Should Childbirth Be Legislated

On my tour of the blogosphere I came across some posts that were less than complimentary about these people. One of them said that childbirth should be legislated. More on that in a moment.
Arkansas couple welcomes 17th child

LITTLE ROCK, Ark.—It's a girl—again—for the Duggars. Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar welcomed their 17th child, and seventh daughter, into the world Thursday.
Apparently the Duggars are more well known than I would have guessed. Discovery Health has a website devoted to them where you can learn all sorts of stuff about the family such as the mother for a total of 10.5 years of her life.

I have to admit that I have a hard time with the idea of 17 children in one family. Certainly it is not my place to tell people how to live, but there are some valid concerns about having such a large family. In my mind the two biggest are financial and emotional support.

The Discovery site says that the Duggars are debt free. That is great, but it doesn't really answer a lot of questions. Some of those are going to be lifestyle questions and as a result they are subjective.

For example, I don't know what kind of vacations they take or even if they go on any. I don't know how they clothe their children. I don't wear designer clothes and could care less, but that is important to some people.

But I have to wonder about their education. Are they all going to public school? How are they going to cover college fees? What about their health care?

Still to me there is a bigger question than these, how can the parents find time to spend with the kids. There are only so many hours in the day and many of those are taken by work/school responsibilities.

Now I am not in favor of legislating how many children a family can have. That is one of those decisions that should be left to the couple, but there does come a point where I can't help but wonder if people are really pushing the envelope a bit.

What do you think?


Anonymous said...

"In my mind the two biggest are financial and emotional support."

spoken like a person who doesn't have a first thought is how it seems abusive to ones body to birth so many children

then I reslize the older kids help raise the younger kids- iot's like a kid farm there...
and then
I ask
are they on welfare?
and is thier quality of life similar to a foster child in a group home?
out of 17 kids, how many are mean bullies? how many are caregivers...what happens when they get sick...etc...
and again

Jack Steiner said...

spoken like a person who doesn't have a first thought is how it seems abusive to ones body to birth so many children

I don't worry about that because the article makes it clear that this is her choice.

Stacey said...

The husband's it really Jim Bob?

Anonymous said...

there's choice and then there's choice
if a woman is coerced or told god will lover her based on how many children she cranks out...if a woman has her entire identity wrapped around her child bearing ability....etc etc
if she is told god doesn't want her to use birth controlor refuse her husband...
lots of if's i know

17 children in this day and age
is just ~red flag~ hill

Anonymous said...

oops lover was a typo
love was meant.

and control or

Jack Steiner said...

there's choice and then there's choice

Talk about a negative outlook on things.

Friar Yid (not Shlita) said...

I've seen shows on them on TLC. It's interesting, the shows tend to downplay their Christianity in favor of showing them as super-happy people all the time, but apparently they're a little weirder than that. They're part of the Quiverfull movement, which seems more than a little creepy to me, especially combined with the home-schooling. Who do these kids interact with? What do they do for education once they get older? I'm just concerned that this is going to be limiting their kids' options in a significant way. (Oh, and the fact that in one show the father says he bought an extra-large plot of land so all their kids can build their own houses there when they get older. Creepy!)

As far as debt, my girlfriend pointed out that being debt-free is great, but having NO debt means you're incapable of building up credit. The Duggars are lucky in that they've figured out a way to be self-sufficient, but the thought of running that large a household without a real safety net makes me a little worried.

Legislate it? Can't. But it's a little unfortunate TLC is so damn cutsey about the whole thing. (Though I admit I'd be interested in them profiling a Haredi family.)

Alice said...

I've seen the show about them, and while I have very little in common with them, I didn't see anything that really bothered me. Clearly the kids don't get the same type of parental attention that kids get in regular families. However, they seem to do a better job with their 17 than many parents do with one or two. Wait, when they all wear the same color shirt, that pisses me off. But besides that...

Kol Ra'ash Gadol said...

Actually, more than the parents, I'm worried about the daughters. It might be mom's choice to belong to a weirdo cult like Quiverfull, but those daughters didn't get a choice, and I'll bet they're doing a lot of the childcare while being "homeschooled."

Jack Steiner said...


I was being a bit tongue-in-cheek about legislating it, but sometimes you wish that some people never had kids.


Those are excellent questions.


I am certain that they are better parents than many, but I still wonder about it.


I can't imagine that the situation is any different than you describe.

Another meshugannah mommy said...

From what I understand, the family homeschools their children. Each new child is assigned a "buddy" who is responsible for their particular sibling. Moreover, the kids all have "jurisdictions," be it cooking, laundry, etc.

And, yes, the husband is rellay Jim Bob.

Michael said...

I think that's just way to many kids.

Jack Steiner said...


I read that too. Still doesn't make me any more comfortable.




I hear you.

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