A few miles away as the crow flies, just across the Blue Ridge, comes word of a male version of the TV-made-notorious “Octomom.” The 27-year-old, from the Shenandoah Valley town of Edinburg, is father (with multiple women) to seven, possibly eight, children! At that rate, he could easily conceive another 30-40 children before he needs to resort to Viagra.
That assumes the man, whose name is Jesse Lee Herald, stays out of jail. His past convictions include cocaine possession, hit-and-run and assault. Now, most recently, he pleaded guilty to child endangerment, hit-and-run and driving on a suspended license.
In the plea deal with the Shenandoah County Commonwealth Attorney’s office, Herald voluntarily agreed to undergo a vasectomy in return for a shorter prison sentence — about which pro-life advocates have been silent but the putatively “liberal,” pro-choice media has been shocked.
“This is outrageous,” opined a Washington Post editorial. “Mr. Herald is not a sex offender, nor is there a shred of evidence that his criminal behavior derives from the fact that he has fathered seven children.”
What is outrageous is Mr. Herald’s irresponsible behavior — the consequences of which must be born not by him, but by his fellow citizens. A vasectomy should prevent future such impregnations and thus, as stated by the prosecutor, “be in the best interest of the Commonwealth.”
Thankfully, the likes of Jesse Lee Herald are not prowling about Rappahannock County, for the sex education programs in the local schools here seem to be working. Says Shannon Grimsley, director of academic services for Rappahannock County Public Schools: “There are required standards that we must follow in Virginia public schools; however, it is up to each local school district to determine how these standards will be taught.”
“This is done by having a collaborative stakeholder group consisting of administrators, teachers, parents, community members, health department reps, clergy reps . . . Since we revamped our Family Life Curriculum in 2011, we have not had any parents opt out. Perhaps this can be attributed to the fact that so many parents were involved in its inception.”
Measured by contemporary standards, teenage pregnancies here are, according to Grimsley, “very low.” The Rappahannock numbers are confirmed by Dr. Cee Ann Davis, director of the Rappahannock-Rapidan Health District: In 2012 there were six teenage pregnancies, four live births and one induced termination.