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Why the “What if I Hadn’t Been Born” Question So Annoys “Pro-choicers”

by | Oct 26, 2011

By Dave Andrusko

Rachael Larimore

Since I write pretty much non-stop for ten hours a day, it wouldn’t surprise you that I appreciate genuine insights into a battle that can easily slip into ruts. That’s a way of introducing “Prochoicers Hate the ‘What if I Hadn’t Been Born’ Question. Here’s Why,” which appeared yesterday on

Written by Rachael Larimore, Slate‘s managing editor, the article’s opening paragraph beautifully frames the issues she will thoughtfully illuminate

“The pro-choice movement relies on a carefully crafted image to make its position seem responsible and caring: that women should be allowed to abort their unplanned pregnancies because unwanted children grow up poor, neglected, abused or some combination thereof. It can’t allow for the possibility that some ‘unwanted’ children actually grow up in loving homes and become responsible, even successful, adults; or that couples who take responsibility for unplanned children can be as good of parents as couples who wait until they’re ready to have a family.”

And, as Larimore explains, that applies to…an awful lot of us, coming from imperfect family backgrounds; having been adopted; or even being the child of rape.  

Larimore herself was born to teenage parents the year before Roe v. Wade was decided. She writes, “I don’t know what would have happened had abortion been legal in Ohio then, but the timeline is such that I’ve always counted my lucky stars to have been given a chance to be born.”

Larimore’s launching pad is one of those hideous screeds that appear on pro-abortion sites in which pro-lifers are reduced to “misogynist sex-phobes.” Referring to the author of that particularly odious comment Larimore asks

“Is that your blanket assessment of the pro-life movement? Can you not allow for the possibility that someone who is opposed to abortion has turned the issue over in their mind repeatedly, that they’ve struggled with it?”

   Among the most important considerations in Larimore’s article is that she makes clear that pro-lifers do not see the world through rose colored glasses. We are fully aware that carrying a crisis pregnancy to term requires courage and character and commitment. That is why we salute these women and girls and believe that women helping centers do saintly work, complementing the equally important educational and legislative work of National Right to Life.

And then there is this, a hugely important consideration that ultimately separates pro- and anti-lifers: “But once something has been done, it can’t simply be undone.”

Pro-abortionists scoff. Of course you can: abort the kid and get on with your life.

Pro-lifers see a fellow member of the human family, however young and underdeveloped, and say she or he deserves a chance to get on with their life, too. Larimore observes

“An aborted fetus had a heartbeat, and a brain, and, depending on the gestational age, tiny arms and legs and maybe even fingers and toes. It was human.”

Not being a religious person, Larimore doesn’t believe that God has a purpose for her and is convinced that her being here is “accidental and miraculous and I value every second of it.”

She concludes by admitting that, hey, she doesn’t know if the world is a better place because she is in it.

“Frankly, I’m rather average and to a stranger might not appear the least bit interesting. There’s nothing remarkable about being a working mom with three kids living in the burbs and schlepping to Target in my SUV.  But my life is precious to me.”


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