How Much Do You Have To Hate Yourself To Wish Your Mother Had Aborted You?

A columnist for The Guardian says she wishes her mother had aborted her.

Over at The Guardian someone named Lynn Beisner has written a column in response to many of those “I survived an abortion” stories one often sees from people whose mothers had considered abortion and then changed their minds, except she takes an entirely different tack: 

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.

Abortion would have been a better option for me. If you believe what reproductive scientists tell us, that I was nothing more than a conglomeration of cells, then there was nothing lost. I could have experienced no consciousness or pain. But even if you discount science and believe I had consciousness and could experience pain at six gestational weeks, I would chose the brief pain or fear of an abortion over the decades of suffering I endured.

Beisner goes on to describe the difficult circumstances of her life, which I sympathize with, but in response to which I will also point out that there are plenty of people who led similarly difficult lives, and worse, and came out of them without the same sense of what I can only describe as self-loathing and guilt that she appears to demonstrate in this essay. Has her life really been so bad that she wishes she had never been born? Or, is she just writing something like this to be provocative for political purposes? I’m not entirely sure, but either way I find the whole thing pretty disturbing.

I’ll start out by saying that I support the right of women to have access to abortion, at least up to a point. I’ve always believed that there comes a point in pregnancy where, absent a real threat to the health and safely of the mother or child, that an elective abortion is simply not morally acceptable and should be legally impermissible. In Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court defined that by the concept of “viability,” meaning the ability of the fetus to survive outside the womb. Thanks to medical technology, the barrier of viability has been pushed back, but it still generally lies somewhere in the middle of the second trimester of pregnancy, except in the most extraordinary of circumstances.

Leaving aside the politics and morality of abortion, though, I find myself sitting here aghast that someone, someone with a column in The Guardian no less, would actually say that they wish their mother had aborted them. It’s like the scene in It’s A Wonderful Life where George Bailey wishes he’d never been born, only to learn how his life had impacted so many others. Is this woman so disconnected from reality that she cannot see that, or that she cannot see the inherent value of her own life? Or, am I missing something?

FILED UNDER: General
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. Peter says:

    What a moron.

  2. Herb says:

    Is this woman so disconnected from reality that she cannot see that, or that she cannot see the inherent value of her own life?

    C’mon, man. This was clearly rhetorical rather than confessional.

    Remember that Beyonce song, “If I were a Boy?” It did not indicate she wants a sex change.

  3. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    I used to believe that lawyers had to be really good at reading comprehension and logical thought. Now I know better.

  4. Tsar Nicholas says:

    What’s really amazing is that this Beisner character is not even all that nutty compared to some of the extreme freaks out there in media and academic circles.

  5. Doug–

    You have completely missed Lynn Beisner’s point, which doesn’t surprise me in the slightest. Beisner does not “hate herself,” she made that very clear in her piece. You obviously cannot understand the distinction she is making between wishing you’d never been born because of depression or some other unhappiness, and wishing that her mother had chosen to have an abortion because her circumstances were already horrifyingly bad, and having to raise a child destroyed any chance she had of making things better.

    Now, you may not like that argument, but that’s no reason to ignore it and make up another explanation that she explicitly debunks. She should understand her own reasons for wishing her mother had chosen abortion better than you do.

    Also, the photograph you’ve put at the top of your blog is beyond moronic. Not the photograph itself and not you as a person, but your CHOICE of that particular photograph to illustrate the content of this particular post about the particular article you’re commenting on. It’s breathtakingly inappropriate and even disrespectful, since it depicts a mother-child relationship that could not possibly be more unlike the actual kind of mother Beisner’s mother was, the actual way Beisner’s mother felt about and treated her, and the actual kind of feeling that existed between the two. The substance of your post is ridiculous, but that photograph in this context is heinous, and it’s what actually upset me the most about your response.

  6. John Cole says:

    I’m not going to wade into the content of the piece in any detail or the interpretation by Doug, but I will say that when I saw this piece my first thought was that it was creepy and fucked up and made me embarrassed to be pro-choice. Please stop writing about issues you care about, Lynn Beisner. You just aren’t helping.

  7. @Kathy Kattenburg:

    No Kathy, the substance of the author’s self-hating post is what is ridiculous.

    And if you find my choice of photographs uncomfortable, well then I that’s just your problem

  8. Console says:

    My mother had a high risk pregnancy with me. She had placenta previa and nearly bleed to death giving birth to me. I never asked her if she thought about abortion but it sort of solidifies in my head that being pro-life isn’t some magical one size fits all decision and it definitely leads me to believe that being alive doesn’t grant me special insight to that choice and being a man makes my opinion irrelevant anyways.

  9. michael reynolds says:

    Doug:

    I think you know that I respect you as a blogger. But dude: swing and a miss. And then you lost control of the bat and hit a kid in the stands.

    This isn’t self-loathing, it’s sadness. Self-loathing is the kind of emotion we can turn into a syndrome and put in a box. This is tragedy. The real, hardcore stuff. The stuff that scares me, to be honest with you, as much as I spend my days delving into all kinds of emotional stuff. This is dark, deep, tragedy.

    When you come up against this, you just let it be, because there’s nothing you or I can do to make it better. You and I aren’t living it. We don’t have a time machine to make it better. It belongs to this woman and it is simply too big to allow for our opinions.

  10. al-Ameda says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    What’s really amazing is that this Beisner character is not even all that nutty compared to some of the extreme freaks out there in media and academic circles.

    or even when compared to many of the Republican delegation in the House of Representatives.

  11. mannning says:

    I wonder what percentage of the near 60 million abortions since RvW, had some been called off, would had have the same sort of reaction? A few, perhaps 2%, if they knew that they had just barely missed their final act, which I doubt they will have been be told by their mothers. For the rest of the fetuses, they have been disposed of most likely in a manner we don’t want to know about. The mantra of the moment seems to be forget it and get on with your life.

    Many appear to want to believe the a fetus is merely a blob and not a sentient person, so no real harm has been done. But a working, growing, person factory, with DNA blueprints and many thousands of working enzymes and molicules were frantically busy creating a new person out of the material assembled. He or she was there as a new person in the plans and materials and growing assemblies. I’d call it a proto-person that they have murdered, perhaps for their own convenience, and they should be condemned for it if so.

  12. al-Ameda says:

    @mannning:
    I know many women who have had an abortion and none took it lightly, none did it for convenience.

  13. Moderate Mom says:

    I read the column this morning and my reaction to it was just sadness. I can understand wishing your childhood had been better or wishing your mother had been better. But to wish you had been aborted? I find that astounding.

    Does this woman seriously believe that, had she never been born, that her mother’s life would have somehow been magically been better? That what seems to have been mental illness of some sort would have never manifested itself had she only not been born. Does she not consider the chance that, had she been aborted, her mother would have possibly become pregnant with a different child and the same life story played out?

    The part of the essay that disturbed me most was that this woman is a mother herself. Given how casually she thinks of abortion as a panacea to life’s disappointments, I wonder how often she looks at her own children and thinks “if only I had aborted you, I could have (fill in the blank)”.

  14. ck says:

    I agree with commenters above that Doug completely missed the point of that article. Sometimes I feel like Doug, while his own views are relatively moderate and sensible, is completely incapable of fairly listening to and understanding an argument from a different viewpoint. We saw this over and over in the threads about Occupy Wall Street, and here we’re seeing it again.

    Let me make an analogy that might clarify the argument of the article: Say hypothetically that I was conceived when my mother was raped. Should I be glad that she was raped? If I say that I wish she hadn’t been raped (and thus that I was never born), am I displaying self-loathing? Of course not. It would simply mean that I value the improvement in her life more than I value my own life. That’s selfless and admirable, not creepy and disturbing.

    Another analogy: Say my parents were Holocaust survivors who met in a concentration camp. Had they not been put there, they never would have met. Should I be glad the Holocaust happened? If I wish it hadn’t happened, am I guilty of self-loathing?

  15. Tano says:

    @mannning

    Why do you think it is wrong to shut down the person factory before the sentient person is made?

  16. @Doug Mataconis:

    No Kathy, the substance of the author’s self-hating post is what is ridiculous.

    There is nothing self-hating about Beisner feeling that if her mother had chosen to have an abortion, she might have had a better life. It’s most likely true. Your problem is that you refuse to let go of the fantasy that a child is always a blessing. The idea that a woman’s life can be destroyed or significantly damaged by having a child she does not want or is not competent to care for, goes against everything our culture teaches us. And of course it’s not a happy truth to have to acknowledge, but just because it’s not happy does not make it untrue.

    The truth is that Lynn Beisner’s saying she wishes her mother had chosen not to give birth to her is no different, factually or morally, than if she had said she wished her mother had not had sex with that man at that moment, because then she wouldn’t have gotten pregnant and Beisner wouldn’t have been born. Would you be so horribly horribly horrified if Beisner had said it would have been better for her mother if she had stayed home and watched tv or gone to the movies or had lunch with a friend instead of spending time alone with the man who made her pregnant? Then there never would have been a pregnancy to keep or end. The result is exactly the same: Beisner would not have been born. She would not have existed. And her saying that would have been a better outcome for her mother would have meant exactly the same thing. It’s just a *fact of these two women’s lives,* Doug. It’s just a truth of their lives. Beisner’s mother would have had a better chance at happiness without a child. That Beisner dares to acknowledge this out loud is what’s bringing all the bile down on her head, but that says more about the emotional delusions of her readers than it does about Beisner’s self-regard.

    And if you find my choice of photographs uncomfortable, well then I that’s just your problem

    Nyah nyah nyah, lol Doug! You are such a baby.

  17. @michael reynolds:

    Well said, Michael.

  18. dennis says:

    @Moderate Mom:

    Given how casually she thinks of abortion as a panacea to life’s disappointments, I wonder how often she looks at her own children and thinks “if only I had aborted you, I could have (fill in the blank)”.

    How you inserted yourself in the writer’s mind and extrapolated this tidbit is beyond me. M. Reynolds’ post should’ve been the last comment on this. All we can say is, yeah… yeah…

  19. @al-Ameda:

    I know many women who have had an abortion and none took it lightly, none did it for convenience.

    Myself included. Thank you, al-Ameda.

  20. Andy says:

    I think the main problem I see in Beisner’s argument is that it’s a wishful thinking counter-factual. She imagines what her mother’s life would have been like and simply assumes it would have been better. Maybe it would have, but maybe not. The problem with counter-factuals is that you never really know.

    Beisner writes:

    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.

    What’s wrong with live and let live? Ms. Beisner, you aren’t forced into anything. If the anti-abortion movement is “emotionally blackmailing” you then maybe you should stop listening to them, give them the middle finger and just live your own damn life. Yes, there are people out there who are very happy they weren’t aborted – why should that bother you? Just sayin.

  21. Sometimes I feel like Doug, while his own views are relatively moderate and sensible, is completely incapable of fairly listening to and understanding an argument from a different viewpoint.

    Yes.

  22. jd says:

    @Kathy Kattenburg: Well said.

  23. Loviatar says:

    @ck:

    Sometimes I feel like Doug, while his own views are relatively moderate and sensible, is completely incapable of fairly listening to and understanding an argument from a different viewpoint.

    I have to disagree with this statement; if it was just a lack of empathy on Doug’s part we would see him change his positions once the facts were presented in an acceptable way. We also would not see him got out of his way to say and do cruel and hateful things. Doug, however consistently and stubbornly stays with his positions even when proven wrong and even when those positions cost great pain to others.

    I have to go with the proposition that he is a cruel and hateful person who hides behind a facade of reasonableness. Doug may not be Fred Phelps, but he sure the hell would be Fred Phelps lawyer; not because he believes in Freedom of Speech, but because he believes in the message Fred Phelps preaches.

    You give him too much credit, he is who he is; cruel and hateful.

  24. ratufa says:

    To better understand what’s motivating the author to write this piece, it’s worthwhile to read the author’s responses to comments in the original article at role/reboot and this description of how she feels about her mother:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/aug/15/i-wish-my-mother-aborted-me?commentpage=1#comment-17697641

    After reading those comments, I don’t think this piece is mainly about abortion, nor is it motivated by self-hatred.

  25. @Kathy Kattenburg:

    No Kathy, I just don’t understand the mentality of a human being who believes the world would be a better place if they didn’t exist. The woman needs counseling, not a column in The Guardian.

  26. DRS says:

    For God’s sake, Doug, that’s not what Beisner wrote. And if you can’t see it, then I really feel very sorry for you. Beisner is not “divorced from reality” – if anything, she’s had to deal with more reality than most of us have. Do you really find it hard to believe that someone who survived physical abuse (she talks of beatings) as a child might feel that death isn’t a worse option? That an abuse survivor might be conflicted – to say the least – about pro-life messaging that ignores anything not upbeat or optimistic? Have you no empathy at all?

  27. Ben Wolf says:

    @Doug Mataconis: I went through a childhood very similer to Beismer’s, but with the addition of a coke-head faher who would at random times try to kill us, and I do understand the point. Do I loathe myself? Not as much as I once did, considering my parents told me I was worthless every single day for seventeen years. Beisner is simply wishing she could make it so all the pain and sorrow she and her mother endured never happened. Sometimes I think that way, sometimes I don’t.

    But I can tell you this: if I were offered re-incarnation but with the condition that I would endure it all over again, I sure as hell wouldn’t come back.

  28. I read everything she wrote, guys. As I said I have sympathy for the life she’s led but her column is nothing more than the literary equivalent of taking a loaded gun, putting it to her head, and pulling the trigger.

    She’s either doing it for the attention, or she’s doing it because she’s got some serious problems in which case she needs to spend less time writing and more time working through her problems.

  29. Ben Wolf says:

    @John Cole: Despite you endless apologias and mea culpas and going by the comment you just made, you haven’t changed much at all: you’re David Horowitz in reverse.

  30. Ben Wolf says:

    @Doug Mataconis: There’s nothing that shouldn’t be written or read. No matter how distatseful to us.

  31. Just Me says:

    I think she errs in that she believes somehow her mother would have had a perfect life if it hadn’t been for her.

    I agree with Dough-I find it sad more than anything. Sad because I suspect her mothers life probably would have been different but probably not radically so. People who abuse and mistreat other people don’t do so because that person is an inconvenience in their lives-they do so because they have other issues-issues that probably would have been there whether her mother had an abortion or didn’t.

    I also don’t like the idea that she is essentially arguing that abortion is the answer for poverty and abuse.

    We have had legal abortion available since Roe v Wade (pretty much my whole lifetime) and there is still poverty, there are still drug addicts, there is still child abuse.

    Abortion may be the immediate answer for some women out there, but abortion isn’t going to solve the problems of society and I get a little sickened by the argument that it will.

  32. C. Clavin says:

    Doug…
    How in the world does;

    “…I wish she had aborted me because I love her and want what is best for her…”

    translate into she hates herself.
    Reading comprehension problems? It would explain a lot.

  33. @C. Clavin:

    She also wrote:

    Abortion would have been a better option for me. If you believe what reproductive scientists tell us, that I was nothing more than a conglomeration of cells, then there was nothing lost. I could have experienced no consciousness or pain. But even if you discount science and believe I had consciousness and could experience pain at six gestational weeks, I would chose the brief pain or fear of an abortion over the decades of suffering I endured.

    The woman sees no inherent value in her own life. That’s pretty said and pathetic

  34. Rafer Janders says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Dioug, how you can get from the excerpt you quoted above to “The woman sees no inherent value in her own life” I can’t understand. Obviously she believes her life has some value at this point; after all, it’s not like she’s committing suicide. But she’s saying, quite plainly, that her potential for life, before she was born, did not outweigh the actual damage that her birth did to her mother.

    If Lynn Beisner had not been born, she is asking, who would have been harmed? Not Lynn Beisner, because there would have been no Lynn Beisner. Beisner could not have experienced the loss because there would have been no Beisner to feel or process the experience. On the other hand, her mother did exist, and did suffer quantifiable harm.

  35. MBunge says:

    I’m not one to cut Doug any slack, but WAAAAAAAY too many folks are just passing over the very clear “I would chose the brief pain or fear of an abortion over the decades of suffering I endured”. This women is contemplating non-existence and all she can focus on is a “brief pain or fear” that she really doesn’t believe happens in the first place? If she’s serious, that’s messed up. If she’s just just vamping for effect, that’s pretty damn juvenile.

    MIke

  36. Rafer Janders says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    She’s either doing it for the attention,

    Says the man with the blog under his own name.

    or she’s doing it because she’s got some serious problems in which case she needs to spend less time writing and more time working through her problems.

    Umm, obviously she does have some serious problems. As she herself writes “She abused me, beating me viciously and often. We lived in bone-crushing poverty, and our little family became a magnet for predatory men and organisations. My mother found minimal support in a small church, and became involved with the pastor who was undeniably schizophrenic, narcissistic and sadistic. The abuse I endured was compounded by deprivation.”

    But given that she has self-admitted problems, why should she stop writing? Maybe writing is one of the ways in which she deals with her problems. Maybe being open and upfront about the abuse she suffers is one of the ways she copes. Maybe she’s better able to judge her own mental health needs than you, a privileged, well-off man without an obvious history of having suffered horrific abuse and with no obvious qualifications as a licensed medical profesional or therapist, are.

    Yesterday you defended your decision not to write about the voter ID law on the grounds that “If it’s legal, who am I to tell Ohio how to run their elections?” and “Since I don’t know the facts of the matter….I am not going to issue a blanket condemnation based merely on facts that wr provided me.” Yet here, virtually fact-free, you seem quite happy to tell Ms. Beisner how to live her life and to issue blanket condemnations.

  37. wr says:

    @Tsar Nicholas: “What’s really amazing is that this Beisner character is not even all that nutty compared to some of the extreme freaks out there in media and academic circles. ”

    Is there anyone in America you don’t hate? If so, it might be faster to list them, rather than continue to spew malice towards any set of human beings you can force into some kind of grouping.

  38. MBunge says:

    @Rafer Janders: “Dioug, how you can get from the excerpt you quoted above to “The woman sees no inherent value in her own life” I can’t understand.”

    Perhaps because she also says stuff like…

    “The world would not be a darker or poorer place without me. Actually, in terms of contributions to the world, I am a net loss. Everything that I have done – including parenting, teaching, researching, and being a loving partner – could have been done as well, if not better by other people.”

    Mike

  39. C. Clavin says:

    @ Doug,
    Yes…it’s a harsh reality that many like you are unable to grasp…not every life is precious…not every life has inherent value…many are a net loss. These lives are filled with pain and suffering and struggle. And many of the people living those lives, given a choice, wouldn’t. This woman is not unique by any stretch.
    And yes…it’s counter to the happy talk about every life you hear from the anti-choicers…because it is real. The same anti-choicers that would have these people born into the world no matter what are no where to be found when it comes time to deal with the result of that lack of choice…because then the world, as far as they are concerned, is an every man for himself Ayn Rand novel.

  40. wr says:

    @Doug Mataconis: “I just don’t understand the mentality of a human being who believes the world would be a better place if they didn’t exist.”

    Exactly. And there are a couple of possible responses at that point. One can work to understand the mentality that is so completely foreign to one’s own. Or one can simply dismiss it as stupid or crazy.

    It’s the fact that you always choose B that is so baffling. I don’t think anyone doubts your intelligence. It’s your complete refusal to acknowledge that there are ways of thinking that are radically different from yours and yet possibly worthy of consideration that is so strange.

  41. @Andy:
    “I think the main problem I see in Beisner’s argument is that it’s a wishful thinking counter-factual.”

    I am not wading into discussion of the article or Doug’s take on it, but wishful, counter-factual thinking is hardly confined to this particular case.

    I have counseled a lot of men and women who start off thinking, “My life would be so much better if – I got a divorce/got a new job/bought a Mercedes/”whatever” – and then imagine the best possible outcome.

    Often the imagined outcome and the present discontent are actually unrelated to each other. Yet the imagined alternative life becomes very real and they simply assume it is not only possible, but actually inevitable. They do not consider that if they do “A,” then there are dozens of potential outcomes, many very negative.

    Perhaps if they had an actual plan to make their imagined outcome come to pass, it would help. But you do not need to plan for inevitability. So they don’t plan and then discover the hard way that inevitability isn’t.

    Whether this has anything to do with the author’s imagined alternative history had she not been born I leave for you to ponder, or not.

  42. Just Me says:

    The same anti-choicers that would have these people born into the world no matter what are no where to be found when it comes time to deal with the result of that lack of choice…

    Where is the evidence that abortion means people don’t have tragic lives?

    Abortion has been legal and a choice since 1973. By this woman’s logic and yours there should be no more poverty, no more child abuse and nobody living a life less than perfect.

  43. C. Clavin says:

    @ Just me…
    That’s one incredible leap of logic you just made.
    The fact is this…Anti-choicers, for instance Romney and Ryan, are the same people who want to eliminate the social safety net. In other words every life is precious…until we need to take some responsibility. In their view life begins at conception…but they lose interest 9 months later when it gets real. Then it is all about the individual. You are on your own, baby. (pun intended)
    Does that mean allowing a woman the choice to do what she wants with her own body will eliminate pain and suffering and struggle? Of course not. That’s ridiculous. How could it? As I said…that’s the sort of happy talk you get from anti-choicers.

  44. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    @wr:

    I don’t often bother trying to distinguish unintelligence from the cluelessness that accompanies privilege blindness. To me, it’s as useful as trying to appreciate the subtle differences in being stepped on by Bass Weejuns vs. Gucci loafers.

  45. Just Me says:

    That’s one incredible leap of logic you just made.

    No bigger a leap than the author of the article makes when assuming her mothers life would have been perfect had she just aborted her.

    The reality is that poverty is still around even though mothers have had the option to abort babies for decades. Child abuse is still a part of our society even though mothers have had the ability to abort their babies for decades.

    The solution to poverty and child abuse isn’t found in the right to kill our children in the womb.

  46. C. Clavin says:

    @ Just Me…

    “…The solution to poverty and child abuse isn’t found in the right to kill our children in the womb…”

    The why do you keep saying it??? No one else is. Are you delusional???

  47. Tylerh says:

    @Console:

    Console:

    By the time your mother knew she was high risk, she didn’t really have much “choice.”

    Placent Previa typical presents symptoms at the end of the second trimester or the start of the third trimester. At that point, any sort of “elective” abortion would almost certainly be riskier to the mother ( and, obviously, the child) than proceeding with a managed high-risk pregnancy.

    I am happy you and your mother came through that risk so well. However, your happy outcome doesn’t apply to the situation described in the article.

  48. Boyd says:

    Beisner accuses “anti-choice” people of emotional blackmail. Irony much?

    Further, how would she (along with others here) react if they were labeled “pro-murder,” a fitting tit-for-tat response?

    “My emotion is understandable and reasonable. Yours is hysterical overreaction.”

  49. jan says:

    I don’t see this article exemplifying self hatred, but rather a person who has not come to terms with a horrific childhood.

    It seems to me the author uses the abortion issue more as a crucible in which to dump all her pain and suffering, storing it there in perpetuity as a monument or marker of this tumultuous time. In a way she continually feeds these angry memories by finding a controversial cause to attach it to — the pro choice versus pro life movements. And, ironically she identifies it as ‘pro-life’ mainly when she references her husband’s ‘pro-life’ support. Otherwise, she labels it ‘anti-choice,’ giving it a more confrontation tilt. By this contextual reference alone Lynn Beisner subtly shows an indulgence in politicizing her story, as a way to counter what she deems is a too rose-colored-glasses transgression of someone else writing a positive pro-life commentary.

    Basically, I think if Ms. Beisner wishes she had been aborted, that reflection is solely hers and should stand as such, without contention or rebukes. OTOH, for someone else to be grateful for not being aborted, that also should stand, and not be looked upon gratuitously or without justified merit.

    The second aspect of this story that I find disturbing is how the author entwined not only her husband but her children into it. There seems to be a certain high-mindedness in her article, being she consulted with her family, beforehand, regarding writing/publishing this piece. Their eventual cooperation and permission, though, does not necessarily mean they were not personally aggrieved by such a public admission, feeling, perhaps, diminished themselves as to their own place and value in her life. It might even be said that Lynn Beisner traded her current family’s peace of mind/comfort zone for a need to bleed out some of her own long-term angst. I would call that less courageous than being a case of therapeutically venting.

  50. @Just Me:

    The solution to poverty and child abuse isn’t found in the right to kill our children in the womb.

    Lynn Beisner did not say or suggest that abortion is the solution to poverty and child abuse. Neither did anyone here.

    But since you brought the subject up, what do you think IS the solution to poverty and child abuse? And do you think if an impoverished, abusive, and mentally ill woman brings into the world a child she doesn’t want and in fact despises and hates, that will be the solution to her poverty and abusiveness?

  51. @MBunge:

    WAAAAAAAY too many folks are just passing over the very clear “I would chose the brief pain or fear of an abortion over the decades of suffering I endured”.

    None of the folks here are passing over that sentence from Beisner’s article. But it does seem as though the majority of us here fail to understand why you, Doug, and a few others here find that statement to be so bizarre. I do not understand why you believe it would be the normal and natural thing for a person who has been savagely beaten, neglected, and told she was worthless every day of her life from the day of her birth to prefer at least 18 years of that to a few minutes of pain and/or fear and then non-existence.

    Frankly, I think it’s beyond weird that you think it’s weird to feel that way.

  52. @Doug Mataconis:

    The woman sees no inherent value in her own life. That’s pretty said and pathetic

    And you would apparently expect her to. Why would you expect her to? I really, truly, and sincerely would like to know why you would expect her to.

    I’m not saying it’s not terribly sad that she sees no inherent value in her life. I just don’t understand why you would expect her to.

  53. Just Me says:

    And do you think if an impoverished, abusive, and mentally ill woman brings into the world a child she doesn’t want and in fact despises and hates, that will be the solution to her poverty and abusiveness?

    But the reality is that she doesn’t have to bring a child into the world if she doesn’t want to and hasn’t had to since 1973. It is a false argument.

    Beisner seems to think if her mother had had an abortion, that her mothers life would have resulted in a wonderful, happy, poverty free life and any future kids would have had a wonderful, abuse free life.

    It is just a false assumption.

    As for the solutions to poverty and child abuse-it is pretty clear that abortion isn’t one of them since abortion has been available since 1973 and there are still poor people and abused children.

    I am also perfectly fine with a safety net for poverty but believe the safety net should be concentrated on the working poor.

    As for child abuse-I think there is way too much of a desire to keep families together and to reunite abused children with their parents who as often as not continue to abuse them. I had friends who were adopting a baby whose parental rights had been terminated after she killed the babies older sibling (the mother was in prison when her baby was born). They ended up losing their baby, because the judge believed you couldn’t terminate the rights to the infant she was pregnant with, because killing one child didn’t mean the baby was at risk.

    The baby went to fostercare while the mother finished out her prison sentence. They stopped trying to adopt through the state system, hired a private lawyer and eventually adopted a minority FAS child out of the state of Florida.

  54. @Just Me:

    But the reality is that she doesn’t have to bring a child into the world if she doesn’t want to and hasn’t had to since 1973. It is a false argument.

    And that’s not an argument that Beisner made in her piece, so I don’t know why you’re bringing it up. Beisner’s point was that her mother DID have the right to terminate her pregnancy, but chose not to. And then ended up brutalizing her child for the next two decades.

    Beisner seems to think if her mother had had an abortion, that her mothers life would have resulted in a wonderful, happy, poverty free life and any future kids would have had a wonderful, abuse free life.

    No, she dosn’t seem to think that at all. She never said anything like that. Read the article again. And again and again and again, if you have to, to get it right. Beisner simply did not say what you say she said.

    As for the solutions to poverty and child abuse-it is pretty clear that abortion isn’t one of them since abortion has been available since 1973 and there are still poor people and abused children.

    And nobody is saying or has said that abortion is the solution to poverty. Beisner is saying that having an abortion — not having a child — would have given her a better chance at a better life. Not a certainty and not a perfect life. And she made this point about her mother’s life specifically — not about anyone else’s life and not about poverty or child abuse in general.

    I am also perfectly fine with a safety net for poverty but believe the safety net should be concentrated on the working poor.

    Why?

    As for child abuse-I think there is way too much of a desire to keep families together and to reunite abused children with their parents who as often as not continue to abuse them.

    That’s an issue we could debate, but there’s no perfect answer. Keeping families together as much as possible is important. It’s in a child’s best interest for her or his parents to be able to get help to manage the issues that are causing the abuse. Some home situations can be improved; some can’t. But it’s no more in a child’s best interest to lose her parents and be put in foster care, which has problems of its own, than it is to keep a child in an abusive home. It’s a difficult balance, hard enough to do under the best of circumstances. And the social service infrastructure we have in this country is not the best of circumstances because we live in a country where children and families are the rock bottom priority, coming way below war, corporate tax cuts and subsidies, and welfare for the wealthy.

  55. However miserable Lynn Beisner is, there is another case in Britain that is truly sobering. The Independent reports of two men there suffering from “locked in syndrome” in which, because of stroke, they cannot move any part of their bodies except their eyes and eyelids. Yet they are mentally disabled not at all and are fully cognizant.

    They brought suit to hold blameless legally anyone who assisted their suicides (meaning, anyone who just plain killed them, since neither man could participate in the slightest).

    The court denied the writ, deferring to issue to Parliament.

    I don’t see how anyone could fail to be highly conflicted over this. Do they wish now they had been aborted? If so, is it reasonable or is it “self loathing?”

    There is no good answer here.

  56. Adrian Luca says:

    @Just Me:

    “As for the solutions to poverty and child abuse-it is pretty clear that abortion isn’t one of them since abortion has been available since 1973 and there are still poor people and abused children..”

    When I read that bit of logic, I immediately thought of the old creationist argument, “if apes evolved into humans, then why are there still apes?”

  57. Auguste says:

    I was adopted as an infant, a couple years after Roe v. Wade. Abortion was 100% an option for my birth mother, whoever she was. I have every reason to believe she made a choice, a choice to carry me to term and adopt me. I’m glad she made that choice.

    I also have no metaphysical revulsion, as Doug seems to be indirectly implying that I (and others in my position) should, at the thought that she might have chosen differently. It doesn’t scare me. It doesn’t creep me out. Because if she had made a different choice, if she had aborted the fetus that was to become me, I would NOT HAVE EXISTED. There wouldn’t be momentary fear, or long-term regret, during and after the abortion, because – no matter how finely we grind the personhood distinction – there is no one who can reasonably argue that a fetus has any ability to feel regret or fear. Or anything.

    The article is expressing a lack of metaphysical fear. There is NO REASON, none at all, to fear abortion after one is born. Beisner’s article simply does not contain what Doug says it does, and after reading Doug’s post and comments, I judge that Doug himself is bothered by the lack of metaphysical fear – which he himself must have in large quantities.

    Because hey, I’m just as qualified to diagnose Doug’s reasons for writing what he did, as Doug is to diagnose Beisner’s.