR did claim that even if the doctor does the right thing, many times the patient will insist on having all possible embryos implanted. Some want as many chances as they can get – and even others consider the procedure as a “bargain” (their words). It costs upwards of $12,000 for this procedure – why not get the three children you’ve always wanted all at one time, instead of paying $12,000 for each kid and spacing out the births?

  9. TTTFS – twin to twin transfusion syndrome. I agree, medical ethics are intended to be the stopgap. Still haven’t heard what’s to become of her doctor. Hopefully that’ll make more news that these fucking OCTOMOM references. So sick of hearing that word.

  10. Oops, I guess that’s TTTTS…TTTS..?

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