Monday, February 2, 2009

The Ethics of the Octuplets

Last week I tried to write a post about the ethics of the octuplets after someone on Jezebel wondered if you're pro-choice, does that mean that you think a woman is allowed to do anything she wants with her body? Even if what she wants is to have eight embryos transferred? My answer was no, it's not an ethical choice. I got all hot and bothered when writing, so, in an unusual fit of restraint, I didn't post what I'd written. But a week late, I read what Lisa Belkin wrote. She also thinks the decision to transfer eight embryos was wrong. And she's (as always) very clear about it.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for writing what you wrote. This story pushes my buttons in so many ways, starting with the picture of that huge, triumphantly grinning health care team (when so many other people these days have little or no access to health care). For some reason a comparison with Wall St. bonuses comes to mind. Arggggghhhhh!
Lizi

roni said...

As usual, you have a calm take on such a hot-button issue. Personally, I am beyond upset about the medical ethics and personal ethics of the octuplets and don't think the medical team should be making the media rounds talking about their "triumph." Lizi is right--this is a misguided way to spend $4 million when so many go without basic healthcare.

Robin Aronson said...

I absolutely agree. I missed a lot of the coverage of the birth -- I miss a lot of coverage of most things...but surgeons grinning after delivering 8 babies by C-Section shows a kind of extreme-sports approach instead of a sober "we were lucky." It's like that whole attitude pervades medicine- Dude! Look what we can do! When really, so what? Those babies will need a lot of help now and down the line...and as you've pointed out, when so many need so much....the transfer of those embryos does feel a little like wall st bonuses -- short term, no thought to consequences...clearly i could go on and on....

Anonymous said...

...just gotta have more more more...too much is not enough...outlandish assumptions of entitlement...
Yeah, I could go on also...but getting too riled up again...time to think about something else....
Lizi

Robin Aronson said...

I think this subject touches on how we think about health care in general and reproductive medicine in particular and that is that just because something can be done, it can be done...and we're entitled to it working, when really, with medicine, it's all practice and we're damn lucky when things go well. Eight babies at one shot, that's not going welll...many could i go on and on...i think my next post should probably be about knitting...