This, of course, sparked a lot of backlash. One of the other guests on Tell Me More was Dr. Michelle Au (also a full-time doctor with children), who wrote "The Mommy Wars, Medical Edition" in response. She found Dr. Sibert's views to be "a vast oversimplification of the issues it highlighted" and lamented that it might discourage talented young women from pursuing medical degrees (further affecting the doctor shortage) and that "when you start penalizing people for the desire or potential to reproduce, and from there it's a short step to discouraging women from becoming doctors at all."
There are a lot of interesting points in all three articles (Au's, Sibert's and the NPR broadcast), so if you're interested, I highly suggest taking a look. I'm particularly interested in this statement from Sibert:
"It’s fair to ask them — women especially — to consider the conflicting demands that medicine and parenthood make before they accept (and deny to others) sought-after positions in medical school and residency. They must understand that medical education is a privilege, not an entitlement, and it confers a real moral obligation to serve"Why women especially? Au points this out in her response:
"male doctors have children too, don't they? Obviously there are unavoidable biological underpinnings to the increased time commitment mothers face initially--men don't get pregnant, men don't require time to recover from labor and delivery, and men don't breastfeed--but after that first year of life, it seems that the time and commitment spent on raising a child should be about equal for the both parents."
And surely, I hope, no one is suggesting that doctors shouldn't be allowed to have children. So, really, what's at stake here is what is at stake in just about every work/life balance debate, no matter what flavor you're serving: if women are to be viewed as equal contributors in the workforce and society in general and if the human race is going to continue through procreation, gender roles in parenting need to bend from both sides. Fathers need to be held accountable for and socially allowed to provide childcare. Women need to be given the freedom to and accept the loss of "home sphere" power that comes with giving up some of those duties.