March 22 09:41 AM

Courts stay out of this choice issue

February 04, 2009
I shall don my suit of armor and proceed with getting this out off my chest: There is nothing great, heroic, or even smart about carrying and giving birth to eight babies. Premature babies. Eight of them.

The love fest begins with the morning "news" shows. They talk about 'stowaways' hiding behind spleens, like it's a cute little surprise, not a huge medical risk to baby and mother. They talk about breastfeeding eight babies and exalt the mother to goddess-like status, actually doing the math: she'll be breastfeeding for 32 hours! How is it possible?! Giggle, giggle.

They show the huge bellies of females stretched beyond natural limits by unnatural numbers of artificially produced fetuses. They interview the doctors, who don't remark about the extreme danger the mother and fetuses were in during the pregnancy and the sub-sequent delivery. They don't dwell too much on the months the woman spent lying flat on her back so the very unnatural occurrence of eight fetuses growing in her expanding womb have at least a fighting chance to make it to a "safe" and very premature delivery date. They gloss over the risks the last mother of octuplets took—the potential deadly complications for mother and child(ren) of a uterus sewn shut to keep the babies inside.

The doctors don't mention the health problems the babies will likely face for the rest of their lives—respiratory, intestinal problems, cerebral palsy and other disabilities—because of their prematurity. No one talks about the huge medical bill for the four room delivery and subsequent lengthy care of the babies, nor who will pay for it. There is no mention of the astronomical costs the family faces raising eight babies at the same time. This would, of course, spoil the moment and with something like this you're a cold, unfeeling automaton if you can't find joy in the unnatural, scientifically engineered occurrence.

No, this woman is "different" and will be treated differently from others—like the ones who had a healthy, single baby or identical or fraternal twins because they really really wanted to—or the single mom who has no medical coverage for contraceptives and found she was pregnant again, for the fourth or sixth or eighth time.

No, that particular woman won't be featured on any morning talk shows. Quite the contrary, she'll be frowned upon. She'll be judged and scoffed— "a drain on the system."

No one will run out to buy her a year's worth of diapers or baby food. No one will bring any candle-topped cakes at birthdays, check in every five years, shoot video at her home while her children crowd around the dinner table for their macaroni and cheese. All this unpleasantness—the reality of everyday, regular folks—just doesn't hold the mass appeal of the birthing of eight babies all at once.

This is a strange conundrum we've got going in our country. On one hand people fight and are divided over a woman's reproductive rights and on the other there are thousands of unwanted children in foster homes and adoption agencies who never received the stability and safety of a "family" experience. None who count question the stability of a woman who already has six children becoming artificially implanted with eight more embryos. Somehow this "choice" is okay; she's allowed to go with it, regardless of any health risks and future impact on the little ones who never asked to be a part of it.No one debates it, no one questions it, supreme court justices are never involved.

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