Friday, February 27, 2009

Post No. 91b: What Do You Think of the Octuplets Mom?

Earlier this month, June suggested that we pose some questions to you on a subject, and allow you to tell us what you think. Have we got a doozy for you. Feel free to post anonymously should you feel the need.

The Mother who recently had the premature octuplets is taking quite a bit of heat these days. In addition to Dr. Phil, her own Mother has questioned the propriety of what she did. She has been branded as the poster child for irresponsible parenthood.

However, we are certain that many of you are aware of families which had 10 - 15 kids, and still managed to survive and not become a burden on society, even when one of the parents was absent or otherwise "not engaged."

Why are people so worked up about this situation?

Do you think that people would have been similarly worked up, let's say 5 years ago? 15 years ago? 30 years ago? 60 years ago?

Do you think that the adverse publicity poses a risk to the upbringing and development of the children?

Do you feel that the children should be taken away from the Mother?

Do you feel that the media coverage has been fair, balanced, excessive, or what?

How do Catholics, and others who do not use birth control, deal with this issue?

Let us have your thoughts.

P.S. For those of you with a little "extra time" on your hands, we previously expressed some of our thoughts on parenthood in an earlier post. That was before we began limiting our posts to 750 words.


  1. This is pretty simple really, she is either crazy or crazy smart. The big issue for me is can she protect and raise her kids. If she gets a bunch of money from a book deal or whatever and can afford to feed, cloth and protect the children - then it is non of our business. But if even with the money - she is truely crazy and the kids are in danger - then we have to get involved. But when the courts get involved - who knows what will happen. Look at Britney Spears - at least she had a husband to take over the care of the kids when she went crazy.

    Personally I think the woman needs our prayers and some professional help, not media attention.

  2. Thanks much Coop. You actually hit the nail on the head from our perspective. We would like to award you the Commentator Award for the Month of April; unfortunately, we've already June two in February, and provided Vikki with the March Award. Consequently, we can not award you the April award this far in advance.

    However, neither she nor the kids need the media attention. That's what was actually operating in the back of our minds about this whole thing. We've placed everything on the stage for public consumption. We should have walked away from this one.

    However, it is unclear as to how much the Mother sought publicity also. Even there though, we should not have bitten. How about our media reporting on some new discoveries, technological advances, or inventions that will address significant societal issues?

  3. Logistician, in the long run, octuplets are their own reward.

  4. Do you recall that, at one time, every circus (and many carnivals) had a"Freak Show" as one of the attractions? Well, time and sophistication has pretty much put an end to them. Or has it? Today we have "Maury", "Jerry Springer", and even the mainstream media providing that kind of entertainment.

    I do not know what goes on in the mind of a woman that she would want so many children. I do not understand how her parents might have raised her or how they are dealing with this now because I do my best to avoid watching the interviews or reading the articles.

  5. Douglas: It is interesting that you have avoided watching the interviews or reading the articles. We are almost there with you. We have not read one single article, but we have seen roughly 5 minutes of media coverage. However, we have passed by the TV, or heard the announcer in the background, and what has surprised us during this 5 minutes of time, has been the intensity of the attack, and the condemnation of this woman.

    How did we as a society get to the point where we can spend so much time, money, and other resources condemning one human being publicly? Aren't there more important issues in society?

    How can our society solve any of the really big issues when we divert so many resources to pursuing the negative and critical? Isn't there anything positive going on in society around which we can rally and move forward? Does this one private citizen deserve this much of our attention?

  6. I thought I pretty much answered your questions in my "Freak Show" metaphor.

    I haven't completely avoided the articles or mentions of her on TV. When I first heard about her, when the event was first reported, I predicted that she would become the subject of scorn rather quickly. I was not wrong in that prediction. It is a sad situation all around; in what it says about the general public, the media, the woman and her family, the fertility clinics and doctors]in general.

  7. I have read no articles and have not watched anything on TV. If the government helps her, that is strictly between the government rep and herself. It is not my business. If she is deemed unstable or incompetent, again, that is between the agency that evaluates her and the individual and/or family. It is not my business.

    Would the public be so worked up 5 years ago? Yes, for the same reasons they are today.

    10 years or more ago? Probably not, as the Internet was less widely used then.

    will adverse publicity poses a risk to the upbringing and development of the children?

    No. The publicity will die down when another issue/celebrity/uproar comes along and she will be forgotten.

    Do I think the children should be removed?

    That is not my call. That is an issue that belongs to the children services unit that covers the area she lives in. The right to have children, raise them how you see fit is a basic right in this country. I am not qualified to make those decisions.

    media coverage? No idea. I deal with so much of this at work, I avoid it like the plague when I'm not at work.

    religion...ack. Don't go there!!!!

  8. Thanks Holly for visiting the forum again. We are seeing you with some frequency, and hope that you will continue to share your thoughts with us.

    What struck us as the underlying theme supporting your views is the issue of whether the state or some entity should take action in response to the decision made by this mother. It appears that you feel that these issues should be handled on a case-by-case basis, and that no sweeping generalizations should be applied. It also appears that you have not been drawn in by the media frenzy surrounding this woman. It makes us wonder whether it would really be that much of an issue if the media did not cover it with as much intensity.

    One of our Twitter followers, responded, "Who cares about that woman. Is this still news?"

  9. So what is the societal standard to be established and then followed? We have a personal choice made by this woman. It clearly affects others, in this case, young children who depend on her and can not fend for themselves.

    What is the standard for interfering in the parent-child relationship, and when is too much too much?

  10. Holly's apathy regarding government agencies bothers me. Because I have heard and read too many stories where these agencies failed to follow their responsibilities in too many cases resulting in the deaths or disappearances or chronic maltreatment of children under their charge. And these are only the cases which come to light. Who knows how many others are never revealed?

    I think we all need to be more vigilant when it comes to child and family services agencies.

  11. Out of curiosity, should children be taken away from parents who expose their kids to 2nd hand smoke? Who feed their kids poor quality, high fat food? Who do not encourage their kids to exercise? Should parents who imbibe alcohol in front of their kids be taken away? Should parents who do not read to their kids have their kids taken away? What if the parents speak improper grammar? What if a parent has a child out of wedlock while other kids are still in the house? What about a parent who keeps a weapon in the house? What about a parent who walks their child home from school through a dangerous, drug infested neighborhood? What about a parent who repeatedly speeds while driving thus exposing their child to a heightened risk? What about a parent who exposes their children to a potentially life-threatening sport, like boxing, or even football?

  12. What do I think of her? I believe she is a selfish,deceitful narcissist who has manipulated her family especially her mother and may very well be the best example of SBS (spoiled brat syndrome)that I have heard of in awhile. I watched her interview on the Doctor Phil show and he was gentle with her. He asked her what her plans were and her answer was something like I'm thinking about it. This after 9 months of pregnancy and the babies in the hospital for several weeks. The more she spoke the clearer it was that she was w-a-y out there. She has rejected 24/7 child care offered by the childcare company Angels in Waiting in favor of taking a reality show deal. She also spoke about how lonely she was growing up as an only child and how having all these babies help fill the void. Kinda says it all.

    That she had child after child without having the wherewithal to support them is pretty upsetting especially because she is not ignorant just willful (going for her Masters degree with help from the government and said on tv she would use student loans to help her take care of the kids..oh yeah). Three of the six children that she already had are special needs children and all are below age 10. Evidently that made her sit down and consider what she should do with the windfall of money she received from her lawsuit and what she came up with was not help for those children she already had who so desperately need help but to go about getting pregnant again. I still think the doctor who did the procedure is even more culpable as he is presumed to be a professional and is supposed to follow rules and guidelines which he obviously chose to ignore. He should be footing the hospital bills for those babies at the very least.

    "Why are people so worked up about this situation?"
    Because this woman is trying to cash in on the misery she is causing these children. Not to mention there are couples who so desperately want to love an nurture a child seeing her make a travesty of motherhood they find her actions particularly grating.

    "Do you think that people would have been similarly worked up, let's say 5 years ago? 15 years ago? 30 years ago? 60 years ago?"
    If such a thing had been possible 30 or 60 years ago, and had people known about about it then yes they would have gotten worked up about it. We are not the first generation to get all hot and bothered over something that occurs to one individual or family. The nation practically came to a standstill over the kidnapping of the Lindberg baby though he surely wasn't the first child ever to be kidnapped.

    I do not feel that the children need to be taken away from her unless conditions are dangerous enough to warrant it under the rules outlined by child protective services. If she was not being offered a reality show deal and people did not shoulder her burdens she would cave quickly and the children would most likely be taken out of the situation. My own hope for the 8 who have not yet left the hospital is that the mother would apply to have them openly adopted. They should grow up knowing each other and open adoption would be far more likely to have that happen than when child services has to have them removed and put into foster care. I don't wish that on them and even on Nadya Sulemin even if my perception of her is accurate. In the end nobody would want to see children suffer because of parental stupidity.

  13. "Out of curiosity, should children be taken away from parents who expose their kids to 2nd hand smoke? Who feed their kids poor quality, high fat food? Who do not encourage their kids to exercise? Should parents who imbibe alcohol in front of their kids be taken away? Should parents who do not read to their kids have their kids taken away? What if the parents speak improper grammar? What if a parent has a child out of wedlock while other kids are still in the house? What about a parent who keeps a weapon in the house? What about a parent who walks their child home from school through a dangerous, drug infested neighborhood? What about a parent who repeatedly speeds while driving thus exposing their child to a heightened risk? What about a parent who exposes their children to a potentially life-threatening sport, like boxing, or even football?"
    None of those situation present a clear and present danger. Rules regarding removal of children from a home include an immediate danger to the child's life IE parent on crack has not fed the children, has used them to get money for drugs, has bashed in a child's head, has raped the child etc. It is not a matter of having an ideal home for the child's ultimate health and security which we might love to see all children have but can't expect a governmental agency to make those kinds of decisions. There is a minimal requirement that as a society we seemed to have come to an agreement about regarding the safety of children under the law. It is the reason all those children were removed from the fundamentalist polygamist LDS ranch but returned when no hard evidence was produced to prove statutory rape. All you had to do was look at the mothers showing you the children's multi-bunk bedrooms that did not have a single toy because the group does not believe in having toys to know these children were deprived but that did not mean they could or should be taken from their parents. We have rules and laws even if at times they may seem inadequate to our way of looking at the world.

  14. Just one more thing:

    Not only was there an offer of specialized pediatric care, she was also offered a home large enough to house all 14 children. Turned it down.

  15. Government agencies. Hmmm. It appears that many are unwilling to entrust their money to government agencies (unless they have no choice), and but they arguably support the regulation of goods, medicine, and food by government agencies. It always appears that some are willing to allow government to make decisions about parenting and the responsibilities associated with it, even to the point of intervention on behalf of_________?

  16. Hmmm June. A selfish, deceitful, narcissist who is manipulative. Was that just a gratuitous evaluation or qualities which bear on her ability to be a proper parent?

    So clear and present danger is the key. Is there currently a clear and present danger in connection with the octuplets? Arguably, a kid in a car exceeding the speed limit by 25 or so mph might be considered to be in clear and present danger of being injured?

    Should the probability of infliction of some damage or harm be a factor?

    "There is a minimal requirement which society has come to an agreement..." Interesting.

  17. Douglas,

    First of all, what you are seeing is not apathy but an understanding
    that it is her right to have children, no matter how they are
    conceived, no matter if she can afford them, no matter if she is the
    recipient of government assistance, no matter if she is not good at
    making life decisions. It is not necessary for me to apply my approval
    or disapproval to this situation. There are a lot of people who
    probably aren't very good parents, who have mental health issues, who
    have substance abuse issues, who have poor decision making skills, who
    are uneducated, who (fill in the blank) and are raising them, even if
    not to your specs. Do we apply YOUR standards to the decision making
    process of who gets to have children? What if I disagree with your
    criteria? Does that mean I cannot have children because I am not good
    enough? So let’s take this one step further. Do the criteria mean that
    if I lose my job, then I lose my home, and I am forced to go on
    welfare that I must submit to a Good Enough To Be A Parent Test? At
    what point should the agencies step in and take my children from me?
    When I don’t have enough money? When I don’t have enough education?
    When I don’t have my own home? Can you see where this would eventually
    lead? This is not apathy, it is that I do not have the right, or the
    jurisdiction to step in here and neither do you. The only ones who
    have that right and own that jurisdiction are the child welfare

    Stops to rinse the bad taste out of my mouth.

    You state that we must increase vigilance of these agencies. How do
    you propose to do this? Most of the information they deal with is
    subject to privacy laws. Rightly so, as there are plenty of people who
    get a tiny bit of information and run with it. A dangerous thing indeed.
    I would be deeply angry if every aspect of every case were made
    “transparent” to every individual who wished to see it.


    The standards for what is deemed to be something to interfere with are set by the local/state/federal agencies who deal with child welfare. It is not simply a society standard. It is also compounded by criminal and civil issues.

  18. One more thing, Logistician, I follow your blog so I read each entry, even those I do not comment on.

  19. Holly, thanks for being a regular visitor.

    If it is not "society's standard," then from where does our government derive its power? Theoretically, the citizens elect representatives to legislative bodies. The legislative bodies enact laws depending on what their constituents feel is "appropriate." The executive officers of the government execute on those laws, and judiciary ensures that the laws or proper or constitutional.

    Ultimately, the standard, we would submit, is established by the people aka society. If our elected officials get it wrong, we vote them out, or otherwise let our displeasure be known. Criminal and civil standards are ultimately a reflection of the values of society, aren't they?

    Here's one for you all. Should corporeal punishment by parents be allowed? By teachers? Does it constitute inappropriate conduct? If a neighbor suspects that a parent is whipping his or her child with a belt, should the neighbor report it to the authorities?

  20. Our statutes and laws are written by our elected officials. Sometimes with our knowledge, most times without.

  21. Sounds like this is more of a learning experience (ethically and practically) for the US medical profession than anything else.

    We had a recent example of a 13 year old boy fathering a child in the UK, and the Conservatives branded it an example of'broken Britain' which is the current scare tag they're trying to make into a meme.

    My view is that it is such an unusual event that it has to be handled on an individual scale and not used as a litmus for how society is doing. Same goes for this lady and her litter.

    With your Octomum, I personally think it's a mad thing to do and she put the babies at high risk by having them. Now it's done, we can just hope she manages to give them a good childhood.

  22. Holly, I said nothing about any apathy regarding the mother. My comment was addressed to your apparent willingness to allow a government agency to determine fitness to parent, whether the children should be left with the mother, and so on. As I wrote:

    "Holly's apathy regarding government agencies bothers me."

    I don't believe I could have been any more clear.

  23. Wow- I don’t know if I want to get into this argument but here's my two cents: I read all the comments. I haven’t really followed the news on her -because my immediate response when I first heard about it was ‘yet again’ another nut case. But there seems to be valid points made on both sides of this argument.

    Large families are certainly not a new or unusual concept to this world. I don’t think anyone wants our government telling us how many children we’re allowed to have or when we‘re allowed to have them.

    You know, China did that. With their population problem they restricted family size to- two children only. As a result of it infantcide (especially of baby girls) became prevalent. People wanted boys to carry on their family names. We can all agree that’s not an answer we’d choose. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have the right be outraged when someone takes advantage of ‘our’ system.

    Our government assisted welfare is meant as a temporary aid to help Americans get back on their feet. We are also willing to take care of our citizen who are disabled or can never work again. Assisted living was never meant as a life style choice. Unfortunately it has become that.

    Now, we all know that the number of dependants a family has - the higher the welfare payment. It’s been the basis for breeding many large families. More babies=more bucks.

    I think part of the outrage with this woman is simply this. She was living on assisted living. She has 6 children she can’t provide for. She CHOOSES to be artificially inseminated and bring 8 more children into the world she has no way of providing for.

    Our suspicious are that she’s breeding human beings as merely a means for her own financial gain. And it’s working. She’s all kinds of offers. Thus we’re outraged that anyone would do (or be allowed) to do this.

    And what the heck is the culpability of the doctor or clinic that inseminates her? And how did she pay for it? It’s VERY expensive. (Was it our tax payer dollars?)

    Now let me ask you this: Don’t we put those puppy factories out of business ? The owners are charged with cruelty to animals. We say they’re inhumane breeding dogs like maniacs and we darn well are going to protect those animals! How is this woman really any differen? Do human beings fall lower on the scale of causes we fight for- than a puppy?

    Thank goodnes we're up in arms over her! If anything -it restores my faith in who we are.


  24. Though such instances of excessive breeding are relatively rare in American society today, this case illustrates the need to get our overpopulation problem under control. That’s right: I did indeed use the words “overpopulation” and “control” in the same sentence.

    I know that conservative thinkers typically stand aghast at such a proposal, but – along with committed immigration control – we must begin to address the perceived “need” of some among us to generate broods rather than well-nurtured children. I believe it to be inevitable that the children of Ms. Octuplets will be neglected in some measure, so the answer is to discourage those who would otherwise choose to be “fertility poster girls” (boys, too) from reproductive habits more appropriate to lemmings, gerbils and bunny rabbits.

    And how do I propose to do so? FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE, STOP FORCING THE REST OF US TO PAY FOR THE BREEDERS’ OFFSPRING! Are you on welfare? Generate two little “dollar magnets” and thereafter we, the people, don’t pay for any more! Do you work? Have two little “tax deductions” and then don’t expect to receive any further tax credits for the third and beyond!

    I know that I will be despised for this proposal, but I am sick of paying to help enable nationwide water shortages – and I predict that such resource privation is only the beginning. No, I am not a left-wing weenie or a doomsday prophet, but I find the conclusion that our nation is quickly reaching a lifestyle-sustainability vs. population equinox to be inescapable. Rather, I am an ugly rural American who loves big cars, big chunks of real estate and long, hot showers – and I see no reason why I should sacrifice those familiar quality-of-life comforts to the reckless reproductive habits of others. Here in North Carolina, the water situation is so dire that the politicians are fighting involuntary inter-basin water transfers with lawsuits and threatening to place meters on our private wells – at what point do we finally say “Enough is enough”?

    Logistician, I enjoy your posts hence I have placed a link to your blog upon my own. I would request that, provided you do not find my site to be too terribly rough-hewn and offensive, you might reciprocate.

    Thank you.

    Jeff Dreibus

  25. Douglas wrote:
    addressed to your apparent willingness to allow a government agency to determine fitness to parent

    And I repeat, if you do not feel the agencies should determine who is fit enough, who will? You? This is what these agencies were developed to do.

  26. The goal of Child and Family Services is to have programs that protect children and youths from abuse, neglect and abandonment.

    Holly-While you are getting that bad taste out of your mouth I hope you will consider that children are not the PROPERTY of parents. They are not property period. They have basic human rights. Giving birth to a human being does not give you the right to beat him or her to within an inch of their lives, starve them, sell them for sex to other people,rape them. Do people have a right to make judgments based on available information? I say yes.After all Nadia Suleiman accepted offers to appear in public interviews and then should expect people to draw conclusions from her own words and actions. Do they have the right to interfere with someone else's family? Right and responsibility as far as notifying the agencies responsible for interceding in extreme conditions. We call the police when we see a crime being committed. Only in the most extreme circumstance should we dare to confront the criminal yet there are even instances where that may be necessary. Child welfare agencies are not to have carte blanche either. They are supposed to first try to see if it is possible to help the family stay together. That may mean home management skill training, parenting education classes and supervised visitation. Policy is to provide protective services to children in their own homes when it is possible to do so without risking their safety. Another fall back is Family Group Decision-making Meetings. These meetings bring together family, friends, social workers, and service providers to share concerns, knowledge, and skills. They can be used throughout the child protective process as a way to prevent removal of a child from the home. Then is some states there is kinship care placing the child, whenever possible, with an extended family member, clan member, or tribal member. It provides the child with a safe and nurturing environment while preserving a family connection. When an out-of-home placement is necessary, social workers are required to first try to place the child with a non-custodial birth parent or with a member of the child's extended family. These don't sound like draconian measures but whenever governmental agencies are involved people fall through the cracks and these are the most vulnerable people...children.

    Redchair-The fertility treatments were payed by Nadia Suleiman with the money she received from a lawsuit. But the question is if she were not being supported by the government and her mother would she have had to use that money to live on instead of buying the fertility treatments.

    Logistican-"Should the probability of infliction of some damage or harm be a factor? "
    It should be and it is. Someone driving at an excessive speed with a baby in the car should receive a greater penalty than one who is not "carrying". When that same person breaks the law in not having that child restrained in a car seat in the back seat of the vehicle it ups the ante because the law was created to save a child from becoming a projectile in case of an accident. A child is not removed in such cases but the adult must be brought to a place of understanding that they are risking the child's life.

    My harsh assessment of Nadia Suleiman has a lot to do with coming to a reasonable conclusion that the character traits she has openly displayed and her actions will lead to child endangerment unless she is willing to attempt to change.

  27. Holly, You are the one who was willing to cede authority to bureaucrats. You are too willing to say "I don't have the training" and let some overworked social worker decide what to do. I have seen and read too many stories of children, neglected, abused, and murdered because these social workers cannot keep up (or don't bother). And this happens because you, and others like you, think the government knows what it is doing. You only get outraged when you finally read about a case or two. Well, those cases that come to light are the tip of the iceberg. We let the government do it and wash our hands of all responsibility because, well, we "don't have the training", because it "isn't [our] job", the authorities are better equipped to deal with this and "it's none of [our] business." These quoted phrases were taken from your comment, Holly. Not mine.

    Octomom is an aberration. The real problem is the multiple generations living on welfare and having babies at 16 because that's how old their mothers were. The real problem is our willingness to cede our responsibilities to government.

    We have given up believing and teaching that some things are "right" and some things are "wrong", that people should accept responsibility for their actions, that the government isn't the answer to society's troubles.

  28. This is turning out to be a great discussion. It started off as a sleeper, and we thought that we had perhaps made a mistake in simply posing questions. However, once again, June and Vikki were right.

  29. I wish to apologize to Holly. We are not that far apart in our view of this particular matter. My issue with her is the existence of government agencies and the matter of privacy. I feel if you are willing to take PUBLIC money then you implicit relinquish privacy rights regarding the circumstances. Just as the average person does not hand out money to even relatives without knowing how it will be spent, neither should the government. And we (allegedly) are the government.

  30. Jules brought up the issue of the role of the medical profession. Apart from abortion, are there any other medical procedures which any of you feel medical practitioners should not perform?

  31. Thanks Vikki for stating that there are valid points on both sides of this argument.

    Something else comes to mind. We've probably seen a total of 10 minutes coverage by the media of this story. However, one segment had her expressing the motivation for having these children. She essentially said that she "loved the children that she had before the octuplets" and suggested that there would be more love in her life."

  32. Let us pose this question at this juncture. Just a week ago, many of you bristled at the thought that your hard earned tax dollars would be used to bail out someone who had made poor economic decisions regarding their mortgage. Isn't the same principle potentially applicable to some form of nationalized health care? Why should the tax dollars of people who pursue a healthy lifestyle and eat healthy food be used to address the illnesses of those who don't?

    Should this woman be denied any sort of government health care benefits because of her decision? Should she have priority over immigrants who come into the country?

  33. June,
    Where did I ever say that children are property? They are not. Where did I ever say that it was acceptable to beat, starve or sell children? It is not.

    Should the proper agencies be notified? Absolutely, but I am certain that the hospital has notified them and with all the publicity involved I am sure others have too. In fact, I would be extremely surprised if their phones are not ringing off the hook because the children have not been removed. However, until the investigation (if there is one) is either concluded or the determination made that the children should be removed, they will stay where they are.

    Child welfare agencies should not and do not have carte blanche, again, that is what you are inferring not what I said. I would suggest if you have any questions about what regulations are, how they are enforced and how cases are handled to either get a job with those agencies or contact their public relations office. I also never said that things don’t go wrong, or that cases are not mishandled. I am sure they are….but remember that you do not hear about the ones that go well, about the child who does find placement or the parents who are helped to find a way. You hear about those that don’t, which gives a slanted perspective to the ones reading about them.

    I deal in facts June, and the fact is that there is no proof of endangerment ….yet.

    Douglas, I have ceded nothing by saying I don’t have the training and that others do. I don’t, others do. That is a simple statement of fact. If you think the government does not know what it is doing, then by all means, get out of your chair and do something about that. Vote your elected bodies out. Get a job with an agency and go make a difference.

    Perhaps I was not clear. We have a responsibility to look out for each other. If you think there is a problem and you wish to take on the responsibility, you may report it to the proper authorities. However….it is not your jurisdiction or your right….to make a call that she should not be permitted to have had these children, have more children or have the ones that are already here taken away. That is the job of the agency doing the investigation, if there is an investigation. Your rights also do not extend to having all the particulars of that investigation made available to you. Again, there are privacy laws in place that prevent that. Once you involve one of those agencies, the decision on how to handle it becomes theirs, and does not belong to the public. Undoubtedly there are aspects of the case that can and should be made public, but not all of them.

    You may feel that if an individual takes public money they must relinquish their privacy…that does not make it so.

    And one more thing…..many relatives lend money without knowing how it will be spent. Some regret it later.

  34. Let's say that a neighbor's kid beats up your kid and your kid is injured. Should the parents of the offending kid have their kid taken away from them for this incident, assuming that it is the first offense and the medical attention required to be applied to the victim is relatively minor?

  35. Or lets assume this actor is not a first time offender, then what? How bad are the injuries? Is this a simple assault, aggravated assault or attempted homicide?

    lets say the kid is 10 years old.

    then what?

    lets say the kid is 16, and has been ridiculed endlessly by other kids for years, then what?

  36. let's say this kid is 10 and has been moved from foster home to foster home after he was taken away from his bio parents at 1 year of age

    because someone somewhere didn't think they were going to take care of him to their specs

  37. Vikki brought up a point about which we have been thinking. She said that "large families are... not a new or unusual concept to the world." We all recognize that as a society "advances," parents have fewer and and fewer children. It is a very significant issue for the US and Western Europe, in terms of replenishing the work force, and having to future workforce to subsidize the social security needs of the present generation of senior citizens. (Many suggest that it is the reason why neither party is willing to attack illegal immigration in any meaningful way.)

    What Vikki's statement made us think about is HOW QUICKLY the decrease in US family size has occurred, as compared to history. It also makes us once again question whether US citizens living 90 years ago would have equally critical of this young lady.

  38. Logistician,

    Your comments raise some pretty weighty moral questions.

    Should children be produced principally to supply a workforce?

    And, more critically, should they be generated to essentially pay the freight for the "golden years" of the previous generation(s) -- simply because an arbitrary law was written some seventy years ago which mandates that they should?

    All of this sounds pretty close to some of the questionable rationale in Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World", a work which certainly did not portray the future – our present -- as Utopian.

    Of course the citizens of 90 years ago would have applauded this young lady -- they still needed more farm hand and factory laborers back then, and the quality-of-life expectation for one's offspring was much lower. Further, the concept of taxpayer-supported overbreeding was simply nonexistent.

    I would like to think that western society has evolved since then -- it certainly SHOULD have -- but if we are still birthing people primarily to support those who are already here, has it indeed done so? And, if the overall quality of life deteriorates as the population grows (as I contend), what does this practice say about our ability to confront our own presumptions of "how the system should work"?

    Jeff Dreibus

  39. Jeff: Good points, and well articulated.

    We often ask a very simple question in this day and time: Why do people have children at this point in historical time?

    Arguably, the first determination which a couple might make is whether "the world" or "society" needs any more children, from a pragmatic perspective, and where we are in terms of over-population.

    However, the conversation is rarely practical in nature. It is typically emotional in nature. And that's alright, as long as you do not complain later down the road that there are some practical difficulties associated with not having posed the proper question in the beginning.

    We very well understand those who needed farm hands to help on the farm. We also understand, although admittedly to less of an extent, those who claim that God has instructed them to populate the world for God's benefit. We have more difficulty understanding the motivations of those in the modern world, once you exclude their personal, emotional reasons.

    As we've often said, when you make emotional decisions on the front end, you can blame government or society for the practical ramifications on the back end.

  40. Holly: the questions which you posed reflect how complex and difficult the issues are in this area.

    For any of us to simply sit back and point the finger and condemn anyone is a bit inappropriate in our opinion. In fact, we will soon generate a piece on how much "condemnation" there appears to be in our society these days. We put alot of energy these days into putting others down.

    Thanks Holly for your thoughtful input.

  41. Holly, you have a way of misstating things I thought only I could do. I never said she had no right to have those kids or keep them. Go back and read what I actually said. I did not say they gave up their right to privacy by taking public money, I said they SHOULD.

    I did not say we had no responsibility to take care of others, I said we did and we should not shirk that by ceding it to government and then washing our hands of it claiming we don't have teh training needed.

    I take back my apology.

  42. Earlier today, we saw a commercial featuring Marie Osmond for a weight reduction program, perhaps Ginnie Craig. At the end of the commercial, Ms. Osmond noted that she had to get 8 children through college, and that she is a single mom. While this is not close to 14, it made us question whether financial wherewithal is the crucial factor by which to judge the mother's conduct as responsible or not.

  43. I think you all are wrong. This woman may be petty and selfish but at least she didn't have selective reduction. She did not murder them and that says something. Its probably extremely scary to carry eight babies. Knowing that just by being pregnant with them your risking all their lives. Shes slightly unstable but you would be to if you just had eight babies. I dont agree with what she did or approve of implanting six eggs during IVF. That was stupid and dangerous but things like this discussing her like shes not a regular person is wrong. Shes as much a child of God as you or me. The babies are hers and if you listen to her talk its obvious she loves them. Love isnt always enough but she has money now. The way she got it may not be a good way but I think shes brave, a little crazy but brave. Her kids shouldn't be taken away they're hers. God doesnt make mistakes, this didnt happen on accident. She shouldn't be discussed and her actions shouldnt be reviewed. You dont know her, neither do I, but only God is fit to judge a person. None of you have that right. Have you ever thought of her as a scared mom that everyone hates? Not the "octomom" but as a person that gets death threats? I would be terrified, any one would be. I see her as a person with little babies that she loves. Thats all end of story. Leave her alone.

  44. Thank you Lynn, and welcome to our forum. It's interesting that you entered this discussion late, but from our perspective, hit the nail on the head right away.

    What struck us about this whole event was how willing so many were to pass judgment on another human being. You are correct that none of us know her. It is equally correct that none of us really know the details about the fertilization or about her past.

    We find it fascinating that so many spend so much time criticizing the choices of others, and so little trying to improve their lives and the contributions that they can make to the improvement of society. We need not even delve into the media's obsession with generating ratings or income. There must be a better way for a society to spend its time.

  45. Earlier today, we saw a commercial featuring Marie Osmond for a weight reduction program, perhaps Ginnie Craig. At the end of the commercial, Ms. Osmond noted that she had to get 8 children through college, and that she is a single mom. While this is not close to 14, it made us question whether financial wherewithal is the crucial factor by which to judge the mother's conduct as responsible or not.

  46. let's say this kid is 10 and has been moved from foster home to foster home after he was taken away from his bio parents at 1 year of age

    because someone somewhere didn't think they were going to take care of him to their specs


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