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Saturday, August 9, 2008

Both Sides of The Question, "What If Your Mother Had Aborted You?"

Frances Kissling, longtime leader of Catholics for a Free Choice, flips around the question that "antichoicers" have asked her for years: What If Your Mother Had Aborted You?"

What if your mother's life would have been significantly happier and healthier if she had not had you? If you as a fetus had the capacity to make decisions, would you have given your life for your mother's life, health and happiness?

Kissling speaks of the miserable conditions under which her own mother conceived, bore, and raised her, and concludes:

As a fetus I would have gladly given up my chance to enter the world and become Frances Kissling to have given my mother a better chance at happiness. Far too much is made of a mother's obligations to her children and far too little of what a child's love for her mother means. If fetuses could love, I think they would be as passionate in defense of their mothers as born children become.

If we are going to imagine, as some do, fetuses as part of the human community, we are going to have to accept that if they could make decisions, they might be as willing to sacrifice for others as we demand that women and only women be.


Kissling is right to challenge the demand for women-only sacrifice. But is it children per se that demand total, all-out, lifetime, self-annihilating sacrifices of women? Is it the fault of the children? Or is the doing of a culture that has too long forced a "choice" between women and their own children, born and already born, and then washed its hands completely of its obligation to fully, actively care for all human beings?

It wassn't right, the male irresponsibility, poverty, stunted life chances, and (no doubt ethnic prejudice) that were forced on Kissling's mother, the daughter herself of a Polish immigrant family. She did not deserve those things. No human does. But would the answer have been for Frances Kissling's life to be taken away even as Frances was beginning?

Why does it have to come down to this, always, always, it seems, when abortion is under discussion--either the sacrificing of the woman, or the sacrificing of the child? How devaluing this setup is to both.

I once heard someone define abortion as the cutting off of human potential, whether before or after birth. By that understanding, our culture aborted Frances Kissling's mother. But why must the solution have been the abortion of Frances Kissling?

If fetuses and women alike were fully embraced as part of the human community--wouldn't they both get sprung from this trap of either-or lethal sacrifice? Wuldn't the community pitch in to first reduce sacrifice on anyone's part to an absolute minimum and then distrubute whatever part it could of whatever is left around as many shoulders as possible?

1 comment:

Voucher Codes said...

This article has strike my brain nervous very badly.