The California woman who gave birth to octuplets on Monday, although once married, seems to have had all 14 of her kids out of wedlock -- and various public records raise questions about the family's ability to support them.
I do not buy the argument that people have an unlimited right to make babies. We pay for bad reproductive decisions of others for decades.
The woman already had 6 kids! She has no right to burden the rest of us in this way. We taxpayers face big bills for her decisions.
No matter what your income, giving birth and caring for octuplets is an expensive proposition. The infants' delivery was performed by a team of 46 doctors, nurses and surgical assistants stationed in four delivery rooms at Kaiser Permanente Bellflower Medical Center in Bellflower, Calif., and it likely cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The births were extremely expensive. Then comes the neonatal intensive care at a few thousand dollars per day per baby.
All these premature babies which competed for limited nutrients in the womb will probably suffer lifelong learning disabilities. We will pay even more for decades to come. Special schooling, kids who grow up to be low-performing in the job market - assuming they can even work.
"If she went to a fertility clinic, there's wide consensus from every single ethicist and fertility specialist that this was irresponsible and unethical to implant that many embryos," said M. Sara Rosenthal, bioethicist at the University of Kentucky's College of Medicine. "This is an outrageous situation that should not happen."
Doctors say that giving birth to extreme multiples comes with tremendous risks for both the mother and the babies. Risks for the children include bleeding in the brain, intestinal problems, developmental delays and lifelong learning disabilities.
Large multiple births "are presented on TV shows as a 'Brady Bunch' moment. They're not," fumed Arthur Caplan, bioethics chairman at the University of Pennsylvania. He noted the serious and sometimes lethal complications and crushing medical costs that often come with high-multiple births.
But Dr. Jeffrey Steinberg, who has fertility clinics in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and New York, countered: "Who am I to say that six is the limit? There are people who like to have big families."
Mom tried to declare bankruptcy in March 2008.
The mother of the octuplets lives with her parents in a modest, single-story home on a quiet cul-de-sac in Whittier, a Los Angeles suburb of about 85,000. Children's bicycles, a pink car and a wagon were scattered in the yard and driveway.
On Thursday night, the children's grandfather came to the door and angrily told reporters to leave the property.
Court records show Suleman filed for bankruptcy last March, but after she failed to make required payments and appear at a creditors' meeting, the case was dismissed. She reported liabilities of $981,371, mostly money owed on two houses she owns in Whittier.
Update: Steve Sailer has lots more details about the family. Get this: one of the existing 6 children is autistic. So mom and grandmom already have a big burden just caring for the existing brood.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2009 January 31 12:10 AM Civilizations Decay|