Thursday, February 12, 2009

Octuplets a Problem for Pro-Lifers

Maliyah Suleman, one of the octuplets whose pictures were just released -- this picture from this website.

I think it's special that, between Roberto Alomar and the Suleman octuplets, that sexual health is in the news in a big big big way these days.

I have nothing new to add to the discussion; I am oscillating my own opinion between one of outrage at the situation Ms. Suleman has put her family in, as well as the cost put on the state, and a feeling of uncaring... because it's really not our business. Why are we so furious about one woman, who clearly loves her children, and the women who have babies because they are lonely, or because they are, indeed, merely golddiggers? (Wanna challenge me on it? Yea. Please do. Especially since just yesterday I had a patient admit to wanting a child so that she'll get government support and the man will have to always pay her child support. I happens, and I think more commonly than us liberals would like to admit. But this is not the point. I remember my first positive pregnancy test I gave to someone: when asked why she was pregnant at 14, she told me, "So my mom will pay attention to me." Uh-huh.)

But this is all besides the point...

My question is this: the doctor fertilized Ms. Suleman with eight (maybe six) eggs. With in vitro fertilization, I believe, this is pretty standard to fertilize many eggs at once and then use them as back up in case the first don't "take." Ms. Suleman decided she wanted all of them. Per the pro-lifers viewpoint, all of these fertilized eggs are lives, since life begins at conception.

We now come to an interesting question: if we destroyed the remaining embryos, had Ms. Suleman only had one or two implants, wouldn't that be considered abortion? Now, however, she's decided to "choose life," resulting in eight healthy babies, it appears she is going to be a drain on the public welfare system. And, since family law in this country almost universally sides with the birth mother, we know it's going to be impossible to separate her from those children outside of cases of abuse, neglect, or failure to thrive...

...what should we have done in the first place?

And I challenge the conservatives who are screaming "break up the family and adopt those children out!" Will you be one of the first ones begging to adopt the Suleman children? So, what, you're not only going to break up the longest-living set of octuplets, and take on all the medical costs, you probably won't even offer to adopt them yourself?

Please, we have so many children in the foster care system and just waiting to be adopted -- many of them children of color because people want to adopt children that look like them, unless they are from Vietnam -- if we have a mother who loves her children and can take of them, albeit through the welfare state, shouldn't we take a moment to really look at ways we can improve the US adoption process?

Oh, and fuck you, Angelina Jolie.

I just had to say it.

I just realized that some of my "asides" (the italicized bits at the end of each post) are often longer than the post itself.


Jere Keys said...

Actually, strict hard-line fundamentalists favor passing laws limiting fertility treatments. See the Pope's comments. Utah and and handful of other states have passed laws allowing surrogacy only for married couples, while other states like Michigan prohibit enforceable surrogacy contracts.

The whole arena of fertility treatment is touchy for "culture of life"ers. So many conflicting issues: stem cells, abortion, parental rights, legal parental status, unmarried mothers, same-sex biological parents, cloning, etc. Although you'll be hard-pressed to find many right-wingers who openly support cutting off all "unnatural" means of reproduction, but only because the political climate would massacre them.

Jere Keys said...

Sorry, that comment was a grammatical nightmare, but you get my drift.