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Curry: Octuplets story 'touching a nerve'

NBC's Ann Curry answers some of the viewer questions received about her interview with octuplet mom Nadya Suleman.

NBC's Ann Curry answers some of the viewer questions received about her interview with Nadya Suleman, who recently gave birth to octuplets, and was interviewed on TODAY and Dateline.

Question from Kimberly of Tucson, Ariz.: Does Nadya Suleman have health insurance to cover the medical costs of the octuplets and her other children? Are taxpayers actually shouldering her decision to have babies?

Anonymous from Idaho: In all of the articles and interviews, the one question that has never been answered is, where is the 1.5 million coming from to pay for the babies care at the hospital and how does she take care of her 6 other children with no income?

Ann Curry: It is unclear how Nadya Suleman can pay for the hospital bill. We’re still assessing whether she had the health insurance to cover the birth, given that she was on disability for a prior job, which might allow her to have insurance. We do know that she currently has no job and so she has no income. She relies on her parents and she has used her student loans and disability payments to pay for raising her six other children. But it’s pretty clear that she’s in trouble financially.

Question from Maria: I just wanted to know if NBC or other news groups paid Nadya Suleman for any of her interviews.

Ann Curry: We did not offer her any money or offer her any deals. She did not get paid for anything. Nadya Suleman tells us that she wanted to go on camera to tell her story because she was hearing all the criticism — even death threats— against her. I asked her why she chose us and she said she simply wanted a fair hearing and to be interviewed by a fair reporter. She was expecting hard questions, and I think she got them.

Question from Deborah Ganzer, Fairfield, Calif.: Ann, even though I’m not quite sure where I stand on this story (more unsure than sure it wasn’t a very good choice on Nadya’s part), has anyone taken the time to ask her how she’s doing? Personally doing? Physically, mentally? I know you asked her about her future plans, but how is she?

Ann Curry: Deborah, I did ask her how she’s doing and the truth is she’s trying not to be overwhelmed. She told me that she’s physically dealing with the hormonal changes that come after giving birth. She says they’re very intense. And she said that her future plan is to not give up on her dream and get her master’s degree so she can become a counselor and take care of her children financially.

What’s clear is that she’s going to be struggling in the next months. How is she going to take care of her 14 children? As to how she is doing personally, the only answer I can add to that is that she’s trying not to be overwhelmed. She says that would be a waste of time. She can’t allow herself to be overwhelmed. She’s struggling against those feelings of panic so she can do the job that’s at hand.

Question from Judy, Orange County: How was covering this story different from the other multiple birth story you covered, the McCaughey septuplets? It seems like everyone was celebrating and wanted to help out that family. They certainly are that way about Jon and Kate [Gosselin] but not for this woman.

Ann Curry: Covering this story definitely feels different from covering the McCaughey septuplets. Everyone was celebrating when Bobbi McCaughey gave birth. In this particular case, there’s been a lot more criticism and animosity. I think this story seems to be touching a nerve on a number of issues — people are questioning the IVF doctor’s ethics, the mother’s morality, and it comes at a time when the nation is an economic slump – so the financial repercussions of this multiple birth are clear to everyone. I think they’re also questioning Nadya Suleman because she’s made a choice to be a single mother. She says that this is not fair. It has been a very difficult story to cover because it seems to be of such great interest to everyone. What I’ve really tried in this case is to give Nadya Suleman what everyone deserves, which is a fair hearing, including tough questions. But she deserves an opportunity to be heard. I am hopeful that some good will come of telling this story.