Legislators Say, “Never Again!”
Although Nadya Suleman doesn’t live in Missouri, her case provoked enough outrage here that Missouri lawmakers want to prevent anything similar from happening again. This AP story outlines the latest developments in the effort to limit the number of embryos that can be implanted in a woman.
I don’t like this, because it limits doctors’ freedom and it’s not targeted to prevent abuses of the technology. If a doctor implants too many embryos and none of them develop successfully, he shouldn’t be liable for that. If the public is angry about Suleman’s dependence on public aid, I don’t understand how a bill that applies to everyone — not just those receiving state assistance — would solve future problems. What about a couple that could afford several children, don’t have any children, have four embryos implanted, and get quadruplets? Is that such a terrible situation that we need laws to prevent it? Women don’t have octuplets every day, and fertility treatments don’t work well enough to allow everyone to have that many kids. This is taking a once-in-a-blue-moon occurrence and basing broad legislation on it.
I also don’t like the implication that women on welfare shouldn’t have kids. As a society, we’ve come up with this policy that encourages women to have more children than they can afford. Most don’t have 14, but it can happen. I don’t think people are just responding to the interesting use of technology in Suleman’s case. It’s partially that she has more kids than they think she should. So, who’s going to come up with the limit? Where will we draw the line? One child per family? Or no new children once you go on welfare?
And, because everyone potentially benefits from public schools and other programs, this isn’t only about welfare. If someone has eight children and sends them all to public school, there’s a cost to taxpayers. I’m afraid we’re heading down the road of limits on family sizes for everyone, like in China.