We’ve all heard the story of the Suleman family by this time: Nadya Suleman, a single unemployed woman who lives with her parents Angela and Edward in California, gave birth to octuplets on January 26. She already has six children.
Before details of Nadya’s life came out, the MSM was all gaga over the octuplets. It was a heart-warming international news sensation. But once the world learned more details of her life, we decided Nadya wasn’t a fit recipient of octuplets, the love affair ended, and the judgments started to rain down relentlessly.
Nadya should be sterilized, she should have the children taken away, she is an immigrant and bleeding the country dry, she is doing this for the welfare money, she’s only doing it to become famous and rich, she should be arrested, she is mentally ill, she is pathologically obsessed with children, she should not be single, her docs should lose their licenses, there should be a limit on how many kids you have, it is immoral to have 14 kids, only married couples experiencing infertility should have access to IVF, this is child abuse, 14 children is sickening, if the family isn’t rich, then shame on them.
I find all this judgment incredibly disturbing, let alone annoying. The public has judged her Not Good Enough for the adoration usually allotted to multiple births. Even though we usually spend our time judging women for selfishly deciding to have one or no kids (below replacement fertility!), or for aborting pregnancies, or for using contraceptives, suddenly our outraged senses of decency are causing us to do a moral 180. We don’t even need the facts to do it!
Well, I’d rather have the facts, personally, and hold the judgment than vice versa. So below I respond to some of the common criticism’s of Nadya Suleman’s massive birth using Facts and References. Holy cow!
TOO MANY EMBRYOS?
The Huffington Post reported that Nadya’s mother, Angela, “told reporters Friday that doctors implanted far fewer than eight embryos, but they multiplied,” and that once Nadya learned of how many embryos had implanted, she chose not to selectively reduce the pregnancy, possibly because she believes abortion is wrong. She also felt a moral imperative to implant all of the embryos she had frozen, which apparently she has now done.
From ABC News:
Suleman’s father said recently that his daughter didn’t intend to have eight children. “She did not seek to have more children. She thought she was gonna have one more child…”
Various experts across the interwebs have stated that they believe implanting 1-4 embryos is appropriate when performing IVF. Some countries restrict the number of embryos that can be implanted at one time to 2 or 3.
The reason that multiple embryos are implanted at once is to increase the chances of conceiving, as Canadian data suggests there is only about a one in three chance that IVF will result in conception, and a lower chance that it will result in live birth.
So, though you won’t see it stated anywhere on the web but here, it is possible that Nadya did not have doctors implant more than the recommended number of embryos, and that the reason she had all embryos implanted and chose not to reduce the pregnancy was because of sincerely held religious beliefs.
Free exercise of religion anyone? No?
14 CHILDREN IS IMMORAL
Wait a minute, I thought we were all worried about fertility decline! And saving pre-born patriots from murder! Suddenly having too many children is concerning? Suddenly it’s wrong that she chose to continue with all of her pregnancies? Are embryos suddenly less precious when the mother is single, or poor, or from an immigrant family?
Women just can’t do anything right! They’re either having too few children or too many, too few abortions or too many. When will the government just step in and mandate how many children each woman can have, and enforce sterilization once she has met her quota? It’s working in China!
Many of the comments and coverage judging Nadya for the size of her family have referenced that the family is struggling financially. Some comments spell it out: if you aren’t wealthy, keep your family small. Or better yet, if you’re poor, just don’t reproduce.
What happened to choice? I am pro-choice, and that means I believe women, regardless of income, should have the same set of reproductive options: whether or not to use birth control, whether or not to have sex, and whether or not to give birth. Of course every woman should exercise good judgment when making these important decisions. But it is not up to me, or anyone else except her and her family, to make those judgments for her.
The number of people calling for Nadya’s forcible sterilization is really disturbing. So at what number of children should the government mandate forced sterilization for women? Will restrictions be different for wealthy and poor families? For single parents and couples? I can’t think of a single positive historical example of government-enforced mandatory sterilizations.
WHERE IS THE FATHER?
Nadya was married for a few years to a man whom she later divorced, and she says that he is not the father of any of her children.
It has been reported, but not verified that “all 14 children are from the same donor, a neighbour, who unsuccessfully asked her to stop using his sperm after he got married recently. ” Other news sources have stated the donor was a friend she met while working at a fertility clinic.
The Huffington Post reports that a man named David Solomon is the father of the four eldest children, but was unable to verify whether he was the sperm donor for the others. If it is true that all 14 children have the same father, that means he may be the person.
But it is clear that Nadya made the choice to have children without a partner, and that the donor’s only role was to provide sperm. So, as it stands, there is no father. The questions of who the father is and “Where is the father?” are missing the point. The point is that Nadya has a lot of children to take care of, and the world is standing by in judgment of every choice she makes on her path. The children are already here. Who is benefiting from this mass judgment and speculation?
There has been speculation on right-wing and anti-immigrant blogs that Nadya and her parents are illegal immigrants, come to harvest the riches of welfare checks paid for with the money of unaware, well-intentioned, hard-working real Americans.
First off, anyone who thinks that you can live high on the hog from welfare has no idea what they’re talking about.
Secondly, CBS reported that Nadya’s father is a “former Iraqi military man. ” But The Telegraph reported that Edward Suleman was born in Palestine and is a former resident of Jerusalem. What is clear is that he is in the country legally and is actually working in support of the US in Iraq. There is no reported information about Nadya or her mother’s immigration status, nor reason to believe they aren’t citizens or permanent residents.
The ease with which some people turned this into a story about “illegals” and “anchor babies” is disturbing, because there isn’t a single fact out there that supports that narrative. Actually, there is evidence that works against those assumptions. There is also no conclusive evidence as to whether Nadya is on welfare or not.
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