This week I heard cries from the left and the right that there should be a law passed to regulate how many eggs may be implanted during IVF treatment. While I question the judgment of a single mother with six children persisting in IVF treatment, leading to eight more children, she has a right to do so.
Do we want to live in a country that tells couples how many children they may have, or try to have, at one time? Do we want government regulation that is motivated by an outlier case? I don't think so.
Liberty is a precious thing. It allows for personal choice with a few exceptions (e.g., murder is not a personal choice we accommodate, nor is assault or battery). Liberty means that people will sometimes make choices that society in general thinks are not good choices, and my sense is that society in general thinks that Nadya Suleman made a bad choice when she continued IVF treatment. But, the beauty of America is that she was FREE to do so.
Ms. Suleman may be ill, as some have suggested, and the clinic that administered her treatment should take a hard look at their screening process to see if perhaps their desire for a sale did not trump their concern for her best interest and that of her children. As the Hippocratic oath instructs, "never do harm to anyone." The clinic could have turned her away, and perhaps should have turned her away, but I do not think that the government should mandate or regulate how many eggs may be implanted in wombs.
I recognize that preserving liberty means that we must engage in self-control, rather than state-control, and so let us rise to that challenge. As Lord Acton said, "Liberty is the prevention of control by others. This requires self-control and, therefore, religious and spiritual influences; education, knowledge, well-being."
As for Ms. Suleman, I hope that the local community and particularly the local religious community rallies to help her as she takes personal responsibility for her actions.