As a card-carrying, lily-livered, bleeding-heart, bed-wetting liberal, both reproductive choice and social welfare programs are at the core of what I believe in. So I feel like I should be a lot more comfortable with the recent birth of octuplets in Bellflower, CA.
But Iâ€™m not. Choosing to carry eight babies to term is tantamount to neglect. Even if the mother, who has not been identified, did have the resources to provide for her brood of 14â€”estimates for absolute basics for the octuplets alone range from about $2.5 to $3 millionâ€”it is simply not possible for one person (or two people, itâ€™s not clear if the mother is married or has a partner) to simultaneously nurture eight infants to the extent they need to develop normally.
Thatâ€™s the thing about â€œchoiceâ€â€”Your right to chose ends when it starts taking choices away from somebody else. In this case, the motherâ€™s choice to have eight viable embryos implanted invariably limits the choices of her friends and neighbors, her extended family, social services providers, her six older children who will inevitably be the ones caring for these babies, and of course the octuplets themselves.
No one, in the primate family at least, has octuplets by accident. This is not a matter of a young woman who makes some poor choices and ends up needing food stamps to get by. Instead, it is the case of a person who, for whatever reason, has insisted on having her way, regardless of the consequences and at everyone elseâ€™s expense. Her children have my sympathy.