A Nanny for Octomom — and the rest of us, too

My blog continues to get more hits from people Googling things like “I hate Kate Gosselin SO much” and “Kate Gosselin crazy bitch” than from anything else, and as a result, a post I wrote last year called Hate Kate continues to garner comments. The most recent one sarcastically quotes one of my comments on that post. I wrote last August:

Ah, yes, the Nanny State. Let’s do outlaw implanting more than 2 or 3 embryos. Let’s do make it impossible for anyone but the very rich to have children with the aid of fertility treatments. Obviously these “litters” are causing such terrible problems.

To which a sarcastic reader calling him/herself TCH now replies triumphantly:

I guess back when you posted that you NEVER would have imagined 8 months later some whack job in CA would have 14 embryo’s [sic, corrected to “babies” in a subsequent comment] on the states [sic] tab. Who would have thought you [sic] sarcastic comment would be so, so……moot?

Funny actually.

No, not funny at all, actually. I’m not burning with shame over making such a stupid comment. On the contrary, I stand by that comment. Just because one “whack job” has octuplets does not mean that the entire field of reproductive medicine ought to be brought under the control of the Federal Government. Ms. Suleman is one woman. There are over 4,000,000 babies born in the United States each year, and according to this website, 1% of them (that’s more than 40,000*) are born as a result of in vitro fertilization (IVF).

Two of my closest friends have children who were conceived by IVF, and another underwent multiple IVF attempts but never had a child. One of these friends had four embryos implanted on her second IVF attempt (her first, also with multiple embryos, resulted in failure) and conceived twins; one twin died in utero, and she has one child today. I’m not sure how many embryos my other friend had implanted, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t just one, and both of her children were single births. Nadya Suleman herself, I understand, had multiple embryos implanted in her previous pregnancies, most of which resulted in single births as well.

The fact is, most in vitro attempts fail, and most that result in the birth of a single baby were the result of implanting multiple embryos. Occasionally, a “litter” does occur, it’s true. But are we going to deny millions of childless couples the right to procreate because of this? Many of the people screaming for Nanny State action on the fertility front don’t in fact know much about reproductive medicine. They see Dr. Phil pontificating about Nadya Suleman on TV, pound their fist self-righteously on the coffee table and say, “By God, we can’t let this happen again!”

Well, actually, we can. This is the United States of America, and despite the best efforts of certain people in Washington and elsewhere, people who think they know what’s best for the rest of us, it’s still a more or less free country. If keeping it that way means that once in a blue moon some unwed welfare mother is going to have a litter, well, I can live with that.

Comments 38

  1. Bowden Russell wrote:

    There are over 4,000,000 babies born in the United States each year, and according to this website, 1% of them (that’s more than 400,000)

    Either you meant 10% which would give you the 400,000 figure, or you meant 1% which would give you 40,000.

    Either way, it’s a lot of babies born Invitro.

    I still don’t know why everyone is so ticked off by this woman having 8 babies done invitro.

    A. It was legal.

    B. Perhaps they are upset since the state will have to basically pay for their upbrining. Big deal, the state of California, which is essentially bankrupt, pays for hundreds of thousand of “babies” born to welfare mothers and illegal aliens each and every year till they are 18.

    I don’t see much outrage over “B” above given that those mentioned above are a much greater drain on the system (i.e., the taxpayer) than a statistical anomaly.

    Posted 02 Mar 2009 at 5:52 am
  2. Nicole wrote:

    I agree Brigette and Bowden. Maybe she didn’t make the best choice (given her circumstances) but the babies are here now. I, personally, don’t see why they should be “taken away”.. that is never a good solution. Maybe she just needs her own TV show to solve her financial issues!

    Posted 02 Mar 2009 at 12:03 pm
  3. Brigette Russell wrote:

    * Oops — I put in an extra zero, have now corrected the number. Thanks, Bowden. And to think, I used to teach math!!!

    Posted 02 Mar 2009 at 2:25 pm
  4. Julia wrote:

    Perhaps they are upset since the state will have to basically pay for their upbrining. Big deal, the state of California, which is essentially bankrupt, pays for hundreds of thousand of “babies” born to welfare mothers and illegal aliens each and every year till they are 18.

    No kidding! People are so mad they practically want to lynch this woman for adding 8 more welfare babies to the mix, but all the millions of others are no problem at all?

    Posted 02 Mar 2009 at 2:28 pm
  5. Bev wrote:

    While I think it was irresponsible of *this particular* woman to have these 8 children, I believe that this circumstance in no way should mean that there should be a regulation of who should receive IVF or other fertility methods by the government. Not just in California, but all of the other states as well support thousands of children and adults. Is it fair, no – but I don’t see it changing any time soon.

    Posted 02 Mar 2009 at 3:24 pm
  6. Dan wrote:

    I’m curious, how do pro-lifers approach the concept of viable embryos created in a lab knowing that most of them are going to die without successful implantation? Does God give the embryo a soul at fertilization or only at implantation? If the former, does it follow that the IVF process is immoral?

    Serious question, not a sarcastic attack.

    Posted 02 Mar 2009 at 5:19 pm
  7. Brigette Russell wrote:

    The Catholic Church is opposed to in vitro technology, but I know a lot of Catholics who’ve had IVF babies. I also know very conservative Evangelical Protestants who’ve had children that way too.

    I think a case can be made that as long as you don’t just discard embryos and let them die, but implant all of them (either on the first IVF attempt or freezing them and implanting on subsequent attempts, which is common, and has resulted in some of my friends’ kids being born) then you’re not killing embryos. If the embryos fail to implant, then that’s no different than a naturally conceived embryo failing to implant or implanting but subsequently miscarrying.

    Another option for frozen embryos that a couple doesn’t want to implant (say they’ve had all the successful IVFs they want to, and don’t want more children) is to allow those embryos to be adopted so another infertile woman can have them implanted and have children that way. Of course, a lot of people won’t do this for the same reason a lot of pregnant women won’t give their children up for adoption. I know two women personally who have frozen embryos and are trying to decide what to do.

    As a Catholic, I know I’m supposed to be opposed to IVF, but having felt the pain of infertility myself in the years before I finally (and naturally, thanks only to God and not a fertility doctor) had children, I do not want to see the government enact legislation that will effectively doom those who long for children to a life of childlessness and suffering.

    Posted 02 Mar 2009 at 6:23 pm
  8. Bowden Russell wrote:

    I’m curious, how do pro-lifers approach the concept of viable embryos created in a lab knowing that most of them are going to die without successful implantation? Does God give the embryo a soul at fertilization or only at implantation? If the former, does it follow that the IVF process is immoral?</i?

    I am diametrically opposed to it. Women are relying on IVF to delay their child-bearing years and it’s foolish to do so.

    And yes, they are beings at conception.

    The procedure should be banned.

    Posted 02 Mar 2009 at 6:55 pm
  9. Brigette Russell wrote:

    Banned? I understand your being opposed to it on moral grounds, but what grounds does the U.S. Government have to interfere with people’s choices in that way? It seems rather totalitarian to me. If the gov’t can’t stop people from aborting babies, why should it be able to stop them from conceiving and giving birth to babies? And yes, I know you’d like both to be illegal, but it’s hard to justify the criminalization of procreation.

    Posted 02 Mar 2009 at 7:00 pm
  10. Martha Brozyna wrote:

    “Women are relying on IVF to delay their child-bearing years and it’s foolish to do so.”

    Really? All women? The handful of women I know who’ve gone through IVF did not delay child-bearing, many were in their late 20s/early 30s. As a matter of fact, in roughly half the cases I personally know of, it was their husbands’ faulty plumbing that was preventing them from conceiving naturally.

    Posted 02 Mar 2009 at 7:37 pm
  11. Bowden Russell wrote:

    Really? All women? The handful of women I know who’ve gone through IVF did not delay child-bearing, many were in their late 20s/early 30s. As a matter of fact, in roughly half the cases I personally know of, it was their husbands’ faulty plumbing that was preventing them from conceiving naturally.

    While I never said,”All”, I suspect that “most” of the IVFs have been to women who had a difficult time, due to their advanced age.

    I’m looking at what is best for society, not on a case-by-case situation but the aggregate.

    Posted 02 Mar 2009 at 10:01 pm
  12. Martha Brozyna wrote:

    “While I never said,”All”, I suspect that “most” of the IVFs have been to women who had a difficult time, due to their advanced age.”

    Actually, I did a little research, and half of IVFs are performed because of the man’s inability to impregnate his partner. Here is an article from a study on IVFs done in Australia:

    http://au.lifestyle.yahoo.com/b/sunrise/17676/mens-clucky-clock-also-ticking-ivf-finding

    Moreover, doesn’t legislating what’s “best for society” go against the conservative principle that stresses the importance of the individual’s rights?

    Posted 02 Mar 2009 at 11:23 pm
  13. Dan wrote:

    “Moreover, doesn’t legislating what’s “best for society” go against the conservative principle that stresses the importance of the individual’s rights?”

    This principle only exists as long as the action in question does not offend the perception of morality of the conservative in question.

    Posted 03 Mar 2009 at 1:51 am
  14. Bowden Russell wrote:

    Moreover, doesn’t legislating what’s “best for society” go against the conservative principle that stresses the importance of the individual’s rights?

    Brigette can confirm this story. We know someone from our days in L.A. who, after having like 4 kids divorced her husband, remarried in her late 30’s, early 40s and wanted to have more kids with her new husband. They went IVF and 3 of the embryos tooks hold. Well the doctor talked her into having “selective reduction” and ended up with two beautiful children.

    She later attempted suicided over the knowledge she killed one of her children.

    Thus, the magnitude of her sin, IMHO, outweighs the gain in some woman having kids who couldn’t due to her husbands age/poor quality of sperm.

    Perhaps the husband’s age was advance as we all know sperm quality drops with age.

    Either way, one is playing god outside of what God wanted and I’m opposed to it.

    Posted 03 Mar 2009 at 6:47 am
  15. Bowden Russell wrote:

    Dan said,
    This principle only exists as long as the action in question does not offend the perception of morality of the conservative in question.

    Son, do you really think that liberals don’t try to legislate morality????

    Funny how there is a “right to privacy” (which I can’t seem to find in the constitution) for a woman to terminate her children in the womb, yet the same “right” doesn’t exist with respect to my financial transactions visa-vis the state being able to interrogate me over every penny I spend or earn.

    Life’s funny that way huh?

    Posted 03 Mar 2009 at 6:50 am
  16. Martha Brozyna wrote:

    “She later attempted suicided over the knowledge she killed one of her children.
    Thus, the magnitude of her sin, IMHO, outweighs the gain in some woman having kids who couldn’t due to her husbands age/poor quality of sperm.”

    What does being suicidal because of an abortion have to do with IVF? Sounds to me like her decision to abort one of her fetuses caused her the mental distress not the IVF.

    “Either way, one is playing god outside of what God wanted and I’m opposed to it.”

    Are your kids vaccinated? I’m almost certain they are. Aren’t you playing God by doing that? Have you ever been on an antibiotic? Isn’t that playing God as well? How do you know God doesn’t want you to suffer from that sinus infection? I know that’s a silly comparison, but where does one draw the line between “playing God” and seeking the help of healthcare professionals for a problem? How about this – what if your wife were pregnant and there was something wrong with the fetus that could only be fixed if doctors operated on the baby in utero, would you consider that playing God?

    Posted 03 Mar 2009 at 2:54 pm
  17. Brigette Russell wrote:

    Bowden, I thought you said yesterday when we talked about this that you didn’t want the GOVERNMENT to ban it, just that you were opposed to it?

    I think adultery is bad for society, but I don’t particularly want to go back to the days of judges ordering scarlet A’s sewn on people’s clothing. I’d very much like to see people expressing their personal disapproval of adultery instead of shrugging and saying “Whatever makes you happy,” but I don’t want laws passed about it.

    Posted 03 Mar 2009 at 3:17 pm
  18. Dan wrote:

    This is a persistent failure in the US political system. Both sides claim that they want government out of people’s personal affairs – except for those things they do want government involved in. The Dems want government involved in business regulation and the GOP (at least for now) wants the government involved in legislating morality. Somehow both sides are blinded to this. Its the long standing false dichotomy of the mommy state (Democrats) vs the daddy state (Republicans).

    Mommy state – nuture citizens and protect them from the harsh realities of the world and threats to their health.

    Daddy state – aggressively shield citizens from external physical threats and define rules to live by.

    Both sides want the government to treat citizens like children, they just want the children to be treated slightly differently.

    The other way is for government to treat citizens like adults and allow them fail when prosper or fail on their own and bear the consequences of failure.

    Posted 03 Mar 2009 at 6:01 pm
  19. Grue in the Attic wrote:

    The other way is for government to treat citizens like adults and allow them fail when prosper or fail on their own and bear the consequences of failure.

    Sounds like a plan to me.

    Posted 03 Mar 2009 at 6:29 pm
  20. Bowden Russell wrote:

    Martha,

    Okay, saying I wanted it “banned” was a bit over the edge. Let it be up to the person and doctor, but I believe their should be a cultural consensus, like there is against adultery, that going to IVF clincs isn’t the right thing to do.

    Aside from that, your argument that I’m going against God’s will if I take anti-biotics to keep myself from dying isn’t analogous to the woman playing God by going to a doctor to get more kids.

    God gave us the capability to enhance our lives with medicine and technology. That doesn’t mean because we have the ability to do something, like Clone ourselves or go to an IVF clinic, doesn’t mean that is a good thing or the right thing to do.

    So yes, I amend my orginal statement about it being banned. I detest Uncle Sam telling me what to do with my life as much as you do.

    Posted 03 Mar 2009 at 6:47 pm
  21. Bowden Russell wrote:

    Dan said,

    Both sides want the government to treat citizens like children, they just want the children to be treated slightly differently.

    Oh please. While the Republicans aren’t saints in this regard, they are far, far better at letting people do what they want with their lives in accordance with sound moral living than the Democrats who want to regulate, which means control, almost every aspect of our lives one can dream of, expect when it comes to moral living.

    The other way is for government to treat citizens like adults and allow them fail when prosper or fail on their own and bear the consequences of failure.

    Dear Lord, I almost spit my coffee all over my monitor when I read what you wrote here.

    As an huge Obama apologist, do you really believe what you wrote right there Dan?

    Obama wants to dislocate the entire concept of responsibility of one’s actions from their consequences. AIG is going to fail? Don’t worry, we’ll give them $30 billion. 5 Obama appointees didn’t pay their taxes? Don’t worry, they won’t be prosecuted.

    You should get a job as a stand up comedian.

    Posted 03 Mar 2009 at 6:52 pm
  22. Grue in the Attic wrote:

    Dear Lord, I almost spit my coffee all over my monitor when I read what you wrote here.

    Should have done it, then you could’ve sued.

    I keed, I keed. 😉

    Posted 03 Mar 2009 at 7:03 pm
  23. Dan wrote:

    I guess the difference in us is that I’m capable of recognizing the aspects of my party’s platform which needlessly infringe on people’s freedom as a bad thing.

    You on the other hand apparently consider those vast swaths of your party’s platform which limit personal choices based entirely on arbitrary interpretations of select parts of your particular religion’s holy book to be right and necessary, never mind that the bible never claims that it is the job of the government to enforce morality.

    In balance I consider the Dems the lesser of two evils, particularly in light of the GOP’s recent decade of demonstrating that they’re both incompetent and corruptible to a degree that the incompetent and corrupt Democratic party of 1932-1996 would be in awe of. I suppose they just felt the need to make up for lost time.

    Posted 03 Mar 2009 at 8:36 pm
  24. Bowden Russell wrote:

    Martha said,

    Moreover, doesn’t legislating what’s “best for society” go against the conservative principle that stresses the importance of the individual’s rights?

    What about my rights? This Octomom goes and has IVF and I, as a California taxpayer, has to pick up the tab for this “woman” exercising her reproductive “right”?

    This woman with her litter will cost the California, and I’m sure the US taxpayer also, millions of dollars for said litter by the time they reach 18.

    It’s the insanity of the “reporductive rights” crowd that helped to get us into this mess in the first place and I for one am getting a bit tired of picking up the tab because some “woman” wants to have a litter of kids.

    And I say Good-day!

    Posted 03 Mar 2009 at 9:30 pm
  25. Dan wrote:

    I’m glad to see you don’t think children should be subsidized Bowden. I assume you’re not taking the tax credits that you’re eligible for due to yours?

    Posted 03 Mar 2009 at 9:57 pm
  26. Bowden Russell wrote:

    I’m glad to see you don’t think children should be subsidized Bowden. I assume you’re not taking the tax credits that you’re eligible for due to yours?

    I have a good idea Dan, let’s do away with ALL subsidies at once: Scrap the tax-code.

    We need a national sales tax. That way EVERYONE has some “Skin in the game” as the Water-Walker likes to say.

    Make it 15%, nothing exempt. The economy would explode upward in a manner that couldn’t be eclipsed.

    Posted 03 Mar 2009 at 10:19 pm
  27. Dan wrote:

    So are you going to refuse the tax credits and deductions you’re eligible for because of the government’s decision to subsidize children or not?

    Posted 03 Mar 2009 at 10:30 pm
  28. Dan wrote:

    By the way, even Adam Smith advocated progressive tax brackets. That commie.

    Posted 03 Mar 2009 at 10:52 pm
  29. Bowden Russell wrote:

    So are you going to refuse the tax credits and deductions you’re eligible for because of the government’s decision to subsidize children or not?

    Why would I refuse it? Unlike the current Obama administration, I pay all the taxes I owe and take all the tax deductions that are legal.

    What is your point Dan?

    Posted 03 Mar 2009 at 10:55 pm
  30. Dan wrote:

    I just wanted to see how firm your objections to government subsidies for children were. Clearly not firm enough to refuse to take them yourself.

    Posted 03 Mar 2009 at 11:18 pm
  31. Bowden Russell wrote:

    I just wanted to see how firm your objections to government subsidies for children were. Clearly not firm enough to refuse to take them yourself.

    Yeah, okay Dan. I have some serious objections to the income tax also. Are you saying that I should go to jail by refusing to pay those taxes also?

    Posted 03 Mar 2009 at 11:27 pm
  32. Dan wrote:

    Matthew 22:20-22.

    Posted 03 Mar 2009 at 11:43 pm
  33. Bowden Russell wrote:

    Yes, I do render unto Ceaser as the law demands, I submit that it isn’t fair though to confiscate my money and give it to someone who is irresponsible like the Octomom.

    I say Good-day sir.

    Posted 04 Mar 2009 at 12:29 am
  34. Dan wrote:

    You have a lower tax burden than a married couple with equivalent income. Therefore, the government is subsidizing your offspring. Good Day!

    Posted 04 Mar 2009 at 2:00 am
  35. Bowden Russell wrote:

    You have a lower tax burden than a married couple with equivalent income. Therefore, the government is subsidizing your offspring. Good Day!

    Yeah Dan, I know. Did you just find this out that the USG wants people to procreate to ensure a next generation of taxpayers and supporters for social security?

    Remember, Ponzi schemes need a constant influx of new participants or said scheme collapses on itself.

    Posted 04 Mar 2009 at 5:47 am
  36. Bowden Russell wrote:

    Dan,

    You like to quote Adam Smith? How about John Adams:

    Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.
    John Adams

    That about sums up my feelings on our little disagreement.

    I say good-day sir.

    Posted 04 Mar 2009 at 6:18 am
  37. Dan wrote:

    Is this the same John Adams that introduced the unconstitutional alien and sedition act in order to make dissent against his policies a criminal offense? Good day to you!

    Posted 04 Mar 2009 at 1:38 pm
  38. Julia wrote:

    The arrogance of saying that we “get beyond” the culture wars by conservatives just laying down their arms and giving up… Does the NY Times crowd really believe that’s going to happen? I guess when you never talk to anyone who doesn’t agree with you, you get to the point where you start to believe that everybody really does agree with you, so there is no culture war.

    About “subsidizing” children — if you’re getting actual money from the government then it’s subsidizing, but if you’re just getting a deduction and paying less in taxes — but still paying — then it’s just a matter of the government recognizing that your expenses with kids in the house are a lot higher than childless people’s.

    About the Republicans wanting to legislate morality and control people’s private lives — the GOP doesn’t want to make adultery or fornication illegal, just abortion, and they want to do that not because they want to impose their prudish sexual values on others, but because abortion doesn’t just involve one person (the mother) but two (mother and baby). The left says the baby isn’t a human being, and refuses to call it a baby (unless the mother wants it, in which case people say “How’s your baby?” instead of “How’s your fetus?” to pregnant women) and denies that it’s a human being. If you believe the baby in the womb is a human being, then wanting to protect its life isn’t imposing your prudish morals on people who just want to be left alone to screw and get rid of the results in peace, but a commitment to basic human rights.

    Posted 04 Mar 2009 at 10:53 pm

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