I’m often amazed by the questions anti-choicers ask in conversations about abortion. They want to know if we know that pregnancy leads to babies, or that babies are people. They ask us if we know that we’re filthy murdering scum.
And, of course, they say things like this, in the comments on an Irish Times article from yesterday:
I remember the first time I heard someone shouting this at me. I was at a counter-demonstration to an anti-choice march. They’d called it a ‘vigil’- but I’ve never seen a vigil to make so much noise. They were booming Queen (QUEEN! Queen is ours. Freddie’d be doing somersaults in his grave if the world made any sense at all) from loudpeakers on their giant buses followed by thousands of people carrying identical signs.
We had made a line at the side of the path, in between the anti-choicers on the road and everyone else. A guy comes up to me. He’s angry. He gets right in my face.
“Aren’t you lucky your Mother is pro-life?”
I just look at him. My mother’s about four people down the line from me, carrying a giant sign saying “Keep your Rosaries off our Ovaries!” So I say “Dude, that’s my mother. I’m glad I know she wanted me.”
Probably not one of my finest moments, but I won’t pretend to be sorry.
Back to our questioners. This guy wants us to think:
He’s right. Here in Ireland abortion has been illegal since 1865. While plenty of resourceful women have found ways to get around that, I’m sure there are plenty of people in the country who would never have been born if their mothers had a choice in the matter. I’ve got a few questions for Oliver, though.
- How many of us would be here if there was something decent on TV when we were conceived?
- How many of us would be here if our grandparents had managed to get our parents to keep their mitts off each other till they’d put a ring on it?
- How many of us wouldn’t be here if our mothers, grandmothers, and great-grandmothers had had the right to say no?
- How many of us would be here if Michael Collins hadn’t been assassinated at Béal na Bláth, Dev hadn’t been able to shove though our deeply misogynist Constitution, 20th Century Irish politics had gone a different direction which caused enough small changes that maybe our grandparents conceived a child the month before one of our parents would have been conceived, so we could never come into being?
- How many of us would be here if so many of our many-greats granduncles and aunts weren’t murdered by British economic policies in the Great Famine?
- Which of us would be here if our many-greats granddad wasn’t forced into marrying our many-greats grandmum, but was able to run off with that nice boy next door instead?
- Or if our granduncle wasn’t shoved into the priesthood and got a job as a builder instead and when your granddad would have met your gran he was actually out for pints celebrating his brother’s first pay packet?
- What if everyone hadn’t been so awful to Germany at the Treaty of Versailles, thereby not shoving a country into a couple of decades of misery and impoverishment and creating fertile soil for the rise of fascist ideologies, meaning that the world had 60 million more people living in it, at least one of whom bumped into an ancestor of yours and jostled them just enough that a different sperm fertilised your other ancestor’s egg and someone else was born instead of you?
What if just before the asteroid hit, a small wee furry mammal didn’t duck quite fast enough to get out of the way of a hungry dinosaur? What if that one little fuzzball was one of our distant ancestors and their absence meant that a slightly different population survived, changing the course of evolution in small but essential ways that, over the course of the past 65 million years, meant that humanity as we know it never evolved? What if another smarter, more compassionate species evolved instead?
- What if your older sister or brother had had a nightmare and come knocking on your parents door just before you got conceived, so they ended up comforting the kid instead?
- What if your mother, grandmother, or seven-greats grandmother hadn’t had the abortion she needed when she was young? What if your grandmother had had an unsafe abortion before your mother was ever conceived, and was never able to have any more kids because of it? How many people wouldn’t be here today if our mothers and grandmothers hadn’t found ways to safely terminate the pregnancies they knew they couldn’t keep?
Maybe stop and think of that.
Even bloggers have to pay the bills! Monthly subscriptions- no matter how small- help give me the security to devote time to this place and keep a roof over my head. If you like what you read, please do help out: