Octo-Mom as a Poster Girl for Opponents of Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Conservative Christians cite Nadya Suleman as a "pro-life" model.

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By Dan Gilgoff, God & Country

In a Fox News Channel debate earlier this week, Americans United for Life President Charmaine Yoest invoked the octo-mom as an example of alternatives to embryonic stem cell research in dealing with excess embryos created through in vitro fertilization. Here's the exchange from Yoest's matchup with Arthur Caplan, director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia:

Fox News Channel: These are embryos from in vitro fertilization cycles that would be discarded otherwise.

Charmaine Yoest: . . . There or other alternatives to experimenting and destroying and killing these embryos. The last time Art and I debated just a few weeks ago we were talking about the octo-mom, where embryos were given the opportunity and they become babies. You have two options here: allow them to develop [to] become babies, or experiment and destroy them.

This caught me off guard. Do conservative Christians opposed to using excess embryos from IVF clinics for stem cell research really want to be citing the octo-mom as a poster girl for their cause? With 14 children and no husband, Nadya Suleman hardly appears to have created the healthful home life that the pro-family movement advocates (her panicked 911 call last week in search of one of her children included suicide threats). She depends on government food stamps to feed her giant brood, which looks reckless both to responsibility-minded cultural conservatives and antigovernment fiscal conservatives. Family Research Council President Tony Perkins has called her a "misguided woman."

But Yoest isn't the first prominent conservative Christian to praise her. Influential antiabortion activist Jill Stanek has written:

. . . it appears Suleman was prompted to have so many embryos implanted and carry them all to term by pro-life principles, which is laudable. No matter what the circumstances of conception, resulting human life is a blessing.

When the bottom line is making sure embryos turn into people, isn't "by any means necessary" the necessary strategy? Even if that means lauding the octo-mom?