Sunday, August 05, 2007

What Western Society Thinks Of Fertility (And Children)

No doubt about it—the Duggars have been exercising their (God-given) gift of fertility AGAIN.

The San Francisco Chronicle carries the story…along with 333 comments to date. The story appears below; the ten most recommended comments appear after the story.


Arkansas Couple Welcomes 17th Child

By JILL ZEMAN, Associated Press Writer

Friday, August 3, 2007

(08-03) 07:56 PDT Little Rock, Ark. (AP) --

It's a girl — again — for the Duggars. Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar welcomed their 17th child, and seventh daughter, into the world Thursday.

Jennifer Danielle was born at 10:01 a.m. at Saint Mary's Hospital in Rogers, Ark., the Duggars said in an interview. Jennifer weighed 8 pounds, 8 ounces and arrived five days after Michelle's due date.

Less than 30 minutes after giving birth, the Duggars already were talking of having more.

"We'd love to have more," Michelle said, adding that the girls are outnumbered seven to 10 in the family. "We love the ruffles and lace."

Jennifer joins the fast-growing Duggar brood, who live in Tontitown in a 7,000-square-foot home. All the children — whose names start with the letter J — are home-schooled.

The oldest is 19 and the youngest, before Jennifer, is almost 2 years old.

"We are just so grateful to God for another gift from him," said Jim Bob Duggar, 42, a former state representative. "We are just so thankful to him that everything went just very well."

Jennifer joins siblings Joshua, 19; John David, 17; Janna, 17; Jill, 16; Jessa, 14; Jinger, 13; Joseph, 12; Josiah, 11; Joy-Anna, 9; Jedidiah, 8; Jeremiah, 8; Jason 7; James 6; Justin, 4; Jackson, 3; Johannah, almost 2.

The family includes two sets of twins.

Michelle Duggar said that Joshua, Janna, Jill and Jessa were at the hospital, but that the rest of the family planned to visit their new sister later Thursday.

Michelle Duggar said she started feeling contractions Wednesday night and went to the hospital at about 5 a.m. Thursday.

"It actually went fast," she said. "I guess once I started progressing, it went within 30 minutes."

Jennifer was born via a VBAC — or vaginal birth after Caesarean, Jim Bob Duggar said.

The Duggars have been featured on several programs on cable's Discovery Health Network. The next special, the Duggar Family Album, is scheduled to air next month, Jim Bob Duggar said.

Among the "fun facts" listed on Discovery Health's Web page devoted to the Duggars: A baby has been born in every month except June; the Duggars have gone through an estimated 90,000 diapers, and Michelle, 40, has been pregnant for 126 months — or 10.5 years — of her life.


On the Net:

Duggar family Web site:

Discovery Health site:


Below are the top 10 comments, rated by other readers who agreed with the comment.

The comments are very telling of society’s attitudes towards God’s gift of fertility, or the value of children, or the institution of the family, or our concepts of sacrifice and selfishness, or God Himself and the Christian faith. Note the repeating theme of birth “control,” i.e. contraception.

One wonders if even a small fraction of individuals in our society see any connection between such “reproductive rights” and the demographic tsunami heading our way? These comments, along with a good deal of their barbaric vitriol, really amount to a cocktail of prejudice against the Unborn and helps to explain why there is such support for legalized child murder. They add up to about the same conclusion reached by a columnist when the Duggars announced their 16th child.

#1 Comment—recommended by 83 other readers

"This could be called "binge birthing". Ridiculous. These are the most selfish people I've ever seen."

#2 Comment—recommended by 79 other readers

"Dear Mrs. Duggar: If you are going to be in the public eye you should probably do something about your 80's gang member hairstyle. I know you are usually pregnant and that your hair doesn't fall out aas much when you are with child but that doesn't mean an occasional trip to Supercuts should be out of your realm of affordability. When we channel surf we sometimes see you on the discovery channel and--your hairstyle is like a pimple we are dying to pop. Secondly--how can you properly love 17 children? A teenaged sibling babysitter is never going to be as loving or nurturing as mom. I'd rather have a mom than a "little buddy" Thirdly---stop raping our planet. You may look harmless with your cute little performing children who you have trained so well--but regardless they still create waste. Fourth---God doesn't decide to "give" you a child. Take control of your fertility (you're over 40 and at risk of Down's). Stop doing the nasty before ovulation, Mr. and Mr's Duggar! Ugh."

#3 Comment—recommended by 39 other readers

"This is the most immoral, selfish, and destructive couple about which I've ever heard. Statistics are overwhelming, the more children in a family the greater the neglect and abuse and the poorer the outcome s and more miserable the lives of those children. There is an inverse relationship between quality and quantity with children. Parents who have more children than they can care for doom those children to a life of agony, poverty, disease, unhappiness, and failure. These people should have been sterilized long ago."

#4 Comment—recommended by 39 other readers

"I would hate to be one of their kids OR one of the older kids that ends up acting like a parent when they are a teenager, taking cares of the younger ones."

#5 Comment—recommended by 39 other readers

"I just don't understand why this is a news story. If some RIDICULOUS family in Ark. is popping them out like Pez I don't want to know about it. Other than inspiring more volunteer work at Planned Parenthood. As the oldest of 8 I am convinced that those who have so many do it so they don't have to really parent any of them. It all just gets diffused in the day to day grind of feeding and cleaning. The Duggers freakish Stepford like affect and ludicrous middle ages approach to family planning is not an example of America in the 21st century. Also I'm sure they have no plans to pay for college - I know my parents didn't!!!! Watching the shows I truly wonder how that 7000 sq foot house was finished and decorated by a decorator to the 9's. Perhaps boycotts of the companies that are providing them welfare for the sake of a mention on the show is in order."

#6 Comment—recommended by 31 other readers

"I can hardly wait until Nos. 7, 11 and 13 become serial killers. Given that ma and pa are such arch republicans, maybe they think their god is telling them to build a christian army to fight the growing Muslim peril. Or maybe they are just both nuts."

#7 Comment—recommended by 29 other readers

"That child must have shot out of the mother like a missle. And they want more. This is not a family, it's a human bakery."

#8 Comment—recommended by 25 other readers

"And who are you people to say how many kids a married couple should and shouldn't have? We accept gays, les, bi, people of color, etc, here in the bay area but not those who have "too many"? I see why the rest of the country laughs at us."

#9 Comment—recommended by 23 other readers

"What is wrong with these people. I have watched their shows on TLC and feel sorry for the kids. I wonder how they are able to afford feeding these 17 kids. Do they get assistance from the State or Fed? I think that its time to put your pants back on Mom and Dad Duggar."

#10 Comment—recommended by 19 other readers

"This, from the same state that brings us a 67-foot-tall statue of Christ, known as "Christ of the Ozarks" (how about Okie Christ, or maybe Hillbilly Jesus, for short). The joke around Eureka Springs, AR (one of the only thinking sectors in the entire state, by the way) is this. After its construction, the FAA called its proprietors to remind them that, at 70+ feet, the statue presented an obstacle for air traffic and had to be marked with a red blinking beacon. The proprieters claimed to do so would be sacrilege. The FAA responded that not doing so would be a federal crime. Many in the area offered compromise suggestions, such as "Why not a thorny crown of red lights?" In the end, the proprieters decided to reduce the statue to under 70 feet by removing its feet. The end result is a 67-foot, footless Christ. I don't know if this story is true, but it is humorous. And it explains a lot -- like why some religious nut morons would pump out 17 puppies. It is, after all, God's will...."

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At 6:40 PM, Blogger The classy librarian said...

You know I am a prolife woman. I have worked in the prolife movement in Canada for many years, I am against contraception, abortion and euthanasia but I really wonder at the wisdom of having 17 children. I am not concerned from the point of view of the environment, or overpopulation. My concern lies with the ability of the parents to truly be parents to all 17 children, especially the younger members. Years ago I read an article on a Catholic family with 22 children. What really surprised me was the comments from the children. The parents were very happy to have had each and every one of their children. However, the older children (all were now adults) stated they felt very burdened by having to "raise" their younger siblings and the younger children poignantly indicated that they turned to the older siblings rather than their parents. Some of the younger children stated they barely knew their parents.
I think as prolifers we can get caught up in this whole idea of tons of babies. But that's not necessarily what God's asking of us. I believe He asks us to use our intellect to discern what's best for us and our families. And yes, we do need to be much more open to having more than 2 or 3 children.
A hundred years ago, many women gave birth to a large number of children, only to have 3 or 4 survive. I certainly think 6 or 8 or even 10 children are a reasonable number to raise as a large family. But I wonder at the wisdom of 17 or more.

At 10:04 PM, Blogger ELA said...

Hi CL,

It's not likely our pro-life work will convince parents to have 17 children...nor is that the aim of pro-lifers! I suspect families of 19 will always be a rarity.

However, that's a decision for parents alone to make. Personally I believe parents who in good conscience before God choose to allow Him to entirely dictate their family size, without interference, will come out on the right side of things.

As you note though, there may be challenges for some of the children in such a scenario but I suspect the lessons learned in self sacrifice and discipline make for better children and a stronger society than we currently see.

The Holy Scriptures ALWAYS speak of the blessings of children, without limits or reservations! I think we can trust God to prove Himself true to His words.

Just a grandpa's opinion though. :)


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