LONDON (AP) — Greedy. Exploitative. Naive and embarrassing.
And that’s just what their families are saying as the ruckus roars on over an unmarried couple who are expecting eight babies — and have peddled every graphic detail to one of Britain’s rapacious tabloids in a deal that could make them a million.
Mandy Allwood and Paul Hudson, both on welfare, won’t abort some of the fetuses she conceived after taking fertility drugs, knowing the more healthy babies she delivers, the bigger the jackpot from the News of the World.
“I love Paul but this is all wrong,” Hudson’s mother, Sybil Wheeler, 55, was quoted as saying Tuesday in a front-page splash in London’s Daily Mail. “I think the real reason he is so happy about the pregnancy is because he believes it will make him rich.”
Since the story broke during the weekend, politicians and commentators have charged that this is a new low in so-called checkbook journalism.
Doctors warn that Allwood risks killing herself and all the fetuses if she persists in her stated aim to let “nature take its course.”
Others question why the 31-year-old woman, who has had an abortion, has one child and no full-time partner, got fertility treatment in the first place.
Rival tabloids are running exclusives on the relatives, filling page upon page with details of the couple’s lifestyle.
The story so far:
Born in Jamaica, Hudson, 37, is a party-loving would-be property developer who went bankrupt after his rental agency failed in 1995. He divides his nights between Allwood and Maria Edwards, with whom he has two sons.
Allwood began an affair with Hudson while still married to Simon Pugh, the father of her son, Charles, 5. They divorced 18 months ago.
Wanting a child by Hudson, Allwood sought fertility treatment. There, the stories differ, some say she never told Hudson at all, others that she took the drugs secretly at first, miscarried, and later told him.
Prescribed drugs to stimulate her ovaries, Allwood ignored medical advice to avoid unprotected sex because she was producing too many eggs.
News of the World executives say she will get less money for fewer babies and just a “small amount” if she has none.
Despite the furor, the Conservative government rejected calls for new laws on fertility treatment. “You would have to go into licensing for babies and the horrendous apparatus of the police state if we went down that road,” Health Secretary Stephen Dorrell said in a BBC radio interview.
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says a couple’s ability to raise children must be considered. But it is up to local health authorities to decide who gets the drugs on the free National Health Service, and to private clinics to decide who they treat.
Meanwhile, the family mudslinging continues. Allwood’s parents, cross about the breakup of her marriage, said they learned of the pregnancy from news reports.
“She is no longer my girl. I don’t want to see her again.” Marion Allwood, 58, was quoted as saying in the tabloid Sun.
Edwards, Hudson’s other girlfriend, branded him a philanderer who prefers parties to playing with their sons, age 2 and seven months.
“He doesn’t even pay for their upkeep,” the 28-year-old complained, also in the Sun. “He can’t look after our two boys … so how will he care for eight babies?”