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Monday, October 12, 2009

At First It Was Hard To Feel Sorry For Them

Posted by on Mon, Oct 12, 2009 at 7:58 AM

Thomas and Amanda Stansel were having trouble conceiving so they opted to undergo fertility treatments. Hospitals, doctors, hormone shots, sperm injected directly into Mrs. Stansel's uterus. And Mrs. Stansel wound up pregnant—with six fetuses. Their doctors urged them to "reduce," or selectively abort, some of the fetuses or risk losing them all. It was hard to feel sorry for them when I read this...

The Stansels rejected Dr. Grunert’s advice and, since then, their vision of a family has collapsed into excruciating loss: the deaths of four children after their premature births on Aug. 4, including one who died late Sunday night. The two other infants remain in neonatal intensive care, their futures uncertain.

“I feel like we bonded with all of them, the short time they were here,” Mr. Stansel said. “We were able to hold them before they passed away.”

And it was really hard to feel sorry for them when I flipped the paper over and saw the picture of the Stansels that was under the fold: they're posing with the casket containing the remains of three of their children—and they couldn't look more pleased with themselves. And then I read the rest of the story and I wanted to kill the Stansels with my bare hands...

When Dr. Grunert discovered that Mrs. Stansel was carrying multiple fetuses, he handicapped her odds of delivering six healthy infants at practically zero. Eliminating some of the fetuses would give the others the best chance for survival....

For the Stansels, the decision was influenced by their membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The church generally opposes abortion. After learning that Mrs. Stansel was carrying sextuplets, the Stansels decided to meet with church elders and consult with a reduction specialist.

“It just never felt right,” Mr. Stansel said. “We prayed many nights. A lot of sleepless nights. Originally we thought we might do the reduction. We chose to carry all six and, we believe, let God do what he’s going to do.”

What? If you were gonna let God do what He's going to do, you shouldn't have sought out fertility treatments. Here's what God was gonna do: God was gonna make you infertile. God did that, actually, and then you thwarted God's plan for you—that you be infertile—and availed yourselves of the latest medical technologies and sought the help fertility specialists. Then you ignored the advice of your doctors and refused to reduce the number of fetuses you were carrying and now four premature infants have died in great pain and two more will very likely die—but, hey, you'll get another smug, self-satisfied, just-letting-God-do-what-he's-gonna-do photo op out of it, so it's not a total loss. And it's all material for the blog you're writing about "your journey," and there'll probably be a book deal in it for you when it's all over ("Thom & Amanda Minus 6").

Mrs. Stansel delivered the sextuplets on Aug. 4, about 14 weeks premature. The babies were born so early that no medical care would have been rendered unless the parents requested it.

Dr. Jarriel, the neonatologist, said the survival rate of babies at the stage they were born was about 60 percent to 65 percent. If they survived, the Stansels were told, there was a 100 percent chance that they would have problems. But the couple asked the hospital for the most extraordinary measures to save them.

“We wanted to do all we could for them, to save them,” Mr. Stansel said.

“Give them that chance,” Mrs. Stansel added. “That’s the doctors giving their statistics. God doesn’t work in statistics.”

Four of their six babies are now dead. So it looks like God does work in statistics after all—if He didn't, Mrs. Stansel, then the world would be an entirely random/miraculous place and we wouldn't be able to make any predictions about anything and there wouldn't be stats about anything. Jesus.


Comments (92) RSS

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kristinbell 1
I wonder if God is going to pay for the medical bill.
Posted by kristinbell on October 12, 2009 at 8:08 AM · Report this
Awesome rant, Dan. You're totally right. People like this make me fucking sick.
Posted by Confluence on October 12, 2009 at 8:08 AM · Report this
Zoroastronomer 3
I have been saying the same thing since the Mccaughy (sp?) sextuplets or octuplets or however many they popped out. If you are going to a fertility clinic, do NOT thank god for it, thank the godless, evolution preaching scientists.
Posted by Zoroastronomer on October 12, 2009 at 8:10 AM · Report this
douchus 5
I want to be a doctor when I grow up, purely so I can 'play God'. And by 'play God', I mean that I want to be an abortionist... just like Him! Yay!
Posted by douchus on October 12, 2009 at 8:13 AM · Report this
Fifty-Two-Eighty 6
Looks like you and I were both reading that story at the same time. Looks like we both had the same reaction to it, too.

We probably had different reactions to the story about the six-year-old with the Boy Scout knife, though.
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty on October 12, 2009 at 8:14 AM · Report this
This sounds like an episode of Southpark. The one where Kenny dies playing his PSP and they fight to keep his Brain-dead body on life support. An angel comes down to earth to see why Kenny's soul has been ripped back to earth and away from their plans to use him in heaven to command God's army and they overhear an argument where some people are protesting removing the feeding tube because it "is playing god". The angel screams "No, you were already playing god by reviving him from death and putting him on life-support!"

It's the same situation now. Religious idiots start out playing God- and yet for some reason use "you shouldn't play god" as an excuse to do something they SHOULD do just because it makes them or their community squeamish. These two idiots are monsters.
Posted by Aedan Robinson on October 12, 2009 at 8:21 AM · Report this
Loveschild 8
Seems like someone got up in a foul mood today. It's so early in the morning to be hating on Heterosexuals-nature itself and people of faith, Savage. Nature (procreation, not your strong subject) is a miraculous process that we as humans are never going to fully understand we can just admire it and let the process invented by the one who created us take its course. It has worked for millennia, its why you're here, you just have refused to take part of it and that's why you cannot understand it.
Posted by Loveschild on October 12, 2009 at 8:28 AM · Report this
Loveschild- you are an idiot. An idiot who apparently didn't even read the article or the quotes Dan provided. Then again that's nothing new.
Posted by Aedan Robinson on October 12, 2009 at 8:30 AM · Report this
So nature should take its course where I'm concerned, but not where these two are concerned?

And I let it take its course where I'm concerned: homosexuality is a kind of infertility, and so... we adopted instead. Not that I don't inseminate the boyfriend at every opportunity, but so far... haven't gotten him pregnant. Statistics tell me that I'm unlikely to get him pregnant, but God doesn't work in statistics so I'm going to keep on trying.
Posted by Dan Savage on October 12, 2009 at 8:31 AM · Report this
Packeteer 12
@8 Just because you do not understand nature does not mean nobody else does. This is a common argument again evolution. Just because a church going Wal-Mart greeter does not understand a complex and mature scientific theory does not mean it is false.

It was common knowledge that humans could never fly and would never fly for thousands of years. It was also well known that sickness was a demon inside you and an infection was a near death sentence. Look at where we are today and then tell me again what we cannot ever accomplish.
Posted by Packeteer on October 12, 2009 at 8:36 AM · Report this
Scholar of violence 13
Proof positive that God is one cold hearted son-of-a-bitch with a dark and depraved sense of humor.
Posted by Scholar of violence on October 12, 2009 at 8:37 AM · Report this
My sister's daughter passed away after being born 16 or 17 weeks early, so I know (second-hand) the pain of losing a child you were so looking forward to, and being a woman, it would be hard for me to decide to "reduce" my pregnancy. That being said, if having children was that important to me, I would do everything in my power (short of meeting with batshitcrazy mormon morons) to ensure I had a safe pregnancy and at least one healthy infant. I'd also consider how many children my husband and I could afford to have. 3 healthy babies is MUCH better than 4 deceased and 2 hanging-on-by-a-thread ones. Choosing not to reduce was incredibly selfish of them.

I agree with Dan: you can't have it both ways. If you're going to seek out medical assistance for something, you need to listen to your doctors when they tell you what you need to consider to have healthy children.
Posted by Nikki in MN on October 12, 2009 at 8:40 AM · Report this
Packeteer 17
Here is another good/funny link about the intervention of god into science and health care.…

Using the argument we should not "play god" is so full of logical and rhetorical fallacies it makes my head spin. If we should leave it all to god why don't I lay in bed all day being a good human being and expect god to either keep me fed or let me die as is his plan?
Posted by Packeteer on October 12, 2009 at 8:43 AM · Report this
attitude devant 18
Oh God, these waiting-on-a-miracle people make me tired. How about using the miraculous brain She gave you to think critically? How about really listening to the Repro-Endo guy when he tells you that your fertility therapy carries a huge risk of multiples? How about thinking for yourself instead of consulting the church Elders?
Posted by attitude devant on October 12, 2009 at 8:46 AM · Report this
@14 The "Left" here would want to save some of the Stansel fetuses, by actually giving them a medical chance of healthy survival, after the uncountable thousands of dollars the Stansels spent on fertility treatments. The doctors also wanted to allow the Stansels to have healthy children.

It was Mr. and Mrs. Stansel who chose to kill their babies. Literally and absolutely. They were told they had an extremely small chance of survival, and 0.0% chance of a healthy survival. They chose to bring 6 infants into the world just so they could watch them die in pain.

It's a choice, and I wouldn't try to bar them from doing it by law. But I can think that the choice they made was tragic.
Posted by lymerae on October 12, 2009 at 8:46 AM · Report this
Womyn2me 20
Just goes to show you, dont fuck with God. If He decides you are not good parent material, he will kill off any babies you try to sneak in. He ain't no earthy-crunchy whitelighter, that christian god.
Posted by Womyn2me http://http:\\ on October 12, 2009 at 8:47 AM · Report this
God "created" (and by "created" I mean made the spunk that we all evolved from) us with minds of our own. Free will is what it's all about. Why, then, if it's "God's plan" for someone to not have children, do they turn to Western medicine (those agnostic bastards!) for assistance and then turn around and balk at the same kind of medicine that helped them conceive a child and claim these doctors are "playing God" whenever they do something these batshitcrazy nutburgers don't like? Like I said before - you can't have it both ways! You either take the good with the bad or you get none at all. (Hey, wasn't that somewhere in the Book of Revelations?)
Posted by Nikki in MN on October 12, 2009 at 8:48 AM · Report this
What I don't get is that they went a medical route (and were allowed to do so irresponsibly) when they could have just adopted had probably had a positive impact on the life of a needy child.

It seems like allowing people to try to carry unnaturally high numbers of embryos to term is a bad idea. Can't they allow them to divide, separate them, implant 1-2 and freeze the rest for do-overs if the first round doesn't take?
Posted by carrma on October 12, 2009 at 8:54 AM · Report this
raindrop 23
The sensible decison would be to reduce, but they were hoping for a miracle - and that's their choice (reproductive rights and all) to make.
Posted by raindrop on October 12, 2009 at 8:57 AM · Report this
14 - How is your comment relevant to the story? They chose to get pregnant using fertility treatments. They chose to ignore doctors who wanted to make sure they were left with at least one healthy child (which is what they wanted, right?). They chose to let nature take its course, so they chose the potential suffering of losing (probably) most, if not all, of their children. How does this have anything to do with abortion? If anything, reducing the pregnancy is the pro-life way to go, considering most of the children didn't live anyway.
Posted by Nikki in MN on October 12, 2009 at 8:57 AM · Report this
Loveschild 25
10 There was a measure of irresponsibility here on the part of the prospective parents, there's no question about that. It could've been handled in a more measured way but trying to imply that since they were having fertility problems they should've avoided medical help is total nonsense. A man and a woman as a couple are equipped by nature to reproduce, that's the core purpose and basic fabric that allows the existence of humanity. In past times medicinal and other methods were employed to assist those couples having difficulties, now that science is more advanced why should people of faith not make us of them? They're not deviating from God's purpose (hint) and one can easily argue that it has been the Creator Himself who has allowed for the advancement of science in this realm to help those couples who nature has provided with the responsibility and joy of reproduction. You cannot fully understand this if you look at it thru the prism of your lifestyle mr Savage because not even with medical help like Mr and Mrs. Stansel are you or the man you're with can conceive and take part in the miracle of reproduction cause you as people of the same gender are not equipped to do that.
Posted by Loveschild on October 12, 2009 at 8:58 AM · Report this
23 - agreed.
Posted by Nikki in MN on October 12, 2009 at 8:58 AM · Report this
Rob in Baltimore 29
8) You mean you don't fully understand procreation, but for the rest of us, it's basic elementary school biology.
Posted by Rob in Baltimore on October 12, 2009 at 9:00 AM · Report this
We should remove the tax exemption that churches receive and use the funds to pay for stuff like this...
Posted by econoline on October 12, 2009 at 9:02 AM · Report this
Rob in Baltimore 32
25, Your argument is fundamentally flawed. But the advancement of science also created abortion, which would have allowed them to have a healthy child. Now they have 4 dead ones, and 2 others that, if they survive, will be severely handicapped for life.
Posted by Rob in Baltimore on October 12, 2009 at 9:05 AM · Report this
J-Haxx 34
Medical ethics in other countries do not allow for this kind of multiple birth scenario. I had a friend whose doctor would not give her fertility treatments unless she agreed to reduce if she had more than three implant successfully. I agree that the "parents" who conceived essentially just to watch babies die are idiots. Selfish, immoral, idiots; however, the medical profession needs to step up to the plate and stop these events from happening - for the sake of the children.
Posted by J-Haxx on October 12, 2009 at 9:07 AM · Report this
mmennonno 35
I thought the exact same thing when I read this article this morning. Aside from the body count, it's kinda comical.
Posted by mmennonno on October 12, 2009 at 9:08 AM · Report this
John and Kate. Thom and Amanda. Proof that medical technology has far outpaced human intelligence and wisdom. When will these docs learn that implanting a human litter and hoping that most embryos don't take, is a recipe for disaster? Infertile couples like this are going to ensure reduced odds for all, due to their tragically ignorant view that implantation is "natural" and reduction is "murder." Give them a max of two embryos and fuck reality television.
Posted by jeff in pdx on October 12, 2009 at 9:11 AM · Report this
This is so messed up. Why doesn't the sanctity of life ever work in reverse? If you're so pro-life why would you put yourself in the circumstance where you're essentially going to have some of the children die?

As somebody whose watched their child die I can tell you that there is no god, and nothing proves it like watching children die. God didn't want these fucktards to do anything. These people just project their own desires all over the universe and then wear a sanctimonious shit eating grin when it goes wrong because it was part of 'god's' plan.

I hope their kids grow up to ask some very tough questions of mom and dad.
Posted by Donutspal on October 12, 2009 at 9:13 AM · Report this
Oh but that would never fly, 34, because we can't possibly tell people how many children to have! (insert gagging motion here) Why not have some kind of limits on fertility treatments so we don't end up with another Octomom situation?

Also, if they can afford it, why not have as many children as you want? But if you can't, my tax dollars should not be used to support their children. There should be a limit as to how much assistance a family can receive, as well. People can have as many children as they want, but they're only going to get assistance for up to 5 children. Any more than that, and it's their responsibility (as it should be) to take care of them. (MN tried this and it didn't pass. Maybe it's time to try again considering how our tax dollars could be better spent right now)
Posted by Nikki in MN on October 12, 2009 at 9:15 AM · Report this
I'm so sorry for your loss, Donutspal.
Posted by Dan Savage on October 12, 2009 at 9:19 AM · Report this
All I can say is, thank god those dead babies had a mother and a father!
Posted by kingballs on October 12, 2009 at 9:22 AM · Report this
I know how hard it was watching my sister bury her daughter. No one should ever have to do that. My deepest sympathies, Donutspal.
Posted by Nikki in MN on October 12, 2009 at 9:24 AM · Report this
In hindsight, it seems rather obvious why god/evolution would want to prevent these two brainiacs from procreating in the first place...
Posted by UNPAID COMMENTER on October 12, 2009 at 9:26 AM · Report this
It's a pretty good illustration of why the "providence" model of faith (the kind favored by former president G.W. Bush, you'll recall) is so detrimental to good decision-making in general: Every time you reach a difficult juncture where a tough decision is called for, you punt by turning it over into "God's hands" and next thing you know you've path-of-least-resistanced your way into a full-blown crisis. When faced the disastrous results of your unwillingness to make a tough decision back when there were still options available to you, you simply shrug and say "Oh, well, it's God's will" and escape all culpability.

People who run their lives this way should never be trusted with any sort of authority.
Posted by Proteus on October 12, 2009 at 9:40 AM · Report this
attitude devant 49
I followed the link and looked at the photos, and I don't think they so much look happy, Dan, as they look just plain stupid.

Which pretty much explains everything if you ask me. Unfortunately, there is no IQ test required for parents.

One of the things I remember rather grimly from my training days was a lecture from an IVF guy on how to evaluate whether or not lesbian couples seeking IVF would make fit parents. I was incensed and asked the obvious question: what evaluation of his het couples was he doing? None, of course. Sounds like that standard still applies.
Posted by attitude devant on October 12, 2009 at 9:43 AM · Report this
Skeptika 50
This story is disgusting, and I'm sure the "parents", though grieving, are at peace with their decision. After all, they were "consistent" and "pro-life" from beginning to the end, no matter the consequences.

What makes me FURIOUS is that doctors think it's ok to implant more than TWO eggs at a time. I'm sorry, this could have been prevented if we had some damned rules about this. How about ONLY IMPLANTING TWO EGGS??? I'm going to go all caps on everybody.

Of course it will take longer and it will be costlier (and since we're on the topic, how about LIMITING the number of tries to.. I don't know, let's pick a number after which the treatment is to be covered ENTIRELY by the parents), but at least we won't have disgusting repellent morally unacceptable results like this one.
Posted by Skeptika on October 12, 2009 at 9:46 AM · Report this
Max Solomon 51
@34: i think some amurkin fertility clinics insist on agreeing to selective reduction, but then the couples change their minds.

Posted by Max Solomon on October 12, 2009 at 9:51 AM · Report this
schmacky 52
Loveschild, I hope you are a troll. Otherwise, you're the worst kind of fool--sanctimonious as all hell. Please open your eyes and embrace the concepts of reality, causality, and basic human decency at the earliest opportunity.
Posted by schmacky on October 12, 2009 at 9:55 AM · Report this
I'm very sorry for your loss Donutspal.

Posted by genevieve on October 12, 2009 at 9:55 AM · Report this
Here's the thing though: they didn't do IVF, they did intrauterine insemination (doc injects spunk into woman's uterus after taking fertility shots). Lots of times, this ends up with one or two healthy babies, but the downside to this procedure is that this procedure is the leading cause of quadruplets, quintuplets, and sextuplets out of all the fertility treatments (I think I read that right). No matter what, reducing the number of fetuses (whether conceived naturally or with help) is the best option for the mother and the child(ren). It's easier to cope with your active decision of reducing the fetuses for the overall health of the other children than to suffer the loss of a child or several.
Posted by Nikki in MN on October 12, 2009 at 10:01 AM · Report this
attitude devant 56
Skeptika @ 50, look at the NY Times link and Dan's post. This was not IVF. It was fertility drugs combined with insemination, the most common cause of multiples. It's cheaper than IVF, so done more than IVF.
Posted by attitude devant on October 12, 2009 at 10:06 AM · Report this
Posted by Bronwyn on October 12, 2009 at 10:12 AM · Report this
Skeptika 59
Ok, it wasn't IVF. Alright then. What they should do is not offer this treatment to those who have "moral" objections to reducing the pregnancy. Anyone against reducing should not have this treatment. I am seriously angry at this. But I bet they feel morally superior in their great devotion to their god. Tiny carcasses and all.
Posted by Skeptika on October 12, 2009 at 10:13 AM · Report this
Posted by Bronwyn on October 12, 2009 at 10:14 AM · Report this
I just read the article and it's a pretty good one. @50 - in this care, the couple didn't have fertilized eggs implanted. They went the IUI route (injecting sperm into the uterus), which can cause the uterus to release more eggs. Apparently this method, where there is no control of how many fetuses develop is responsible for most of the litters, not IVF. I didn't know that. I also think it's interesting that insurance will often cover this method, because it's cheaper up front, but not the more expensive (but more successful and often ultimately less expensive when you count the repeat tretments and results of OTT multiples) IVF.

I'm torn on the idea of manufactured fertility. I think there should be better controls on who gets it and when (for instance I think if you have even one biological child you should be automatically disqualified), but I am completely non-maternal and have never wanted children.
Posted by genevieve on October 12, 2009 at 10:17 AM · Report this
(sorry it took me a long time to post and people had already pointed out that the Stansels used IUI instead of IVF)
Posted by genevieve on October 12, 2009 at 10:19 AM · Report this
Oh, the mystery of life! Oh wait, we have microscopes now. Eggs. Sperm. It was in all the papers.

Every other mammal on the planet does it, too. Yawn.
Posted by CP on October 12, 2009 at 10:23 AM · Report this
wilbur@work 65
This is why the Mormons pursue biotech as a career as a far higher percentage than any other religious sect. Their stated goal is to repopulate the planet in their image, by having as many babies as possible.

This fact is why we should all fear Mormonia, and do our best to restrict and deflect their plan.
Posted by wilbur@work on October 12, 2009 at 10:35 AM · Report this
At the Stansel's blog, there's some chick going all apeshit defending the couple's "unnatural" choice for how to have a child:

"We ALL do things that are UNNATURAL. We eat UNNATURAL food, we drink UNNATURAL drinks, when we are sick we put UNNATURAL medications in our bodies..... much of the UNATURAL things we do contribute to the many diseases we have today."

I thought the Mormons were all into banning unnatural things? Hello, Prop 8? Consistency?
Posted by Bronwyn on October 12, 2009 at 11:07 AM · Report this
kj 68
I'm totally pro-choice, but I'd never selectively reduce. I also think I'd avoid IUI, since it's so hard to predict. I only learned this after a friend underwent in-vitro (and only had two embryos implated, fyi), but selective reduction requires the parents to identify which embryos/fetuses to destroy and involves injecting them with chemicals to kill them off. I can understand how difficult it would be to look at your potential babies on an ultrasound and pick and choose which one(s) you'll carry to term. That said, I'm pro-CHOICE, so people can make their own decisions about these things.
Posted by kj on October 12, 2009 at 11:27 AM · Report this
I read on her blog that she lost twins before this. I understand the desire to have children and the pain of losing them. What I don't understand is why when she lost twins before, she didn't think that maybe she isn't built to carry more than one child to term? Perhaps she should have reduced to one or two fetuses. That would have given her a much larger chance of having a family.

Even people on their blog are asking them to not try again.
Posted by Nikki in MN on October 12, 2009 at 11:34 AM · Report this
very bad homo 70
I totally agree. Why are so many infertile couples too selfish to consider adoption?
Posted by very bad homo on October 12, 2009 at 11:39 AM · Report this
jimmy 71
As far as I can tell, it's a good thing when six potential Mormons don't make it.

Allah Akbar!
Posted by jimmy on October 12, 2009 at 11:51 AM · Report this
givesgoodemail 73
One hates to be cold about this, but...

The Stansels are proving that Darwin was right: the fit reproduce, and the unfit don't. At the rate the poor Stansel babes are going, this family won't have another generation, and that's not altogether a bad thing.
Posted by givesgoodemail on October 12, 2009 at 12:05 PM · Report this
givesgoodemail 74
@72: "If the pro-life people would make it easier and less costly to adopt..."
It's not the pro-lifers that cause this.
It's the white heterosexual insistence that they only consider adopting healthy, white, Caucasian, newborn babies. It's a huge group of people being selected for a small pool of babies that (usually) force adoption agencies to utilize some sort of restrictive criteria: length of marriage, lack of divorces, minimum income, extravagant fees, etc.
When prospective adoptive families seriously consider children of differing ethnicities, or special needs kids, or non-newborns, they find they move to a much shorter line.
Posted by givesgoodemail on October 12, 2009 at 12:11 PM · Report this
My heart always goes out for mother and child and so I read all articles on the Stansel Hp although being atheist. First thing I asked me: this woman yet lost several babies and suffers illnesses, how is it possible that they risk this pregnancy and that they are overjoyed by a birth in the 22th week? The father said, that all would be a problem of the first week only!! Second thing: why do they name their hp "journey"? They knew, it would be a very short experience, a trip in parenting, just for fun? And then: why are they grining at the coffin? If the two girls survive, these parents will have to realize, that game is over, that they will have to be real parents and this will be difficult without any sense of reality. I hope the girls will develop to individualist with critical minds.
Posted by motheroffive on October 12, 2009 at 12:28 PM · Report this
Totally agree with very bad homo and motheroffive- why dont people just adopt?And why do they smile and look so happy standing by the coffin? If i didnt know it was a coffin i'd think that's a wedding anniversary present or something ,they are so happy!
Posted by Alinka on October 12, 2009 at 2:04 PM · Report this
@76 You jumped the rails when you assumed they were automatically unfit to adopt. From what I can tell of the comment @73, restriction of adoption was never mentioned.

I am of the belief (as I believe 73 was getting at) that nature was giving this couple a very clear sign that they should not have reproduced (and yes, I believe the same thing of gay couples who choose In vitro over adoption.)
Posted by UNPAID COMMENTER on October 12, 2009 at 2:07 PM · Report this
GOD this makes me so angry.
Posted by puddles on October 12, 2009 at 3:02 PM · Report this
kim in portland 80
I'm so sorry for your loss, Donutspal.
Posted by kim in portland on October 12, 2009 at 3:11 PM · Report this
@39: "This is so messed up. Why doesn't the sanctity of life ever work in reverse? If you're so pro-life why would you put yourself in the circumstance where you're essentially going to have some of the children die?"

As a pro-lifer who's turned down vaginal intercourse with a pro-choice chick because I found the risk, even with a condom, to be morally unacceptable, I can assure you that some of us do think these things through. As for the others . . . what can I say? A lot of the people in my camp are morons and hypocrites because a lot of the people in virtually *any* camp are morons and hypocrites.
Posted by christopher on October 12, 2009 at 4:48 PM · Report this
How? How are they smiling with 3 of their babies in a coffin? Jesus Christ... God did the right thing not letting them get pregnant and let's hope they don't go back and get more fertility treatments. Fucking assholes.
Posted by Jersey67 on October 12, 2009 at 4:53 PM · Report this
Chris in Vancouver WA 83
Loveschild, you completely undercut your arguments by defending exceedingly stupid and selfish people just because they're Christians (or pseudo-Christians if that's how you feel about the Mormon Church). Given the same "moral yardstick" (Christian or non-Christian, your choice), would you defend a moral atheist over an immoral Christian? If so, well, that's so nuts that I can't really react to it.
Posted by Chris in Vancouver WA on October 12, 2009 at 5:42 PM · Report this
Hawke 84
@8 (I'm late to the party. Forgive me all)

How is procreating so miraculous?

A penis enters a vagina and after a few seconds (or a few minutes, if the man is lucky), sperm is squirted out and one lucky little bastard gets through the cervix and attaches itself to the woman's egg and the woman gets fatter and fatter for around 9 months and then the melon-sized baby pops out of her tiny vagina and everyone goes AWWWW.

Or a man is not involved at all, beyond squirting some sperm out after a few seconds (or a few minutes, if the man is lucky) and the lesbians get it on with his vial of sperm and make their own shake & bake baby.

Or a single woman takes his little vial of sperm and has her very own kid. Tell me, do you also believe that the earth is 6,000 years old?
Posted by Hawke on October 12, 2009 at 6:02 PM · Report this
Chris in Vancouver WA 85
I have to confess, the "reducing" thing bothers me. You "cull a litter" with animals, not humans. I guess I might be a little bit pro-life. I know, that freaks me out, but it's how I feel.

While the couple are the ones ultimately responsible for this sad, sad mess, you can't completely excuse the medical professionals for not saying "NO!" at an early stage. I suspect that too many doctors today see everything that happens in a doctor's office or a hospital or a clinic as a "medical procedure" without an adequate examination of the ethical and, yes, moral issues involved.
Posted by Chris in Vancouver WA on October 12, 2009 at 6:12 PM · Report this
Chris in Vancouver WA 86
@ 81 - Thank you for your perspective.
Posted by Chris in Vancouver WA on October 12, 2009 at 6:15 PM · Report this
Y.F. Redux 87
For all those who keep saying "Why don't you adopt" to infertile couples, other than Dan, how many of you actually tried adoption? Why expect someone else to do it? There's no law against fertile couples adopting, so why don't you just adopt?

Adoption is hard. Plenty of people would love to adopt but can't because adoption laws are very restrictive. Adoption is expensive: adoption costs $25-50,000 dollars while IVF costs about $8,500-12,000 and generally 3 tries are covered 80-100% by insurance. Adoption can be heartbreaking: 30% of domestic adoptions are disrupted in this country. In other words the bio parents change their mind and demand the kid back. Most children in foster care are not available for adoption. Foster care is supposed to be temporary. It doesn't matter if the bio parents fuck up a thousand times, the kids are probably going to go back to them or another family member. Kids in foster care who are available for adoption may have Fetal Alcohol Syndrome or were exposed to drugs in the womb or traumatized by years of severe neglect abuse. Kids available in state care may have severe emotional, mental, and physical handicaps and all the expensive therapy and medical treatment that goes with them. They may never be able to live independently and medicaid runs out at age 18. How will their adoptive parents get medical coverage for their pre-existing conditions? Did you not think of that? Even if a prospective parent(s) have enough money to support those special needs children, what makes you think they have the training, skills, or temperament to handle a special needs child? Do you?

So kindly stuff your judgmental bullshit about "people who don't adopt are selfish". Chances are you haven't adopted and never will.


p.s. The Stansel's doctor wasn't a complete tool. Before the treatment began he told them the risks and advised them that if the worst case scenario happened they should chose selective reduction. When it came time to inseminate he made sure their wasn't a litter of eggs, only two. When 6 embryos showed up on the ultrasound, he again tried to convince them to reduce. The Stansels chose to follow their religious leaders advice. Those same religious leaders who won't be picking up the medical bills for 4 dead babies and 2 living babies who will likely be vegetables for the rest of their lives. The Stansels are selfish fools but not every one who chooses assisted reproduction is foolish and selfish.
Posted by Y.F. Redux on October 12, 2009 at 6:27 PM · Report this
Y.F. Redux 88
@ Chris in Vancouver,

Unless they're the Octomom's doc, most doctor's avoid multiples at all costs because they know they are extremely high risk and the outcome is likely to be bad. They know people can't/won't reduce when you get the Stansel's situation. Too many people see the "miracle litters" and think they'll get lucky too. From a doctor's perspective it's better to save 3 than kill 6...which is exactly what the Stansel's chose to do. Doctors do selective reduction before the embryos/fetus can feel pain...unlike the Stansel's babies who suffered quite a bit while "God's will" played out. There is nothing "pro-life" about the Stansel's choice.
Posted by Y.F. Redux on October 12, 2009 at 6:35 PM · Report this
So basically these people rejected God's apparent decision to make them infertile and turned to science to conceive, at which point they decided to ditch science and turn to God, and then once the babies were born 14 weeks premature with almost zero chance of surviving they then decided to tell God to fuck off again and ordered the doctors to do everything scientifically and medically possible to prolong the immense suffering of the poor little doomed creatures, instead of just letting them die in peace. And are turning to God to help them get through all of this.

I hate these people so fucking much.
Posted by JenV on October 12, 2009 at 8:22 PM · Report this
kristinbell 90
Really, I don't care about this couple. It isn't against the law to be stupid in the United States. If it was, there would be a LOT more people in jail...probably everyone at some time or another. But, yes, Dan is right in that it is really difficult to have sympathy for people who choose to ignore reality and reality-based decision-making. But, again, I'm sure we are all quite prone to not make intelligent decisions. The world is fucked. We are fucked. The one good thing I see in all this is that people are allowed to be fucktards. The elimination of all fucktards, while tempting, is actually a bad thing.
Posted by kristinbell on October 12, 2009 at 10:02 PM · Report this
Uriel-238 91
Again, I'm going to preach: ectogenesis, people. We need to develop it. We need to make access available to everyone.

Allegedly, Loveschild, et. al. You might laugh now at Dan's inability to reproduce with his man, but we've already worked out how to develop male eggs from sperm (or female sperm from ova), so it won't be long before they'll be able to produce a genetically related little Dan Jr. with a little help from their friends.

Last I checked, incidentally, sex education was presented in middle school, not primary school. And it contained more of just say no! and boys are doctors, girls are nurses and whenever you get curious, remember to think of Jesus than it did anything about what boy parts go into what girl parts to make a baby.
Posted by Uriel-238 on October 12, 2009 at 10:18 PM · Report this
Frau Blucher 92
I'm with you Dan.

I'm so sick of these churchy-types that believe God is the giver of life, yet turn to medical science to produce these litters of kids. The very science that now claims that being gay is not an abnormality.

Just like their Bible verses, they "pick-and-choose" what they want to follow. Be it science or God. If anyone is a human abnormality, it is them.
Posted by Frau Blucher on October 13, 2009 at 5:37 AM · Report this
attitude devant 93
I'm sorry to say (sorry for myself, that is) that I dreamt about the Stansels last night. And I realized where I had seen that stupid smile Mrs. Stansel has before. And I finally found something like compassion for them (although nothing like the compassion I feel for Donutspal).

My experience with Mormon women is that mothering is about the only sanctioned role the church offers. The whole religion is a thinly disguised fertility cult. Family is so huge if you're Mormon that I'm not sure what else there is for this poor girl (and really, she is so childish that I must call her a girl) beyond these miserable pregnancies and their horrific outcomes. And weirdly enough, having had these babies and lost them may be all it takes for her---there's a cornerstone belief among Mormons, dating from the frontier when families were separated by distance, war, epidemics, that families are always reunited in the afterlife. So hey! she's still validated as a good Mormon wife and mother even though her children have died. And so she smiles.

You gotta admit it's pathetic. And I do feel sorry for her.

(Although I still feel sorrier for the kids, and the nursery staff at the hospital who have given their all to try to save them because the Stansels wanted "everything" done in spite of their prematurity, and the taxpayers who are footing the bill.....)

Posted by attitude devant on October 13, 2009 at 8:00 AM · Report this
leek 94
I paged through much of their blog last night and noticed the emphasis on the children having bodies. I don't know anything about Mormon theology but it seems that this notion of the souls having received bodies is all-important. Somehow it made the whole thing even more horrific that this issue particular to their religion (not just the same anti-abortion beliefs of a lot of Christian sects) caused these infants to live their short, painful lives.
Posted by leek on October 13, 2009 at 9:19 AM · Report this
@93 this is sick, but thank you for explaining,i had no idea what a dangerous cult Mormonism is in that regard. NOW i do feel terribly sorry for that woman and how they used her. Of course, she is an adult and is to blame, too, she has her own power of choice and doesnt have to idiotically follow her cult leaders...The whole situation makes one think of "Rosemary's Baby", doesnt it?
Posted by Alinka on October 13, 2009 at 9:38 AM · Report this
@ 87
you are not making any sense, sorry. So you are saying:
"people that don't adopt are not selfish - do you know how expensive those kids are? How often they have special needs? What if they get sick, do you have money for it?"

LOL This is BS, Sir!Your words precisely prove our point! Your own child can be very-very expensive! How do you know your own biological kids wont require all that special medical care, or wont be special needs children?

Adoption is difficult because most want healthy babies, caucasian, and infants only. There are plenty of black babies/kids that nobody wants to adopt.

So nice try, but..dont use pathetic excuses. The fact remains, many people dont want to bother with unwanted children, they want to be parents for selfish reasons and want bragging rights, not really to help a needy child, If they agree to go thru parenting, that'd be only for their own biological kids, that look like them.

I worked( volunteered) in a russian orphanage when i lived there, and worked for a short while for an adoption agency here in States. I know what i am talking about.
Posted by Alinka on October 13, 2009 at 9:50 AM · Report this
@87 - re: your ps. As has been pointed out a few times, the Stansels didn't have ANY embryos implanted. They went the IUI route, where there is no control over how many embryos there will be. Although 6 is rare, most of the litter-sized births from manufactured pregnancies is from IUI, so there was a reasonable expectation that there could be several.

I do agree with you that it asn't the doctor who was the complete tool, though.
Posted by genevieve on October 13, 2009 at 10:25 AM · Report this
is nature's way of saying
some folks should not breed
Posted by coda on October 13, 2009 at 11:18 AM · Report this
Womyn2me 99
so the current body count is 4 really late term abortions and 2 profoundly disabled living children, so far
Posted by Womyn2me http://http:\\ on October 13, 2009 at 5:29 PM · Report this
@98, thanks for that. even though i counted to make sure you had it right ;)
Posted by from_ohio on October 13, 2009 at 5:47 PM · Report this
Can we go back and selectively abort the Stansels?
Posted by steakhaus on October 13, 2009 at 6:13 PM · Report this
Y.F. Redux 102
@ 96,

I'm saying it's a personal choice and whether someone choses adoption or IVF, it's nobody's business but theirs. I was listing reasons why someone couldn't adopt a child not whether they wanted to or not. Many people are 'priced' out of the market. Others are simply not competent to parent a special needs child. More often the draconian adoption rules of state agencies make it impossible for parents to get a child. Fertility treatments are simply more accessible than adoption. That was my entire point.
Posted by Y.F. Redux on October 13, 2009 at 8:50 PM · Report this
"But the procedure the Stansels used is actually the major cause of quadruplets, quintuplets and sextuplets — the most dangerous pregnancies for both mother and children. While less effective than IVF, intrauterine insemination is used at least twice as frequently because it is less invasive, cheaper and more likely to be covered by insurance, interviews and data show." (NYTimes)

After reading this from the original article, how can you feel sorry for those kids' parents. They knew what they were doing. Why is gay marriage so wrong, when exploiting babies actually kills people? Why does god "hate the gays" but love it when parents waste lives like this on a regular basis just to end up on TLC?
Posted by dakoneko on October 13, 2009 at 9:10 PM · Report this
@96 I'm sure you mean well, but choosing to become a parent because you want "to help a needy child" is a bad, bad, bad thing. I cannot count the number of adoption stories that I have encountered where adopted children have been profoundly wounded because they aren't allowed to be their parents children but are instead relegated to being the charity cases of magnanimous adults.

If someone chooses to become a parent (through adoption or any other means), they need to do it because they want to be a parent, not because they want to do some poor little child a favor. Parenthood is not an appropriate venue in which to express such feelings. If said person feels sorry for orphans, there are countless ways for that person to make a positive impact. They can write to their congressmen, donate money to a worthy organization, or volunteer to help out at a local youth center. But they should not NOT, go and adopt a child while thinking about how incredibly moral they are being. They aren't the only one who will be hurt by such actions.
Posted by Lorran on October 13, 2009 at 10:19 PM · Report this
@102 - i would agree with that, sure. But if one is not up to challenges and responsibilities of parenthood they shouldn't become parents at all, adoptive or not. Nobody can guarantee us that our biological children won't present the same challenges, financial burdens and difficulties as adopted ones would have.
Posted by Alinka on October 14, 2009 at 7:37 AM · Report this
I'm amazed at how many people seem to miss the point these people want to listen to God's will only when they feel like it. If it was God's will for them to have children they would have gotten pregnant without help from the medical profession. Or if God provided medical professionals for them to have children, He would also expect them to rely on that expertise. They want the 'have it your way' religion.
Posted by Sue on October 14, 2009 at 12:44 PM · Report this
Early in the comments some clear misconceptions about Mormons were stated.

First of all, the Book of Mormon and church scriptures are absolutely silent about the issue of birth control. Mormons tend to be less radically anti-abortion ( more in favor of its legality in some circumstances rather than an outright ban) and are much more likely in favor of reproductive care than the average christian. This family made an individual and private choice in consultation with their bishop. There is no fixed church policy on this matter and they would not have been punished or reprimanded had they decided otherwise in this case.

Second, someone made a comment about how the church wants more children to pay for tithing to enrich bishops. Almost every single leadership position in the church is run on a volunteer basis. No one gets paid for their time spent laboring in the church. A bishop is a normal member of the community that works full time on top of his ecclesiastical duties. We do have about 100 individuals that are General authorities and are paid as well as a staff that runs the professional church education system. Most of these individuals are independently wealthy from their professional careers ( general authority status is not something one gets it after working hard in volunteer positions in the church for ones whole life) and certainly are not relying on tithing to get by. The church uses money raised by members tithing to build temples and meetinghouses throughout the world as well as for humanitarian assistance and the continuance of its missionary program.

Finally, Mormons are explicitly told not to shun family or to engage in such deplorable practices. That some choose to do so is a tragedy that the church leaders have criticized heavily including most recently at the October General conference this year.
Posted by symphonyofdissent on October 15, 2009 at 1:24 PM · Report this
June 111
I just don't understand why a woman would put herself through all the hormones, pain, risk, and expense of artificially making a baby (IVF, etc.) when she could adopt a healthy baby. People are vain and selfish.
And this is going to sound harsh, but anyone who has a baby in a world that is overpopulated- a world in which there are millions of orphans needing homes- is doing so for purely selfish reasons.
I do recognize that the desire to procreate is instinctual and biological and thus hard to resist, so I don't fault anyone for having their own baby, but it you really want to do a humanity a favor, then adopt a child.
Posted by June on October 15, 2009 at 2:43 PM · Report this
Gus 112
I suppose reduction of Mormon idiots is out of the question?
Posted by Gus on October 15, 2009 at 4:54 PM · Report this
i'm lds. please don't put the church or the church elders in amandas decision to carry six babies to term. having multiples and looking for reality shows is just not what the mormon religion is about. there are millions of mormons in the world....and she only gets 20-30 posts a day on her blog. if we belived in her decision there would be a whole lot more of us showing her and her family support. i just can't agree with the decisions she and thomas made to start a family. medically she knew she couldn't carry one child. yet she pushed it. we live in a world where we want what we want and damn the consequences. i don't mean to sound judgemental but i guess i am so i apologize. i just think of all the wonderful children out there wanting to be adopted. and then i think of the suffering the stansels babies have endured and my heart breaks for them. i'm just concerned that amanda is going to try again....and that is what the rumors mills are saying. if thats the case she really needs an intervention from god, family and her friends. thank you for listening.
Posted by LDS Mom on October 16, 2009 at 10:49 PM · Report this
Wow, the hate here is intense

First, just to get it out of the way, Utah has the highest adoption rate in the country and that includes special needs children. The LDS church actively supports adoption. (the abortion rate there is also far far below the national average)

Second, why are prochoice people so bent out of shape when a woman choses to be a mother and raise her children fulltime? Are you only for choice when its a choice you approve of? I can tell you I know many Mormon women who are very active in careers outside the home.

Third: I am soooo sorry that in the photo of the Stansels with the coffin that they failed to show enough greif. This may be the most horrific of the attitudes displayed here. As mormons, we view the physical life as just a temporary part of existence, therefore death is not the end. Remember, grief is seldom for the dead, but rather for the living. If your understanding (or belief, if you will) is that you will meet up again with your child and that, as an innocent, they are safely in Heavenly Fathers arms, then your attitude might be different too. Mormon funerals are sad affairs as one could expect, but they are tempered with faith and celebrating life as well.

Also, we were made so that man and woman produce offsping. Since infertility is a deviation from the biological norm we can call this an illness, and therefore worthy of medical intervention. The family wanted a single child and didn't ask for six. However, once the six became a reality the situation changed. Put yourself in the family's shoes. How could you chose to kill (accepting this a premise) one of your own children to possibly save another? If you believe as this family did, that a fetus is a human life (it has a heartbeat and brain waves after all) then you should grieve that they are even put in this terrible position. Could you look at a ultrasound and start picking fetuses to die? I can see the mother now..."yeah, thats it, get the one on the left and that one looks like a weak one, abort it too" What sick kind of Sophies Choice is this? And letting someone else chose which fetus to abort does not relieve the moral implications for you. So, the family made the best decision they could. The whole thing is a tragedy.
Posted by JimGa on December 2, 2009 at 12:26 AM · Report this

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