Last month, a woman gave birth to octuplets. The details of her
story emerged shortly after and have shocked the world. She is a single mother with six other children, supporting herself with student loans, food stamps and disability payments for her children.
Her story has prompted countless articles and videos and has spurred interviews with Dateline News and other news programs. “Is she delusional?” “Is she an unfit mother?” Perhaps. But does she deserve threats to her life?
Since Nadia Suleman came home from the hospital, she faced death threats, protests on her lawn, hate mail and angry phone calls.
A lot of claims exist about what video games, Facebook and cellphones have done to our general sense of civility and decorum. But I believe the real damage these technologies have created is in our blurred sense of boundaries.
It is so much easier to send an angry text message than to meet the person face to face and resolve the issue. The same goes for breaking up with someone via MySpace bulletin rather than being an adult and breaking it off in person.
We are in an era when everyone thinks their opinion deserves to be heard loud and clear, whether or not the opinion is of any actual worth. If we disagree with someone’s decisions or values, we feel obligated to force them to listen, through mass text or Facebook messages or, in a more extreme case, through death threats.
Whether we believe Suleman acted unethically, stupidly or irrationally, the action has been made. California is investigating the doctor who implanted her with six embryos in hopes of creating more stringent regulations.
It is clear that Suleman needs help. I believe it is humanly impossible for one person to care for 14 children younger than age 7. And her repeated claim that once she begins working as a child psychologist, she will have money to care for the children reveals her ignorance. As a mother of 14 without any support from a spouse or her parents, who reiterate they refuse to help anymore, she will not be able to balance a full-time job.
As a friend pointed out, what do the death threats accomplish? The death of Suleman will solve nothing. In fact, it makes it certain that California will have to raise the children, using taxpayers’ money.
Will California step in and help her—either financially through
welfare or through child services? It seems very likely. But death threats are not the appropriate way to deal with this problem.
Write your representative to push for more stringent regulations for fertility doctors or vent to your roommate, but please, don’t write death threats.