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...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!