One of my favorite silly jokes goes as follows:
A man runs into a friend. “Oh, my God!” he says. “I just made the most terrible Freudian slip.”
His friend asks “What did you do?”
The man answers, “Well, I was having lunch with my mother. I meant to saying ‘Mom, please pass the peas,” but what I actually said was ‘You horrible woman! You’ve ruined my life!’”
I don’t know why I find this joke so funny — beyond the obvious point that what the man said was not a Freudian slip — but I just do. It makes me laugh every time.
As is always the case, though, Progressives manage to go one better than any joke, but they invariably ruin the punch line. The latest example comes from Britian’s Guardian, a reliably Left wing publication. The article is entitled — no kidding — “I wish my mother had aborted me.” The author, Lynn Beisner, assures us that she’s not one of those sad-sacks who has a miserable life and, therefore, wishes she’d never been born. Instead, she explains, she wrote the article as a counter to those ridiculous emotional pro-Life stories that revolve around a woman who contemplated abortion, decide not to do it, and raised a child very grateful to be alive. How disgustingly bathetic, Beisner says:
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.”
Beisner is going to counter this horrible narrative — by pitching an emotional story about how her birth stunted, not her own, but her mother’s life:
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.
Or, to use fewer words: “I’m a horrible child! I ruined your life.”
What Beisner doesn’t realize is that she’s not breaking new ground here. She’s treading the old, hard-packed pro-abortion ground, only in a way that’s more silly than usual. Because the pro-abortion crowd has always and only focused on the woman (“It’s a woman’s choice”), the issue always has been that the woman gets to ask herself “Will this baby ruin my life?” and then to abort if her answer is “Yes, probably.”
Well, I’ve got news for Beisner. Babies always ruin a woman’s life. That is, they ruin the life she knew before babies came along. Goodbye, lithesome figure! Goodbye, sleeping through the night! Goodbye, privacy! Goodbye, eating a meal without interruptions! Goodbye, ready money! Goodbye, dancing all night (at least, without bouncing a crying baby in your arms)! Goodbye, spontaneity! It’s all over. Everything that made for your youthful existence is gone.
What Beisner misses, though, is the “Whenever God closes a door, he opens a window” aspect of having children. For every goodbye, there’s a hello Hello, bidding farewell to your immature self and saying welcome to the you that is a fully realized adult! Hello, to a little one entwining himself or herself around your neck and saying ‘Mommy, I wuv you so much’ — and meaning it! Hello, to having an incredibly rich social life, one that doesn’t revolve around the drunken hook-up scene, but one that involves other parents who are so glad to welcome you into the Parent Club! Hello, feeling connected to your country, because it’s not just yours anymore, it’s also your children’s and your grandchildren’s.
Some people are going to be horribly damaged by their inability to turn their backs upon giddy youth in favor of responsible maturity. But for every one of those people, there’s going to be someone grateful for the love, stability, and meaning that parenthood brings.
The only thing that Beisner gets right (although she fails to live up to her own standards) is that emotional pitches are meaningless, because different people have different emotional responses. What she When emotions are meaningless, the only thing that matters is principle: Do you believe that (a) life begins at conception and (b) that this life is immediately entitled to full respect? If yes, you must be pro-Life; if not, well, then pro-abortion is a reasonable position for you. But don’t try dressing it up with sob stories about living children or unhappy mothers.