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Pro-choice daughter, pro-life Mom debate abortion

by | Nov 16, 2021

By Dave Andrusko

Talk about a riveting, down to brass tacks discussion over abortion. To read Kathleen Walsh, who is pro-choice and never pregnant, talk for the umpteenth time (but the first time in print!) with her Mom, who is pro-life, is nothing short of fascinating.

The story of their very different opinion is found in “Talking About Abortion With My Mom I’m the reason she’s against it, she says. She’s the reason why I don’t agree.”

A couple of preliminaries. Kathleen Walsh gets to add “a note for clarification.” Each “clarification” is hopelessly one-sided and designed to trivialize what her Mom just said. Her Mom, by contrast, does not get to “clarify” anything.

For example, Walsh is pushed over the question of late abortions. She begins by evading the question—“You know that ‘late-term’ abortion; doesn’t mean anything. It’s not a real thing”—and then airily dismisses the whole topic: “You are aware that Roe v. Wade only guarantees the right to an abortion pre-viability.”

If Mom had been asked, she could have pointed out that this is not true. Abortion is legal after viability and extends all the way to that point in pregnancy where the abortionist won’t annihilate out of a sense of fear and trembling and nausea.

To Walsh, her Mom’s deep sense of responsibility is both irritating and mystifying. Walsh endlessly tests her Mom, including phony baloney what-ifs, such as what if you needed blood transfusions and there was only person with matching blood, is that person required to give that to you?

Her Mom says there is a difference. What?

Mom: They’re not inside of you. They’re not part of you. You didn’t make them. You didn’t make them. You didn’t make the problem, as it were. It’s like, when you have a baby, you are responsible. If someone just needs blood transfusions, that doesn’t make you responsible. If you put that baby inside of you, you are responsible. Whatever your choice, you are responsible.

Kathleen: F@#$ that.

Mom: Really. I was not responsible for you?

Walsh justifies her own position by turning her Mom’s into an exercise in self-justification:

Here’s my theory: Because she felt like a mother as soon as the pregnancy test came back positive, and because she leans toward a very self-sacrificial view of motherhood, to argue that she, or any pregnant person, could or should have chosen her own life over her fetus’ feels like I’m throwing all her maternal love back in her face. This Selfless Mom thing of hers is also why she called to console me after Ruth Bader Ginsburg died, knowing what it would mean to me.

Actually, it’s not just a very self-sacrificial view of motherhood,” it’s a sense of obligation that you sense Walsh is oh so glad she doesn’t possess. And that her Mom called to console her daughter at the death of Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is not  merely this “Selfless Mom thing of hers” but rather a keen ability to empathize.

 This could go on as long as their discussion but let me focus on one component. Walsh is comfortable with arguing that an “early” abortion doesn’t really count because no one else (besides the mother) knows. The child literally doesn’t exist. Being “wanted,” as it were, is the Abracadabra that turns the whatever-it-is previously into a person:

Kathleen: I exist because you chose for me to exist. You decided that you wanted me.

Mom: Before I decided you existed, you still existed. If I ended that existence, I would have ended it, but I would have ended an existence.

Kathleen: But it wasn’t me.

Mom: Of course it was you. Every part of you was there. Every cell, every part of you was there.

Things get very intense—and I suspect Walsh was shouting and her Mom was more composed. It’s more about  who is affected if you are not “wanted”:

Kathleen: So what? Like, I didn’t matter to anybody. The only value I had in the world was the value I had for you.

Mom: And your dad and your grandparents and everybody.

Kathleen: If you had never told them that you were pregnant, life would’ve gone on fine.

Mom: It doesn’t turn you into an invisible thing that never happened because I didn’t tell people. It’s like, if a tree falls in the forest and no one’s there to hear it, does it make a sound. Yeah, it does.

Kathleen: But, who cares?

Mom: Your heart’s beating whether anybody knows about it or not.

Kathleen: Well, who cares? Mom: I care. I care and half of the people in the world care.

“I care and half the people in the world care” is a response Walsh can’t answer.

Categories: Abortion