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The 'What if your mother had aborted you?' question -- effective?


Responding to state Sen. Wendy Davis' filibuster in support of abortion, Texas Gov. Rick Perry told the National Right to Life conference this week that Davis is an example of why abortion is wrong, not right. Davis was born to a single mother and later became a teen mom herself. But despite these "difficult circumstances," Perry said, she went on to attend Harvard Law school and become a state senator.

"It is just unfortunate that she hasn't learned from her own example that every life must be given a chance to realize its full potential and that every life matters," Perry added.

Over at Slate, writer Jessica Winter dismisses the premise of Perry's point -- that there would've been existential consequences if Davis' mother had aborted her pregnancy. It forces pro-choicers to retroactively argue "against their own existence."  That's not a problem, Winter says:

But as long as the Rick Perrys of our political landscape are happy to concern-troll feminist heroes like Wendy Davis, I am happy to argue retroactively against my own existence. My husband’s, too. It’s easy to do, because we were both extremely unplanned. My husband’s late mother was 18, rural poor, and unmarried. My mother was 39—this was the 1970s, when pregnant 39-year-olds were rare and, at least in our corner of the Rust Belt, a bit strange—with three increasingly self-sufficient older children, ages 15, 11, and 9. [...]

In different circumstances, with different women, perhaps neither my husband nor I would be here. And that’s fine, or rather, we wouldn’t be around to declare it fine or not-fine. We are both rabidly pro-choice, and knowing our mothers’ stories—and Wendy Davis’—only deepens our convictions, just as pro-lifers have anecdotes that deepen theirs...

What I don't understand about such arguments is this: If conservatives are wrong for assuming every life deserves a chance, how are Winters and other pro-choicers right in assuming they don't?  The crux of her argument is that she'd be okay with her mother having an abortion, therefore it is okay for all women to do so.  Underlying this reasoning is a bit of typical progressive logic: My opinion is the one that counts.

PS --  I don't think I'd be comfortable with my spouse so flippantly dismissing my very existence.  I'd love to be a fly on the wall during that couples counseling session...

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