As I understand it, under our current laws and system of ethics, people cannot be restricted from reproducing. However, their having done so, the law is then concerned with the welfare of the children.
Solution first: Social workers should immediately be assigned to Nadya Suleman’s problem: how will she care for and support her 14 children? This should be done to ensure that the children’s needs are met. If deemed necessary Ms. Suleman should receive psychological counseling. She should not be allowed to remove her newborn children from the hospital until a supervised and structured 18-year plan for their care is in place and functioning. Her current children’s living situation should also be evaluated.
Second: We should take responsibility for our part in this debacle:
“”¦the real issue here is that we live in a country with so few regulations on the human fertility business that clinics can engage in practices that can lead to premature births – producing low-birth-weight babies doomed to chronic illnesses and even infant mortality. ”¦ We have created a society that dictates that all reproductive wishes should be answered. Then we criticize an over-her-head mom – whose own mother fretted that she was “obsessed” with having kids – when the inevitable horrors happen. ”¦
You can say her fertility doctors – whoever they are – should have refused to impregnate an overburdened single mother. ”¦ However, in August, the California Supreme Court ruled unanimously that a San Diego fertility clinic had no right to refuse to inseminate a lesbian in a partnership on religious grounds. What happens if doctors refuse a single mom, who can sue based on state law banning discrimination based on marital status?
So please, don’t just bash the unemployed mother. If Suleman were married and rich, this still would not have a happy ending. It’s time for America to wake up to the fact the IVF is not simply a benign reproductive choice.
Lastly, a summary: Ms. Suleman is disabled, lives in a 3-bedroom home with her parents, now has 14 children, and hopes to return next year to graduate school to complete a masters’ degree in psychology. This is delusional. One cannot possibly: (1) go through the rigors of a masters’ program; (2) provide financial support for 14 children; and (3) provide adequate emotional and physical support for 14 children.
Some questions for Ms. Suleman: How do you propose to house, feed, clothe, bathe and transport 14 children? Feed eight at a time when they can’t feed themselves? Handle emergencies? Handle the piles of dirty diapers and laundry? *And* go through a graduate program at the same time? Do you think student loans will provide adequate income for child support? Are you trusting that you can shift the responsibility of caring for your 14 children to your aging parents, fellow church congregants, and college day care center? Have you asked them if they are willing and able to take on that responsibility — financially, physically, emotionally? Or did you just assume they would?
Are you hoping, in hiring media agents, that a corporate conglomerate will shell out a few million for publication and television rights? It certainly seems so. And, if so, did you ask your parents and your children if they would willingly participate in being part of a spectacle, for that is what this is. Move over ‘Kate & Jon Plus Eight,’ step aside ‘Brangelina Plus Six,’ here comes ‘Nadia Suleman’s Circus.’
If this seems harsh, forgive me. Children are precious not because they give a mother unconditional “baby love” or provide entertainment (televised or otherwise) — but because they are loving, thinking individuals who deserve our care, patience and resources. It’s time we, as a country, grew up that responsibility.