The issue of reproductive rights has persisted as a political hot-button.  The latest mother of octuplets, Nadya Suleman, puts the whole debate into a different perspective and raises questions.

To fill you in, Miss Suleman demanded that her fertility clinic implant six of her embryos at the same time which resulted in eight children.

This diary raises some questions about the issue.

Social conservatives support the notion that the state can, and should, mandate that every pregnancy is carried to term.  Ironically, these same conservatives oppose contraception except for abstinence and yet, condemn any hint of a  "welfare state".  The "welfare mother" is a stereotype that is used to discredit people who are down on their luck and need some assistance.

Miss Suleman's choices reflect the notion that "human life starts at the moment of conception" and, as such, could be lauded by pro-lifers for her choice to carry every one of her embryos to term.

At the same time, she is unmarried and depends on welfare to support her kids (now numbering fourteen!) and her choice to have a multiple pregnancy was 100% volitional.


Thus, the dissonance between her lifestyle choice and pro-life choice are enough to make a social conservative's head hurt.

Of course, it is headachee-inducing on the progessive side, too.

Progressives generally support the idea that a woman's choice to continue a pregnancy is between her, her physician, and anyone of the woman's choosing (her spouse, boyfriend, minister, or her own conscience) and that the government should not be a part of that decision.  "Keep your laws off of my body" used to be a popular bumper sticker to express this idea.

Thus, should we keep our laws off of Miss Suleman's body?  If she demands her fertility clinic to implant all of her embryos at once, does the clinic, or the government, have any preogative to refuse?

While most people don't aspire to have dozens of kids I think most people would agree that the decision to have kids is up to the parents.  However, I believe that some of us (I include myself) look with skepticism on someone that chooses to expand one's family size to fourteen kids while, at the same time, having no job, no partner, and depending on (if not expecting) the government to provide support.

In the way that progressives don't want to provide millions of dollars to failed executives so that they can maintain their expensive lifestyles, as taxpayers we may feel a bit perturbed to provide money to support someone that chooses an exhorbitant lifestyle in the form of a large family.

Is your headache getting worse?

As soon as I'm inclined to think, "The taxpayers shouldn't support this excess!" I then remind myself that the kids are not to blame for this.

To get one's arms around this issue -- to formulate an opinion other than "OMG!  Eight at once!!" -- to find an intellectual rather than a knee-jerk emotional response -- is difficult.

Time to put an ice pack on my head now.

This is my first attempt at a diary.  I'll look forward to your comments.

Originally posted to kevin k on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 12:37 PM PST.


Should there be a law to limit the number of embryos per pregnancy attempt?

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