"She's a child, not a choice" has long been a catch phrase for the pro life movement. It's pithy and straight to the point. More importantly, it's accurate.
The firestorm of controversy surrounding Nadya Suleman, the single CA mother who gave birth to babies numbers seven through fourteen via in vitro fertilization, has sparked outrage- murderous in some cases - and left me scratching my head and wondering, since when do people care so much about babies?
Today I turned on my tv (shudder... won't be doing that again for a good long while) and subjected myself to about 20 minutes of the Dr. Phil show. What I learned during that time was that #1. People are really, really angry about the perceived problem of "overpopulation" and #2. the term "breeder" is henceforth to be used as a derogatory term inciting the same level of snide derision and vitriol formerly reserved for "fundamentalists" or "fascists" or "conservatives."
The point being, I suppose, that anyone who doesn't have the good sense to get their tubes tied and keep their legs crossed after babies #1 and #2 should be, oh I don't know, forcibly spayed.
Don't get me wrong, I think this woman is deeply disturbed and most likely struggling with mental illness. If nothing else, she has certainly displayed an abhorrent propensity for selfishness that doesn't seem likely to lend itself to the task at hand: parenting 14 children to maturity.
But why load the blame and the burden onto her frail shoulders alone? Can she - does she - bear the burden for having made the decision to carry 8 babies to term following a "successful" in vitro implantation? Whose responsibility is it to determine how many fetuses (feti?) are "too many?"
Not the mother's, it would seem. Nor the doctor's, whose careful practice facilitated her fecundity. It would seem, rather, that no one is willing to take the blame for the apparent lack of any and all common sense that factored into this equation.
But boy, are they willing to let loose their fury as hell hath not.
Dr. Phil was "kind" enough to play some of the voice mails left for Nadya on her former PR rep's answering machine, and the audio was chilling:
"She should...***** have her uterus torn out"
"I hope you and your family rot in hell"
"You disgusting filthy breeder, I hope you ******** die"
All charming sentiments any young mother would no doubt welcome on her return home from the delivery room. But sarcasm aside, what kind of double standard is being upheld here?
I mean, when "John and Kate + 8" sign up for fertility treatments and quadruple their family size, it's adorable and worthy of commercial endorsements. When a poor single mother from Southern California does the same, it's a crime.... Can anyone say class warfare?
How is it that if I am married, wealthy, and/or socioeconomically stable, I am entitled to have a family, but otherwise, it's a "desperate cry for help" or a sign of someone who is "seriously unbalanced"? Um, hello people... taking life into our own hands is ALWAYS unbalanced. We can't control it, can't possibly account for every possible outcome or variable. It simply is beyond our human capacity to control the means and the method by which immortal human beings come into being.
There's a reason it's tied intrinsically to marital sex. NOT that it can't happen outside the context of such; it can and it does. Every day. That's not the point. The point is, should it?
Should these children have to live their lives with the omnipresent reality of their mother being the recipient of global derision and death threats? Is it "fair" that they are developmentally disabled because of the failure of that same mother's human womb to carry eight unborn children simultaneously to term? Is it right that they will most likely end up in the foster care system at some point during their childhood, as raising one child - let alone fourteen - on one's own is neither ideal nor easy?
But it strikes me that the timing's a bit "off" on these questions. This woman Nadya is being lambasted for not "selectively reducing" her octuplet pregnancy upon discovery of the gargantuan "success" of her most recent in vitro treatments. How is destroying one or all of the children any more humane? Seems a little deterministic to me.
But then, so does controlling one's own fertility to the extent which doctors - and parents - become as gods, knowing the difference between good and evil.
Or perhaps not knowing. Not knowing at all.