Tuesday, February 03, 2009

The Obama administration is up in arms about recent news regarding Wall Street executives handing out some $18 billion in employee bonuses. Yes, these are the same companies that received taxpayer bailout funds. Yes, these are the same companies that can't seem to account for all the money they received from Uncle Sam. Yet, they are able to meet these extravagant bonuses. Obama is right to be upset about this.

It seems the going opinion is that any company that receives taxpayer funding should be forced to play by a different set of rules. I can't say that I would argue that point. But I will say that we are all quite foolish to expect the Wall Street executives to behave any differently. We all know that many corporate elites are greedy, that they don't really care about mainstream America, that they have already demonstrated irresponsible behavior in helping get us to our current economic situation. Which makes me wonder: why give them taxpayer dollars? And why should we be surprised when they don't spend that money responsibly? I'm not exactly sure we don't share some of the blame here.

On the other side of the country, a 33 year old woman gives birth to octuplets. What makes this a bit frustrating is that she did this through in vitro fertilization, a procedure used for people who are otherwise infertile. Except she wasn't infertile. She already had 6 children. Not only that but she is single, unemployed and living with her parents. Yet, somehow a doctor felt is was reasonable to perform IVF on her and now she has 14 children. And I'd be willing to bet what's left of my savings that she - in one way or another - is dependent on the government. No, I can't prove it, so we'll call it a guess. Assuming that I'm right, we now have an ethical situation. Should we scrutinize an individual's personal situation before performing these fertility procedures?

The conservative in me says no. When you start to restrict reproduction in certain people you are flirting with eugenics - a theory embraced by fascists and many progressive thinkers. Eugenics is dangerous and has no role in a free society.

However, when taxpayer dollars are involved it sort of changes the game, just like it does with Wall Street. If this woman were married and financially secure, I would extend her my best wishes and wish her well. But that doesn't appear to be the situation. Instead, it appears as though the taxpayer will foot at least some of the bill for these kids.

I believe the doctor shares some of the blame. It would have been easy to simply claim that the procedure was not medically indicated and refuse to do it. After all, she already had six kids, so fertility wasn't exactly an issue. I think holding him partially accountable wouldn't be a bad idea. This was irresponsible medical practice.

Folks, you can't even go to the local animal shelter to adopt a stray dog without having to demonstrate that you're capable of providing for that dog. And yet, somehow, the same rules don't apply to humans?

So if Wall Street should abide by new rules in exchange for taxpayer dollars, why not our everyday citizens? Simple. Taxpayer dollars should not be used for fertility treatments. Period. This would stop the irresponsible practice of hospitals and doctors.

And anyone on government assistance who have children via expensive fertility treatments should have their funding cut. If you can afford $15,000 for in vitro fertilization, then you don't need taxpayer dollars to buy groceries. And government funding must not increase after 2 children. If you're poor and need government assistance, then you need to be responsible enough to not have more than 2 children. It may sound cruel, but people need to start behaving more responsibly. The US taxpayer has had enough.

I would also support legal action on behalf of the taxpayer against the doctors who performed this procedure.


Anonymous said...

The woman is mentally deranged; and the doctors take an oath "to do no harm."

Any physician that implants eight embryo in a human body should lose their right to practice medicine.

Period. reb

Auntyem said...

John ---So many doctors perform abortions legally and at taxpayer cost that I am not surprised about what else they do, such as implanting more than two embryos; I think the thought is that most of the embryos will not take, so rather than do the procedure over and over again at more cost, they just now implant as many as possible. You can't take their license away; they'll just come up with some excuse, like they so often do.

Also, I don't think you could ever legislate the number of children a person can have in this country, unlike in Communist China. We are far from being that overpopulated.

There are several cases of sextuplets around the country and another case of octuplets in Texas that were the result of IVF (though one died). Maybe some of those families were on the dole, too.

Doctors did try to get this woman to abort some of the fetuses, but she refused. I would like to know more about this woman. We are told she is educated, working on her master's, was an employee of the fertility practice, etc, is otherwise of sound mind, that she did not expect all 8 to take, but now that they did and she refused to abort some, her father has to go scrounge up more jobs in Iraq (he is a bulding contractor---I think they originally came from Yemen) to help his daughter out. The only problem he says he has is the harrassment of the media. Her mother was tired of helping with the six she originally had, and was furious that she got pregnant again via IVF. It was a miracle that the 8 are all still alive and seem to be thriving. She is selling her story to the highest bidders, so she will have money for the 14 kids.

So many women (not just lesbians)who don't want to be married nowadays but want to be mothers, are having babies via artificial insemination and IVF. Times sure have changed.

Port Orchard, WA

John Washburn said...

Reb, I disagree. If someone wants 8 embryos implanted, and she can demonstrate that she is capable of caring for them and meeting the financial demand, then fine. Let her do it. I don't advocate restricting someone's fertility. We flirt with dangerous ideas when we start doing that.

But the doctor has a responsibility to the children to ensure that the mother is capable of taking on her own responsibility. The doctor has a right to refuse to do the procedure. You simply say it's not medically indicated. And in the case of a woman with 6 kids, IVF is not medically indicated.

THere's nothing wrong with implanting 8 embryos, but the doctor has to use good judgment. Had this woman tried to adopt I doubt she would have been successful. Similar standards should be applied for IVF


One unmarried woman with six kids, with a goofy notion that she wants to expand that number, is a nut-case, and the team of doctors that participate & encourage in this outrageous behavior should suffer strong criticism, not rewarded. Ethics?

Fourteen kids without a father, and with no visible means of support adds up to extreme child-abuse! reb

Anonymous said...


I haven't visited in a few days and I was hoping you would comment on the octuplets case.

I do not disagree w/ you but I also agree w/ reb in that this woman has put her children, not to mention herself, in an impossible situation.

For the first time ever, I will quote Hillary Clinton: "It takes a whole village to raise a child." Well, it will require an entire village to raise these children inasmuch as there a 14 of them below the age of 9.

I recently read a diary I kept from 1988. My wife went overseas for 3 and 1/2 weeks leaving me w/ my daughters, then aged 22 and 7 months. I had a sitter during the day but when I came home from the office, I flew solo.

In one entry I commented on the enormity of being a single parent.

So here are a few of my conclusions: 1. There is no way that this woman can adequately parent all of those children. I am no child psychologist and I have no idea what the end result will be. But for the children, I suspect it will less than ideal.

2. I wish these children the best b/c premature babies wind up w/ more than their share of health problems.

3. Whereas I am not concerned about the money aspect--I am sure mom will sell her story and her children (See the Today Show 09.02.09) and reap funds that may prove adequate to cover expenses. But what about these kids later on? What about the potential to be special needs kids in their local school system?

I guess my bottom line is that I think the mother was irresponsible.



Ron Russell said...

Just as Obama says he is against corp. executives getting bonuses and have expensive jets he's off in airforce one, on what I thought to be an un-necessary trip to the western states, to sign a bill he could have signed in Washington at a far cheaper cost. Guess a few hundred thousand dollars in not important to our great leader. Bet those $100-a-pound steaks were good, too. This guy is just too much bullsh......it.