Battlepanda: Begging the baby


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Begging the baby

The best, most succinct response to the old "if your mother aborted you I bet you wouldn't be pro-choice" canard:

Yes, if my grandmother had ended that pregnancy, I wouldn't be here. But I wouldn't be able to resent my non-existence, and the rest of the world wouldn't be aware of what it was missing; it's hard to say that anyone would have been worse off. In any case, I clearly am here, so speculating about what if I wasn't is a purely philosophical matter with no practical bearing.

What's more, there are any number of choices that had to be made the way they were in order for me to exist. If either of my parents had chosen a different university, they would never have met and I could never have been conceived, but university choices aren't subject to the same debate that abortion is. That doesn't prove, in itself, that the debate isn't justified, but it does go some way towards demonstrating that "What if your mother was pro-choice?" is a red herring as far as the debate is concerned.

The combinations and permutations forming potential human beings are overwhelming, nigh infinite. Like snowflakes, we're all unique and beautiful but, en masse, utterly interchangeable. We don't mourn for the sperm and eggs who don't make it, so I don't know why we should be awfully shook up that some embryos don't make it. I'm not self-centered enough to think that a world without my particular genetic combination would be more miserable than one with. However, I do think that a world where women are forced to bear unwanted children is more miserable than a world where they are not.