English writer Lynn Beisner is drawing gasps from readers across the world today over a column she wrote in the London Guardian saying she wishes her mother had had an abortion, because it would have supposedly made her mother’s life better.
Titled, “I wish my mother had aborted me,” Beisner writes: “This is no ‘I wish I’d never been born’ howl of angst. I love my mother, and having an abortion would have given her a better life. There is no way my love-starved, trauma-addled mother was in a position to raise a child.”
Perhaps taking the pro-abortion argument to is extreme conclusion, Beisner takes her frustration about pro-lifers out in her article:
If there is one thing that anti-choice activists do that makes me see red, it is when they parade out their poster children: men, women and children who were “targeted for abortion”. They tell us “these people would not be alive today if abortion had been legal or if their mothers had made a different choice”.
In the last couple of months, I have read two of these abortion deliverance stories that have been particularly offensive. The first story is one propagated by Rebecca Kiessling, the poster child for the no exceptions in cases of rape or incest. On her website Kiessling says that every time we say abortion should be allowed, at least in the case of rape or incest, we are saying to her: “If I had my way, you’d be dead right now.” She goes on to say, “I absolutely would have been aborted if it had been legal in Michigan when I was an unborn child, and I can tell you that it hurts [when people say that abortion should be legal].”
Beisner calls the stories “emotional blackmail” forcing people who hear them to think, I’m glad you were born and not victimized by abortion. She complains that that leads to the conclusion that no baby deserves to die in any abortion. She’s also upset the stories are so effective.
Here is why it is so effective: people freak out when you tell an opposing story. I make even my most ardent pro-choice friends and colleagues very uncomfortable when I explain why my mother should have aborted me. Somehow they confuse the well-considered and rational: “The best choice for both my mother and me would have been abortion” with the infamous expression of depression and angst: “I wish I had never been born.” The two are really very different things, and we must draw that distinction clearly.
The narrative that anti-choice crusaders are telling is powerful, moving, and best of all it has a happy ending. It makes the woman who carries to term a hero, and for narrative purposes it hides her maternal failing. We cannot argue against heroic, redemptive, happy-ending fairytales using cold statistics. If we want to keep our reproductive rights, we must be willing to tell our stories, to be willing and able to say, “I love my life, but I wish my mother had aborted me.”
Naturally, Beisner, an abortion advocate, is much more interested in ensuring a woman who becomes pregnant is not inconvenienced by a baby than she is ensuring babies before birth are not killed in abortions. And she says an abortion would have been the best choice for her mother.
An abortion would have absolutely been better for my mother. An abortion would have made it more likely that she would finish high school and get a college education. At college in the late 1960s, it seems likely she would have found feminism or psychology or something that would have helped her overcome her childhood trauma and pick better partners. She would have been better prepared when she had children. If nothing else, getting an abortion would have saved her from plunging into poverty. She likely would have stayed in the same socioeconomic strata as her parents and grandparents who were professors. I wish she had aborted me because I love her and want what is best for her.
Beisner, in her own crusade for abortion, forgets that the interests of mother and child go hand in hand. Women, as countless studies show, are adversely affected physically and emotionally by abortion. We don’t have to sacrifice a baby to serve the best interest of women — they can rise out of poverty or dire circumstances without destroying their own children.