I Wish My Mother Had Aborted Me

Lynn Beisner writes at Role / Reboot:

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 past 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 that 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 onto 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.]”

The second story was on the Good Men Project this week. In an article entitled, “Delivered from Abortion: Healing a Forgotten Memory,” Gordon Dalbey tells a highly unlikely story about his mother’s decision to abort him and her eventual change of heart. I say that the story is highly unlikely because the type of abortion he says his mother was about to have was not available until 50 years later. However, Dalbey claims to have recovered a memory of being “delivered” from the abortion because as a fetus he cried out to God. He claims that the near-abortion experience had caused him psychological suffering throughout his life. Since recovering the memory, he has experienced survivor’s guilt because he was saved when so many other fetuses have been aborted. In explaining how he overcame this guilt, he quotes a Jewish survivor of the Holocaust who says that the purpose of surviving is to testify to the experience.

What makes these stories so infuriating to me is that they are emotional blackmail. As readers or listeners, we are almost forced by these anti-choice versions of A Wonderful Life to say, “Oh, I am so glad you were born.” And then by extension, we are soon forced into saying, “Yes, of course, every blastula of cells should be allowed to develop into a human being.”

Stories like Mr. Dalbey’s are probably effective because they follow the same model. First there is a woman facing the unplanned pregnancy that poses severe problems. In Dalbey’s case, his family is suffering from extreme poverty, and in the case of Kiessling, her mother is dealing with the aftermath of rape. The story shifts so that the mother has a divine or moral enlightenment and knows that she must carry the baby to term. We are left with an adult praising the bravery of their mothers and testifying that their lives were saved for some higher purpose. But the story goes on to tell us how even the contemplation of abortion was horribly scarring for the person. The moral of these stories is clear: Considering abortion is like considering genocide.

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 fairy tales 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.”

Read more here.

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  • http://buzzcoastin.posterous.com BuzzCoastin

    one thing anti-abortion people often miss is:
    God also kills through abortion, only when God does it
    it’s called an act of God
    and though the numbers are a little fuzzy
    it looks like God is right up there with the other abortionists

    • Barney Simpson

      So, you would punish in the same way a person who shot another one to protect other people, and the person who shot another person to rob him/her? You would judge them in the same way? For me it’s clear that those two are two completely different cases. And also in your post I see two completely different cases….

    • Kathy

      And all this from your ignorant assumption that all pro-life people are religious. Guess what, I am pro-life and an agnostic. There is a huge difference between a miscarriage and an induced abortion.

    • Kathy

      And all this from your ignorant assumption that all pro-life people are religious. Guess what, I am pro-life and an agnostic. There is a huge difference between a miscarriage and an induced abortion.

      • Jin The Ninja

        it is fine to be personally “pro-life’ as a lifestyle choice- the failure is in trying to enact policies on a societal level that make that choice for everyone else. it’s very anti woman, anti- healthcare. it’s very little to do with god, either way.

  • Apathesis

    I actually wish my mother had aborted me.  Years of unrequited love can do that to ya.  Anyone else fucking dumb and in love enough to pine for a girl fo

    • WalkWithTrust

      That is most unfortunate. Wish you better judgement in the future.

      • Apathesis

        Thanks.  I’m really just a hopeless, incredibly nervous and obsessive romantic.  It makes being in love painful.

    • Calypso_1

      Even seeing the nature of a relationship like that for what it is instead of continuing in false hope is making a right choice for yourself. 
      It was YOUR love to give even if it was never returned in kind. 
      That has a reality inside you that is not part of any other.  Even though one longs to have it intertwine with another being, realize that the songs of the heart are not meant to be sung just to the partners we seek. 
      Some days it is the rising sun, the stirring of the wind or the smell of the earth after the rain.  There are vessels all around that have held the joys and sorrows of man since the beginning of time and these also call in their own way for you to add your voice to the symphony of all our greatest yearnings.  

  • WalkWithTrust

    I am the product of date rape. Adopted by a Christian fundy family that loved/ fucked me up for 18 years. Nowadays, at 29, I happen to be happy, healthy, and quite capable of fending for my happy little ass in an increasingly hostile environment. Doesn’t mean I want all the other little unwanted babies coming into an overcrowded, hostile environment. F that BS.

    • Barney Simpson

      This is not an overcrowded, unsustainable world. It’s strange you fend your happy little ass, when you could (and I’m glad you were not) have been aborted. So the possibility you had, the joy of living and developing something yours, it would be good for every abortion-planned baby. I understand your suffering, but the important is to know that the choice is baby’s. And you surely know well.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/KQAYTTB2OO35M7BPTEX5I6NZLU Warren

    I’ve often said prolife people use a special brand of emotional terrorism to try and change pro choice people to their side.  The fact remains, I know lots of woman who have had abortions that say it was the best decision they ever made.  And I’ve yet to meet one that regrets it.  

    These stories are just a new twist to the emotional arsenal pro lifers have no qualms about using. 

  • Intihuatana

    Yeah I agree. But here’s a conundrum you’re missing: IF you had been aborted then you would not be writing this article AGAINST abortion. See the enigma? I’m not pro choice nor pro life. The point I’m trying to make is that this is a complex, multi faceted issue neither side really can grasp because of emotionally charged rhetoric. My personal position is this: Morally I’m pro-life. LEGALLY and societally I’m devoutly pro-choice. I see the distinction between beliefs and laws. 

  • Jesus Borg

    Its a fucking nasty business. Its really disturbing and first of all all the people that were supposed to be getting all these abortions (as targeted by eugenicists that founded planned parenthood ) don’t get them. Its a middle class white girl thing. Getting knocked up in college, because they were too dumb to use birth control. They were too stupid to use two forms of birth control. If they used a condom plus the pill they wouldn’t have gotten knocked up. Rapes aren’t the main reason people get them.

    So its a nasty thing to do. Its killing your baby.If its a baby if you want the baby (no one has a shower for a blob of tissue), then its a baby if you don’t want the baby. But you know, shit happens, people make mistakes and so a lot of girls don’t have to drop out of college and end up going on to have a career.

    Poor girls generally don’t have them. So its a nasty thing. No one that sees it all one way or the other  is living in reality.  

  • Kathy

    This woman needs to see a psychiatrist for her suicidal ideation.

  • Kathy

    This woman needs to see a psychiatrist for her suicidal ideation.

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