In the on-going battle to push legalized abortion in Ireland, one abortion advocate told The Irish Times this week how she discovered that she survived her mother’s attempt to abort her.
“Maria,” who shared her story anonymously, used the tragic admission to advocate for legalized abortion in her home country — and even her own death.
She explained that her mother had uttered the words in anger one day when Maria was a teenager. The two had just had a fight.
“I should have aborted you – and I did!” her mother told her.
Taken aback, Maria asked for an explanation. Her mother said she tried to abort her “with pills,” but it did not work.
“And that’s how I learned about it. It pissed me off, because as a teenager no one wants you, and on top of that – your mother didn’t want you either [laughs],” Maria said.
Maria tried to justify her mother’s behavior. She said her family struggled financially, and there always was a possibility that her father, a political activist in Ireland, could be thrown in prison. She said her mother struggled with depression, especially after giving birth to her older siblings.
“When she learned she was pregnant, she was on medication, far from my dad, she couldn’t afford another kid and didn’t want another kid,” Maria said. “She couldn’t handle it basically. And it was true, because after I was born, my mother couldn’t take care of me for about six months or a year. I was raised mostly by my older brother.”
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After the abortion failed and Maria was born, her mother became even more depressed and suicidal. In a heartbreaking admission, Maria argued that abortion should be legal in Ireland because her mother should have been allowed to abort her.
“I was never mad at her,” Maria said. “When I was a teenager I couldn’t understand why she didn’t want me. But when you study the country, the situation . . . I give every right to my mum. If I were her, I probably would have aborted. It has nothing to do with her maternal instincts – she already had two kids. It’s just that it wasn’t the right time.
“… It would have been much better for my mum’s mental and physical health if she had had the abortion. It was never an idea for me that women shouldn’t be given the right to abort because their kids could grow up, get an education, get a good life, all that.”
It is difficult to believe that her mother’s admission did not affect Maria’s sense of self-worth and her views about human life. Maria said she is happy to be alive, but her mother should have had the “choice” to abort her.
She concluded: “I don’t consider myself an ‘abortion survivor.’ That has a bad tone. If you want to articulate it that way – that my mum’s abortion didn’t work and that’s why I’m alive – yes. But I don’t label myself like that. I just got lucky.”
Whether she realized it or not, Maria admitted that she is “lucky” to have survived her mother’s attempt to abort her. She deserved to live just like every other baby. Her right to life has nothing to do with whether her mother wanted her. Every child should feel wanted by their parents, but even when they don’t, they still deserve to live.
Maria is a valuable human being, and she is “lucky” to be alive. Hopefully, one day she will realize that every unborn baby should be given the same chance to live that she got.