PETA and Octomom, Together At Last!

Always spay and neuter your pets, dearies — that goes without saying. You gotta love PETA for how far they’re willing to go to spread their message (a great message that I fundamentally agree with). But now, according to Treehugger, they’ve gone and hired the Octomom, the woman who looked overpopulation in the face and gave it the finger. Aside from the other ways in which this woman is clearly disturbed (Angelina Jolie-like plastic surgery, interviews that made all of us squirm) the fourteen in-vitro babies say much about her sanity.

One question I haven’t heard tossed around that often in discussions of the Octomom — if she wanted so MANY children, why didn’t she consider adopting or fostering them? As I discuss in Eco-Sex, we in the West rarely think about the ravages of overpopulation. We instead look at what we call the third world and shake our heads, wondering why the impoverished masses continue to reproduce. Perhaps it’s time for Westerners, particularly Americans, to raise our consciousness around this issue. We celebrate (or watch horrified, depending on one’s perspective) “19 Kids and Counting” and loved Jon and Kate until their dysfunction became tabloid fodder. But why?

Don’t get me wrong, please, because some crazy Tea Partier may throw a rock through my window — I’m not advocating enforced sterilization, a one-child policy, or any other law. One place I don’t want the government is in my bedroom. (I love the pro-choice movement’s mantra “Keep Your Laws Off My Body”, even when used in this very different context.) I’m just saying that perhaps it’s time to start having a conversation about how many children we feel we’re obliged to have biologically. Where’s our consciousness before we get married and start pushing out the puppies? Perhaps one of the reasons psychotherapists are so gainfully employed is because a lot of folks have kids “just because it’s what you do”. And umm, perhaps we should look at the divorce rate too. So maybe we consider having two instead of three, if we can’t really afford three. Or maybe we consider having one the old-fashioned way, and adopting the other. Maybe we think about fostering a child whose parents are sick, drug-addicted, or unable to take care of their kids for some other reason. Let’s get creative about the idea of family and make it ever more inclusive.

I love babies. They are gorgeous and they smell delightful, and they are wondrous to behold. I also love sex. But one doesn’t have to lead to the other, necessarily. And the baby that I eventually hold in my arms and raise doesn’t have to issue from my loins. A child is a child is a child.

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