Is This Right? Who Has the Right to Say?

A mother of octuplets, one already gone, says God has blessed her

One baby? Fine. Twins? Surprise. Triplets? How nice...I think. Quadruplets? Gulp. Quintuplets? In the range of five babies and beyond, we enter a realm of fascinated horror, sublimated into sentimentality. We call the Guinness Book of World Records and the local TV news. If P.T. Barnum were here, we'd alert him; the circus loves biological anomalies, in the way that it cherishes those stunts in which eight clowns emerge from a Volkswagen.

But the intimate reality--what could be more intimate?--poses a sequence of haunting questions that ascend to the metaphysical. The womb is a very small apartment, and overcrowding creates...

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