Thursday, March 15, 2012

What if your mom had an abortion?

Comics are amusing in a lot of ways, not the least of which is how my perceptions of them have changed. When I was a kid, I was a huge Garfield fan, though not so much anymore (but the Garfield Minus Garfield strip is worth a read). I was not a big Doonesbury fan until I was well into my 20s, though. Of course, right now Doonesbury is getting a bump in the ratings due to the abortion storyline, examining the bizarre and crazy anti-abortion laws imposed by Texas and several other states to limit women's rights in what they do with their own bodies. Guess where I stand on the issue.

One of the comments that seems to come up whenever abortion is discussed is "Well, how would you like it if your mom had had an abortion?" The point being that every fetus has a potential and is therefor equal to an actual human life. By aborting a fetus, we are destroying the potential of another person coming into their own and having the chance to live a full and wonder-filled life.

So, how would I, personally, feel about the idea of my mom aborting me?

I love my mom. She's been a great mom, and a lot of what I value in myself, I learned or inherited from her. She raised two boys, a lot of the time by herself because my dad's work, then their divorce, meant that he wasn't always around (my dad's great, too, in his own ways, but a very generous assessment would show him being my primary caregiver for about 1/7th of my childhood, which was the every-second-weekend visit). In some ways, I imagine, my mom might have had a better life if she hadn't become pregnant with me (before my parents were even married yet! Shocker!): she might have had more opportunities, she certainly wouldn't have lived the same life. Raising two kids on your own makes it difficult to be a go-getter at work, I imagine.

Personally, I love my life. Yeah, I could make better choices, but overall I'm happy I was born.

But here's the thing: ultimately, I know that my mom chose to have me. Yeah, there were pressures that affected her decision, but because of Canadian Law and the culture at the time she was pregnant, my mom had the choice available to her. I know that, once I was conceived, I was wanted.

I respect my mom, not because she's my mom, but because she is a force of nature. She is intelligent, and kind, and compassionate, and funny, and she gets angry sometimes, and sad sometimes, and goofy to the point of cringe-worthiness. As I've gotten older, I've watched her make decisions: about her career, about dating, about where to live and who to live with. Some of her decisions weren't great, and I imagine that some of her choices were actually disasterous. But as someone who loves her and cares for her deeply, I would not want to remove her power to make decisions for herself.

The question of "what if your mom aborted you?" is so backwards to me. What if she had? I would rather that she made that difficult choice, and had the resources and support to make it safely and sanely, than for her to have been forced to use her own body in a way she did not want because some stranger had made the decision for her. I would give my hypothetical life so that she would have the right to make decisions for herself as an adult and a human being. I mean, how selfish could I be? If I value my life, then I need to value hers and her choice to have me.

The world is full of potential, and for everything that actually does happen, there are, literally, an infinite set of other things that didn't. There's a sense that people who argue against abortion along these lines are thinking compassionately about the child, but they might as well by fighting for Unicorn Rights. Did you know that everytime a man jerks off, a unicorn is brutally tortured and put to death? End the tyranny of male masturbation now!

Like any good leftist liberal, I'll agree that this isn't a situation to be dealt with lightly. Life and death are important, and how we act, the decisions that we make, will inevitably be individualistic and unique each and every time. To me, it's hugely more important that people have the right to choose rather than have that decision imposed upon them by a faceless organization that has no knowledge of the factors and the possibilities involved. What about all the young women's lives who have been damaged because they were forced to carry a child to term?

What if my mom had aborted me?

Well, then I would take comfort that she lived in a society where her rights were respected and protected, and where she chose her fate. What kind of a monster would force his own mother to live a life she never wanted?

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