Octomom. We all have opinions concerning Nadya Suleman. And I’ll be honest, my very first thought after hearing her story was, “Is this woman insane?! What about those poor kids?! How can anyone be so selfish! So irresponsible! So clueless!”
But then I stopped and really thought about the situation and though my initial opinions still stand, I’d like to challenge myself in breaking this down even further and giving it a fair analysis.
To kind of set the mood for what I’m talking about, watch the Momversation video below:
Vodpod videos no longer available.
I agree with Heather – I think we need to be very careful in how we judge this woman’s decision to carry eight babies to term. True, her decision was probably not the wisest course of action; true, given she already has six children at home and can not afford to take care of them, she shouldn’t have made the decision to have the other embryos implanted; true, her decision to have the octuplets will ultimately be a burden on tax payers, and we can’t help but judge her because it was very irresponsible. BUT the bottom line is, it was her choice to go ahead with the pregnancy and she still has the right to decide what she wants to do with her body and her offspring.
This is the line that pro-choicers have a huge problem with – obtaining the right to tell people what they can and can not do with their lives and bodies. Because if we ultimately cross that line, then where does it stop? For example: a woman already has four kids and society suddenly decides that she has enough, she’s not allowed to have anymore and let’s say she becomes pregnant again? Does society then have the right to swoop in and take that baby away from her because she’s over her allotted limit that society set for her? If we give society the right to make our decisions for us in one area, then chances are, society will end up having the right to make our decisions for us in ALL areas.
And that’s simply unacceptable, on any level and regardless of one’s beliefs. If you disagree, then put yourself into the woman’s shoes highlighted in the above example. Would you be willing to give up your baby because you didn’t follow society’s rules, or you broke them accidentally (because these things happen, it’s life)?
But on the other hand, what about these children? Where are their rights to grow up in a normal, secure environment? Where is their right to obtain the individualized attention necessary to build healthy personalities? And who is going to stand up for them and give them those rights? Especially when a few of the children have special needs? One woman can not possibly have the time, or the energy, to properly give these children what they need, it’s physically impossible. So … where can she get the help?
From society. From churches. From volunteers. From good samaritans. From government programs. Which are funded by taxpayers. So, in essence, WE will ultimately end up paying for Suleman’s selfish need to fill the void she has claimed she has in her life. She has WILLINGLY and KNOWINGLY become a burden on society.
And yet, she hadn’t expected this to happen. Granted, she probably shouldn’t have put herself in this situation, given she already has six children, BUT she had other embryos available and she felt they had the right to life. Imagine her surprise when she found out all of them fertilized. How could she terminate her own children? Could you? I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to. It must be incredibly difficult to be put into a position where you get to decide who lives and who dies – I just can’t imagine what that must be like. It’s one thing to terminate a pregnancy because of a violent act, like rape, because the act was a violation, unwanted and certainly unplanned, but quite another situation to terminate a pregnancy when it was intentional!
And yet (see? I’m trying so hard to be fair here), someone is going to have to pay for these children. Miss Suleman is simply not in a position to do so, and will most likely not EVER be in a position to do so, unless she wins the lottery or something, WE will end up paying for these children through social programs.
Granted, social programs exist for situations like this – for unplanned (though technically, this was planned and something Suleman should have taken into consideration before making the decision to have the embryos implanted but that’s rather a moot point now, isn’t it), dire straits. I do not have any problem putting my money into social programs WHEN the people who use them NEED them, and use them as a springboard to get out of their dire strait and back into an independent livelihood. I DO have a problem with social programs when people are not only capable of getting out of their situation but CHOOSE not to!
And I think that’s why a lot of people are upset with Suleman, because realistically, she will never be in a situation where she can AFFORD these children on her own. Where does that leave her and her children? At the mercy of taxpayers – who are already buckling under the current economic situation as is. THAT is what angers people about this situation, we’re being forced to pay for this woman’s selfish actions, we simply do not have a choice, Suleman has not given us a choice and is taking advantage of the system in order to get what she wants. She chose to forfeit her personal responsibility so she could fill that void.
And while we’re on the subject of taxes, this statement from the video really angered me:
“Most of us aren’t thinking about where our money is going, are we?”
Precisely. Because people have been brainwashed into thinking that the government is simply going to take that money and why fight it? Grr. THAT’S how the government gets away with taking nearly 50% of our money from us because it’s a gradual process – a little this week, a bit more next week and OH look at the money I get back in April! Wooee! Which is peanuts compared to the money that was taken away from us, and put into programs for irresponsible people like Suleman, to begin with.
But this isn’t about taxes, it’s about Octomom (though ultimately, taxes is a by-product of Octomom).
Look, I’m not defending what she did. All I’m saying is, her situation? Is not as cut and dried as a lot of people think it is. There are a lot of moral and ethical issues here that simply can’t be tossed out because we’re shocked and repulsed by what she did. I certainly don’t have any answers.
One thing I can do though? Is pray those 14 children are cared for – one way or another.
Thanks for the thought-provoking topic, Momversation. I enjoy rational, articulate discussions like these. They challenge me to not be so quick to judge people or their situations.
Life is such a pretty shade of gray, isn’t it? 🙂