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by Caitlin Burke

Here is a sampling of what readers think of the McCaughey septuplets and the issues their birth has raised. (See Notes from the Editors.)

"I have just watched the Dateline coverage of the Iowa septuplets, and been moved to tears. My view is that nobody gets to vote about an issue like this who has not experienced the harrowing ordeal of infertility and the constant ache to have a child. Even amongst this group there will be different views but at least the fertile world does not get to force their moralistic and judgemental views on anyone that cannot have a child the in "normal" way. The choice to turn to "assisted" conception, taking the risk of multiples to increase your chance of conceiving one, and selective reduction are extremely personal and are decisions that the couple involved have to make for themselves, without the condemnation of the rest of the world. I whole-heartedly support the Iowa couple who made their personal choices with the best intentions and faith they could. I hope all of their children continue to do well and that they will find the happiness they wanted."


"God had something to with this. I think he picked the right family. A history of the family...they have large family and great faith. I can't think of a better family to pick."


"When I saw the profile on this couple on the news, and found out where they were living, and what the husband did for a living and how much money he made, all I could feel was disgust for the parents and sympathy for the babies. And the thing that really made me choke was listening to those two yammer on and on about their faith in God! Cripes, people, God didn't have anything to do with this -- it was a society that considers couples 'weird' for choosing to live child-free, that and lots of really good drugs.

"When I saw the McCaugheys' beaming faces on the cover of Newsweek (with Mrs. McCaughey heavily touched-up in Photoshop, apparently) with the headline "We Have Our Faith In God", I thought they might as well have printed a headline that said, "We're profoundly supersitious", or "We're selfish and ignorant", or "We're dumb as a box of rocks". The guy's working a shit job for shit wages, his wife isn't bringing home any money at all, they just went and had seven babies on top of the child they already have, and they say they "Trust in God". Jeezus H. Christ."


"This couple has just saddled themselves with a nearly impossible financial, logistical and social burden, and they're just happy as clams about it. I'd like to see a follow-up story in about twenty years, after the little darlings have had a chance to be neglected and abused and wind up drug-addicted, in deep therapy, or beaten by one or both of their parents. I'd also like to check in, in a few years, on what's happening with the already existing daughter, the odd one out, now currently known as 'who?'"


"I think this whole episode says something about the state of mainstream media; here's this couple of religious freaks, the mother slugs down fertility drugs and gives birth to far more babies than a human female was designed to bear, and the media, without questioning any of the medical or ethical issues involved, proceeds to gush and fawn mindlessly over them. It's as if they assume these issues aren't worth our attention and that the media -- and we, as a nation -- would rather just gaze upon the Holy McCaughey Septuplets with a collective 'awwwwwww.'"

Thanks to all the readers who shared their feedback with The Net Net!

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