Cultural Revolutions

Recent Run of Multiple Births

"Eight is Enough" was a popular television show, but can eight be too many when they come at one time, as they did recently to a Nigerian couple in Texas?

Professional pro-lifers have praised the courage of mothers who, faced with real threats to their health or the health of their unborn children, have rebuffed the modern medicine men offering "selective reduction." Nevertheless, the recent and unprecedented run of multiple births may be less an occasion for pro-life euphoria than an opportunity for Christians to reflect on what they mean when they say that they respect life. Christians should have found the circus surrounding the birth of the McCaughey septuplets a little unsettling when Mr. McCaughey declared that there would be no more McCaugheys since he had had himself sterilized. (Of course, even before Mr. McCaughey's announcement, it would have been reasonable to question the judgment, if not the motives, of a couple who already had a child, yet still sought aggressive fertility therapy.)

Respect for life means more than believing that abortion and infanticide are murder. A complete respect for life requires a reverence for the creative forces that cooperate to bring children into the world: the will of God and the conjugal love of a man and his wife that unites the couple and (at least potentially) gives rise to new life.

Artificial contraception separates these two natural qualities...

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