Is She Crazy for Kids?

Octuplets Doctor loses license” Orange County Register, June 2, 2011.

Should She Have Her Head Examined?

First, a disclaimer:

1. I am aware that matters of reproductive rights and reproductive medicine are complex, nuanced, controversial, and emotional.

2. I also understand that newspapers deal in brevity and uproar. Brevity provides room for advertisements and caters to a hurried readership.

Uproars sell papers.

Okay. That said, I find myself musing over this case. The January, 2009 birth of octuplets to a single mother of six children certainly raised an uproar. Earlier this month, California revoked the medical license of the doctor who conducted the in-vitro fertilization process that led to these eight babies.

Uproars do not lend themselves to productive discussions of complex, nuanced, controversial, and emotional topics. And newspapers must by their nature condense the facts reported in any given article.

Still, I’m stunned by this article’s explanation of the state’s reasoning:

“The state’s initial complaint blamed [Dr.] Kamrava for not referring [mom] Suleman to a mental-health professional after she repeatedly returned for fertility treatments after having six children.”

I bet the complaint filed against Dr. Kamrava listed other reasons for seeking to revoke his license. But the newspaper highlighted the state’s imputed supposition that the mom must be nuts.

I’ll be reflecting today. Did the article’s author think everyone would agree that one has to be crazy to want lots and lots of kids? Or did the article’s author believe the suggestion that mom is looney would feed the uproar? Or did some other assumption drive the statement?

In any case, what does this reasoning say about us? And when did we become a nation that unblushingly peers into the heart of a mother?

1 Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, 2 like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, 3 if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.
1 Peter 2:1-3 (NASB)


  1. A Joyful Noise

    There must be a logical reason for a single mother of six children to want more children. I can give some answers but they would probably all be incorrect. If she is on welfare, the minimum allowance is for three children. So how are the other 3 being fed and clothed? Was she writing a book, perhaps she has movie rights? I doubt very much that she loves her 6 children so much that she wanted 8 more just for the love of it. As for the Dr loosing his license, there must have been other reasons not claimed in the newspaper report. Sorry doctor, but you should have referred her to social services. Yes, new baby Christians do need the milk of the Word, and we always want more babies in the church. This post raised some serious questions! Loved it!

  2. Thanks for sharing your perspective!

  3. I had not heard of this development in this ever developing story. I would have to say that there are probably a lot of details left out here. But sometimes…even the skeletal facts speak volumes :).

  4. Indeed, Laura…as do the gaps in the story.

  5. The day will come when the state will dictate how many children we can have. We will look back and longingly crave the days when 'choice' was really a choice to have children and to raise them as we see fit.

  6. That prospect seems so unlikely. Then I remember that it's a reality today in parts of the world.

    One more thing to pray on. Thanks for stopping by, David.