By Dave Andrusko
A while back Slate senior editor Rachael Larimore, no dyed-in-the-wool pro-lifer, wrote a column titled, “Pro-Choicers Hate the “What if I Hadn’t Been Born” Question. Here’s Why” which touched off a flurry of comments.
And because she is not one of us, it made her trenchant observations all the more telling. Here is her beginning:
The pro-choice movement relies on a carefully crafted image to make its position seem responsible and caring: that women should be allowed to abort their unplanned pregnancies because unwanted children grow up poor, neglected, abused or some combination thereof. It can’t allow for the possibility that some “unwanted” children actually grow up in loving homes and become responsible, even successful, adults; or that couples who take responsibility for unplanned children can be as good of parents as couples who wait until they’re ready to have a family.
And when they are presented with evidence to the contrary, out comes the name-calling.
Pro-abortionists were furious. Let me offer a few summary points about those who found Larimore unpersuasive–and their wholly unpersuasive rebuttals.
In a colossal failure of moral imagination, the pro-abortion mind cannot get past how the unborn child doesn’t “look” like a baby, especially early in his or her development. But what I found fascinating in the angry responses is how easily the pro-abortion mind glides to the “proper” conclusion.
Which is? Heck, if you weren’t born, you wouldn’t have known that you’d been obliterated along the way. And moms and dads will just transfer the love they would have bestowed on you to the next child (assuming there is a next child).
Proponents of this use the benign example of miscarriages which are, of course, unintentional.
Let’s double back to what could be called “lookism.” Can you think of a more efficiently heartless way of lethally marginalizing whole categories of people than airily announcing, “They don’t look like us”?
And, duh, what the unborn child looks like at, say, ten weeks, is what each and every one of us fortunate to be alive looked like when we were at that stage of fetal development.
Folks, that’s what homo sapiens look like.
And what about the notion that because there are miscarriages/accidents, somehow that makes protecting developing human beings illogical or inconsistent? Larimore writes, “But here’s the thing” …..
“Our government protects our right to our lives as much as it reasonably can—it’s illegal to murder or assault someone, and you can be severely punished for causing accidental deaths—but it can’t guarantee us life. Tragedies happen: People die in accidents, or prematurely from cancer. To suggest that society shouldn’t recognize a right to be born just because some pregnancies end in miscarriage is like saying the government shouldn’t protect us because we could get hit by a bus anyhow.”
Let me just throw in one quick sidebar. Larimore drolly chastises pro-abortion feminists for simultaneously insisting that they are ‘moral actors’ and demanding to be treated as adults yet screaming like adolescents that they must be able to abort because otherwise they are reduced to “mandatory incubators.”
Larimore tells her reader she was born to teenage parents one year before Roe v. Wade was handed down:
“And in the end, I guess that is really why I wanted to get the “What if I hadn’t been born?” question out there. As I wrote in my previous post, I don’t consider myself to be especially important or special. The world at large is not a better place just because I make a mean jambalaya or volunteer in my son’s classroom or rescue that dog running around my neighborhood. But it’s a damn good life to me, and if raising an uncomfortable question can make even a few people think about how precious life is, to make them realize that it’s possible for someone who ‘shouldn’t have been born’ to grow up in a loving home with caring, dedicated, hardworking parents and turn out OK herself, well, then I’ve accomplished something.”