Should Childbirth Be Legislated

On my tour of the blogosphere I came across some posts that were less than complimentary about these people. One of them said that childbirth should be legislated. More on that in a moment.

Arkansas couple welcomes 17th child

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

Apparently the Duggars are more well known than I would have guessed. Discovery Health has a website devoted to them where you can learn all sorts of stuff about the family such as the mother for a total of 10.5 years of her life.

I have to admit that I have a hard time with the idea of 17 children in one family. Certainly it is not my place to tell people how to live, but there are some valid concerns about having such a large family. In my mind the two biggest are financial and emotional support.

The Discovery site says that the Duggars are debt free. That is great, but it doesn’t really answer a lot of questions. Some of those are going to be lifestyle questions and as a result they are subjective.

For example, I don’t know what kind of vacations they take or even if they go on any. I don’t know how they clothe their children. I don’t wear designer clothes and could care less, but that is important to some people.

But I have to wonder about their education. Are they all going to public school? How are they going to cover college fees? What about their health care?

Still to me there is a bigger question than these, how can the parents find time to spend with the kids. There are only so many hours in the day and many of those are taken by work/school responsibilities.

Now I am not in favor of legislating how many children a family can have. That is one of those decisions that should be left to the couple, but there does come a point where I can’t help but wonder if people are really pushing the envelope a bit.

What do you think?

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  1. Jack's Shack August 7, 2007 at 7:19 am


    I read that too. Still doesn’t make me any more comfortable.




    I hear you.

  2. Michael August 6, 2007 at 1:39 pm

    I think that’s just way to many kids.

  3. Mark August 6, 2007 at 12:31 am

    Jack – I know you were being tongue-in-cheek. Remember that line of Keanu Reeves’ in “Parenthood” that ended with “but any butt-reaming asshole can have kids”?

    Makes me think seriously that legislation of SOME kind is long overdue.

  4. Another meshugannah mommy August 5, 2007 at 11:00 pm

    From what I understand, the family homeschools their children. Each new child is assigned a “buddy” who is responsible for their particular sibling. Moreover, the kids all have “jurisdictions,” be it cooking, laundry, etc.

    And, yes, the husband is rellay Jim Bob.

  5. Jack's Shack August 5, 2007 at 9:49 pm


    I was being a bit tongue-in-cheek about legislating it, but sometimes you wish that some people never had kids.


    Those are excellent questions.


    I am certain that they are better parents than many, but I still wonder about it.


    I can’t imagine that the situation is any different than you describe.

  6. Kol Ra'ash Gadol August 5, 2007 at 3:01 am

    Actually, more than the parents, I’m worried about the daughters. It might be mom’s choice to belong to a weirdo cult like Quiverfull, but those daughters didn’t get a choice, and I’ll bet they’re doing a lot of the childcare while being “homeschooled.”

  7. Alice August 4, 2007 at 11:45 pm

    I’ve seen the show about them, and while I have very little in common with them, I didn’t see anything that really bothered me. Clearly the kids don’t get the same type of parental attention that kids get in regular families. However, they seem to do a better job with their 17 than many parents do with one or two. Wait, when they all wear the same color shirt, that pisses me off. But besides that…

  8. Friar Yid (not Shlita) August 4, 2007 at 8:15 pm

    I’ve seen shows on them on TLC. It’s interesting, the shows tend to downplay their Christianity in favor of showing them as super-happy people all the time, but apparently they’re a little weirder than that. They’re part of the Quiverfull movement, which seems more than a little creepy to me, especially combined with the home-schooling. Who do these kids interact with? What do they do for education once they get older? I’m just concerned that this is going to be limiting their kids’ options in a significant way. (Oh, and the fact that in one show the father says he bought an extra-large plot of land so all their kids can build their own houses there when they get older. Creepy!)

    As far as debt, my girlfriend pointed out that being debt-free is great, but having NO debt means you’re incapable of building up credit. The Duggars are lucky in that they’ve figured out a way to be self-sufficient, but the thought of running that large a household without a real safety net makes me a little worried.

    Legislate it? Can’t. But it’s a little unfortunate TLC is so damn cutsey about the whole thing. (Though I admit I’d be interested in them profiling a Haredi family.)

  9. Mark August 4, 2007 at 7:33 pm

    It should be legislated. There are way too many stupid, inconsiderate assholes breeding and raising more stupid, inconsiderate assholes.

  10. Jack's Shack August 4, 2007 at 1:38 am

    there’s choice and then there’s choice

    Talk about a negative outlook on things.

  11. Anonymous August 3, 2007 at 11:05 pm

    oops lover was a typo
    love was meant.

    and control or

  12. Anonymous August 3, 2007 at 11:03 pm

    there’s choice and then there’s choice
    if a woman is coerced or told god will lover her based on how many children she cranks out…if a woman has her entire identity wrapped around her child bearing ability….etc etc
    if she is told god doesn’t want her to use birth controlor refuse her husband…
    lots of if’s i know

    17 children in this day and age
    is just ~red flag~ hill

  13. Stacey August 3, 2007 at 8:56 pm

    The husband’s name…is it really Jim Bob?

  14. Jack's Shack August 3, 2007 at 7:34 pm

    spoken like a person who doesn’t have a first thought is how it seems abusive to ones body to birth so many children

    I don’t worry about that because the article makes it clear that this is her choice.

  15. Anonymous August 3, 2007 at 4:51 pm

    “In my mind the two biggest are financial and emotional support.”

    spoken like a person who doesn’t have a first thought is how it seems abusive to ones body to birth so many children

    then I reslize the older kids help raise the younger kids- iot’s like a kid farm there…
    and then
    I ask
    are they on welfare?
    and is thier quality of life similar to a foster child in a group home?
    out of 17 kids, how many are mean bullies? how many are caregivers…what happens when they get sick…etc…
    and again

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