I never cease to be amazed at the feeble-mindedness of people who are supposed to be smart.
Just when you thought they couldn’t get any dumber Lynn Beisner has posted a column entitled: “I wish my mother had aborted me.”
For the record, “Lynn Beisner” is a pseudonym. The author is so proud of her thought that she refuses to take credit for it.
Beisner is up in arms at pro-life activists who argue their case by telling her that she must be somewhat grateful that her mother had not aborted herself, because otherwise she would not exist.
Beisner finds this idea to be offensive, so, contrary soul that she is, she retorts: “I wish my mother had aborted me.”
In her words:
It is true that in the past 12 years, I have been able to rise above the circumstances of my birth and build a life that I truly love. But no one should have to make such a Herculean struggle for simple normalcy. Even given the happiness and success I now enjoy, if I could go back in time and make the choice for my mother, it would be abortion.
To be clear, Beisner is saying that it is altogether possible to overcome the pain of a bad childhood and to have a good life. In fact, she might even claim that her achievements are all the more exceptional given her background.
If not, she would have had to argue that her childhood was not as bad as she thinks.
Anyway, Beisner is saying that she does not wish she had never been born. She only wishes that her mother had aborted her. Got it?
If you, like Beisner, are confused Lauren O’Neal at Slate wants to set things straight:
In O’Neal’s words:
What’s remarkable about this piece is that it comes from a perspective not of despair or bitterness but of compassion. It’s not that Beisner is miserable and wants not to exist. Rather, she wishes her mother had had the resources to make a better decision “because I love her and want what is best for her.”
Clearly, she is going beyond the call of altruism. In a “back to the future” moment Beisner would obliterate her life, her achievements, her accomplishments, even her children in favor of, what exactly?
Is she willing to sacrifice her life to save her mother? If so, why would it befall her to make the decision in her mother’s place? Wasn’t it all her mother’s free choice? If so, why would she be interfering?
Besides, wishing to have been aborted is precisely the same as wishing not to have been born. If Beisner wanted to draw a distinction, she should have expressed herself better.
Perhaps there’s a hidden subtext here. Is Beisner really saying that she would be willing to give her life for the feminist cause? Would she happily give up her life if she could make an ideological point?
Neither Beisner nor O'Neal understands that the wish not to have been born constitutes a statement of despair and anguish.
Unfortunately, Beisner is trafficking in what any psychiatrist or psychologist would recognize as suicidal ideation.
In her version:
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. Any positive contributions that I have made are completely offset by what it has cost society to help me overcome the disadvantages and injuries of my childhood to become a functional and contributing member of society.
People who think about committing suicide think thoughts just like this. Why would anyone want to make them into feministically correct thinking?
We really do not want young people to be thinking that they are a “net loss” and that if they were not around their mothers would be happier and healthier. Do we?
We might be willing to forgive Beisner because she really does not seem to know what she is doing, but responsible adults should not be in the business of supplying teenagers with reasons to commit suicide.
If anything should have been aborted it is Beisner’s unfortunate column.
To justify her depressive thinking Beisner explains how her mother’s life would have been if she had listened to her daughter and aborted her.
It goes like this:
An abortion would have absolutely been better for my mother. An abortion made it more likely that she would finish high school and get a college education. At college in the late 1960s, it seems likely that 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.
Her life may have been better, but then again it may not have. Beisner does not know. We don’t either.
Beisner has invented a counterfactual of what might have happened to her mother if her mother had not been saddled with her, the child, incidentally, of a rape.
Of course, there is no way or proving or disproving a counterfactual. At the least, we can see that Beisner harbors a naïve believe that feminism and therapy would have helped her mother overcome her traumas and live happily ever after. It's a fantasy like another. I find it implausible.
Unfortunately, Beisner and most other writers see women having to choose between abortion on the one hand and bringing up an unwanted child on the other.
You will naturally be thinking: what about adoption? Why couldn’t Beisner’s mother have put the child up for adoption? Then mother would have been able to become a feminist and daughter would have had a better life.
To her credit Beisner addresses the issue:
An abortion would have been best for me because there is no way that my love-starved trauma-addled mother could have ever put me up for adoption. It was either abortion or raising me herself, and she was in no position to raise a child. She had suffered a traumatic brain injury, witnessed and experienced severe domestic violence, and while she was in grade school she was raped by a stranger and her mother committed suicide. She was severely depressed and suicidal, had an extremely poor support system, was experiencing an unplanned pregnancy that resulted from coercive sex, and she was so young that her brain was still undeveloped.
Perhaps child-protective services did not exist at the time, but aren’t social agencies supposed to protect children from just such parents?
If Beisner’s mother did not have the mental capacity to make that decision herself child protective services should have stepped in and made it for her.
It is possible that a woman who was suffering from a “traumatic brain injury” was not fit to be a mother or to make the decision on her own.
Beisner paints a gruesome picture of her childhood. She 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 organizations. 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. Before the age of 14, I had never been to a sleep-over, been allowed to talk to a friend on the phone, eaten in a restaurant, watched a television show, listened to the radio, read a non-Christian book, or even worn a pair of jeans.
And yet, did you notice Beisner’s wish to blame it all on Christianity. The church was the only organized group that tried to help, but its pastor is “schizophrenic, narcissistic, and sadistic.”
One accepts that no child should have to suffer what Beisner suffered, but do you think that not having had a sleepover, not wearing jeans, not watching a television show and not reading a non-Christian book constitute child abuse?