Rick Perry – What if Your Mother Aborted You

“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.” – Rick Perry

Rick Perry said that at the National Right to Life Conference (I wonder if the National Right to Life Conference is anti-death penalty?) about Senator Wendy Davis after her marathon 13 hour stall for time (AKA a filibuster) last week.

At the core of this argument is an idea of “What if you never existed? WHAT IF YOU WERE THAT BABY!”

Now this is seen as a “killer question”, a question akin to my “Explain Human Immunity” one to the anti-vaccine quack lobby which is meant to cause anyone subject to it from a pro-choice standpoint to lose.

And that’s because it’s a complex answer. The question is a few words, the answer is an essay.

The reason why it’s hard to answer is because you have to delineate your argument according to different points in your life. The you of today is different from the you of zygote/embryo/foetus.

A zygote/embryo/foetus is a human in potential. It CAN become human if it continues. It has the potential. However it is not that. It is at the time entirely reliant on a mother.

Let us remember that only 30 to 50% of fertilised eggs result in a pregnancy. The rest either fail to implant or miscarry. Now ask yourself the question, what if the egg before yours implanted. What if your egg failed to implant or was miscarried? Want to ask yourself more questions? Out of the 4 to 8 million sperm per mm3 of ejaculate, why did just one make it? You are literally 1 in 10s of millions to begin with, what if another sperm won that first race?

For starters? You wouldn’t notice. The pro-life argument works under the notion that you actually had the consciousness you have now at the time of conception which is blatantly not true considering babies are not born “conscious” and have to develop further in order to even recognise people by sight. It is a bundle of reflexes. It slowly learns and develops and in fact it learns from watching parents. I have written about how nearly every language thinks mum and dad are the first words of a baby when in fact it is the first words we assign to random noises babies make.

In any of these cases, YOU the person you are now would cease to have ever existed. In your place someone else may exist or may not exist. Life would be different for those you know in some small way and people who your life touched will probably never have those experiences.

Sad right? But that could happen due to ANY decision in your life. What if Avicenna went to Uni in the UK? You wouldn’t be reading my blog! What if I wanted to be a priest? You defiinitely won’t be reading my blog!

Let’s take Rick Perry. Rick Perry is of the notion that the precise genetics that make him up matter. In the majority of cases they do not. If we cloned Hitler and raised him to be kind, courteous and to be the best he could be, then he would be nothing like his “evil” genetic source. The person you are is not determined by your foetal time unless you have a genetic issue. Most of us do not and are not affected by issues from this period.

The foetus is a person in potential. If it is aborted, then that foetus didnt’ matter. If it is carried to term it is the framework and foundation of a human being.

Now there is the problem of the focus on an entity that for all intents and purpose is a collection of cells instead of the genuine human being carrying it and this argument relies on the notion that you see all foetuses as humans rather than remember they are human only in potential.

Oh you can listen to anecdotes. I was born to this family and had these terrible circumstances and ended up fine. Never mind the statistics! I beat the statistics! My parents worked 2 jobs to keep me! I am so proud of that.

Why? Why are you proud that your parents had to work to death to keep you in spuds? Surely if you were a foetus with no mind of it’s own and had no future you would want your parents to not have to work to death to keep you? What about people who cannot work more than what they do?

What if you bring a child into suffering? Where you take a human in potential and convert it into a human with no certain future?

It is known that parents who can select and control when they have a child are universally healthier. They tend to be more secure financially  and require less state care. In addition the children tend to be better raised.

So what if my mother aborted me?

Well if my mother had waited a year, she would have aborted me. You see my mother contracted Rubella after I was born. German Measles. For those who are unaware? German Measles is a harmless disease unless you are a foetus in which case it causes a variety of congenital disorders. The recommendation is abortion.

I would cease to have existed, my achievements would not have occurred and I would not have made a mark on humanity of any sort. No one would weep or cry for my non-existence because I would NEVER have existed. Just like the millions of futures that cease to exist through every conscious decision in my life. In short? I would not even notice my lack of existence just as the conscious decisions I make with regards to coming to India means that the future of me doing something else in the UK doesn’t exist. That Avicenna is “dead”.

That zygote/embryo/foetus being terminated is like that. The cells are jettisoned, the potential to be a human is lost just as surely as it would if the mother had miscarried. It’s no different from it. There is no hypothetical future for this because a future because we aren’t mind readers. We cannot say that this foetus will grow up to be a Hitler and this will grow up to be a Gandhi.

But through all this we never think of the mother. What is her potential? Why must a potential human hold back the actions of a real one? Surely the potential of a zygote would improve if the mother could control when she wanted to deliver a child. After all, a 16 year old dropping out of school to care for a kid has infinitely worse prospects than a 28 year old with an education and a set career to care for a child. If we are talking about potential? Then why should a mother be forced to raise a zygote with worse future potential than one with a superior potential? Why must she struggle to bring up a child in sub par conditions when a simple termination of the child at a stage when the child is nothing but non-functional cells may result in a future child being born under better conditions?

To claim that abortion robs this hypothetical child of a future and that this hypothetical child may go on to great things is to forget that delivery of this foetus will rob the future of the mother and indeed another child who may have a “better future” and also go on to great things.

There is a fascination with the anecdote of a “poor child from a bad background done good” and this anecdote forgets that for every child that does good there are plenty of other children who simply fall into the cracks of society under the same circumstances.

Let’s put real humans in front of potential ones. Especially if we are discussing potential of a bunch of cells.


  1. says

    What if my mother had aborted me? It would be the same as if my parents had never had sex, or had had sex at a diferent time so as to conceive a child from different egg and sperm cells with different DNA. You really don’t need an essay to answer that question. (And besides, the people who ask the question won’t be reading your essay anyway.)

  2. Anthony K says

    What if my mother had aborted me?

    About the same outcome as if my pregnant mother lived near a fertilizer plant in Waco, Texas. What’s your point, Rick Perry, you murderous piece of shit?

  3. ButchKitties says

    What if my mother had aborted me? What if my parents hadn’t had sex the night I was conceived? What if the man who drunkenly plowed his car into my dad’s first fiancee (who was not my mother) had decided to call a cab instead of driving with a belly full of whiskey?

    They’d all have the same effect: preventing my existence.

  4. opposablethumbs says

    If I hadn’t had an abortion both of those two times I had an IUD failure when I was younger, my two (gorgeous, wonderful, talented, fantastic … actually they’re just a couple of nice people: I’m biased as all hell and I’m fine with that :-) ) kids would never have been conceived and so would not exist. They wouldn’t be studying biochemistry and playing jazz reeds right now.
    My kids are alive thanks to the fact that I could get an abortion when I needed one.

  5. Esteleth, the most colossal nerd on Pharyngula says

    What if my mother had aborted me? Unlike perhaps many people, I can actually answer that question.

    Let’s set the obvious answer (I would feel nothing, because I would not exist) aside for just a second.

    If my mother had aborted me, it would have been because she, a deeply religious woman, had faced the catastrophic failure of a very much wanted pregnancy and had gotten an abortion. Such an abortion probably would have been relatively late-term (as terminations of failed wanted pregnancies usually are), and she probably would have been devastated.

    I can actually answer that question, you see, because I know something about myself and my mother’s views on the pregnancy that resulted in me: she was overjoyed. She wanted to be pregnant. She chose to be pregnant. She chose to have a child. She wanted and chose so passionately she had fertility treatments. She and my father tried to conceive for several years, enduring multiple rounds of unpleasant (and expensive) treatments until her doctor gently suggested that maybe it was time to admit that it wasn’t happening and, maybe, look into being foster or adoptive parents.

    They reluctantly agreed, but decided to try one last time.

    And thus it was that in the spring of 1984, my mother learned that she was pregnant.

    I’m not sure when I learned all of this information, but I’d guess it was around 2000 or so – when I was fifteen.

    My reaction?

    My beliefs on choice hardened.

    A woman has the absolute right to control her own body and decide if and when she reproduces. And no one has the right to tell her otherwise.


    My mother chose me. She was not badgered and coerced into having me. She willingly underwent invasive, uncomfortable, and energy-draining procedures to further her goal of being a mother.

    And I am expected to take “what if your mother aborted you?” as anything less than an insult and a wish for harm directed at her?

    Growing up, I knew children who were not wanted. Even if they were not outright neglected, there was that tinge of resentment, of regret in their parents’ voices. And I saw how the children were pained by it. Hell, I saw how the parents were pained by it.

    And I – for all the times that I drove my mom up the wall and reduced her to quivering rage – have never felt that.

    Attempting to dictate by fiat a woman’s reproductive history will increase the number of children who are unwanted and decrease the number who are wanted.

  6. naturalcynic says

    In some ways it can go back to predestination. Their thinking is that abortion is somehow thwarting God’s plan – but what if a specific abortion was Gods plan? How can you tell the difference?
    It seems to me that anti-abortion people seem to view themselves [and everyone else] as specially pre-ordained snowflakes – that God only wants that particular sperm and egg to be fertilized, implanted and successfully carried to term. There so many “what if’s” that they don’t want to consider:
    What if daddy thrusted just a little farther or a little shorter when he came? then it would have been a different sperm and they would have been someone else.
    What if daddy diddled mommy slightly longer? it all comes out different…
    Can people consider the long string of possibilities that occurred in the formation of themselves?
    What if my big brother was fussy that night and disrupted something from going on [he’s only 14 months older].
    Don’t consider the endless stream of possibilities.

  7. kemist, Dark Lord of the Sith says

    At the core of this argument is an idea of “What if you never existed? WHAT IF YOU WERE THAT BABY!”

    An argument that is so easy to turn upon the pompous dingleberries who spew it that it’s surprising they still use it.


    Why, the world just might be a slightly better place, and its collective IQ might be raised by a small fraction !

  8. DrewN says

    If my mother aborted me, I wouldn’t be here & I literally couldn’t care in the slightest (‘cuz I wouldn’t be here). If my my mom gave my dad a blowjob that night it would be the same outcome.

  9. atheist says

    I feel that the answer to this question is actually super-simple: “If my mother had aborted me, then I wouldn’t be worried about it, now would I?”

  10. says

    “What makes you think she didn’t?”

    There’s actually no reason to assume I wasn’t aborted: there were no laws against it, it was available, my parents have no ethical or religious beliefs that would prevent it. There’s only one possible conclusion to draw, if you’re starting with that mindset.

  11. atheist says

    At the core of this argument is an idea of “What if you never existed? WHAT IF YOU WERE THAT BABY!”

    Now this is seen as a “killer question”, a question akin to my “Explain Human Immunity” one to the anti-vaccine quack lobby which is meant to cause anyone subject to it from a pro-choice standpoint to lose.

    I guess the question “what if you never existed” might cause certain folks, who haven’t thought about things a lot, to get scared. Personally, I’ve thought about nonexistence perhaps too much, and so it doesn’t really faze me.

  12. Randomfactor says

    If my mother had aborted me, someone else would be standing here pointing out that Rick Perry is a worthless waste of gestation, education, and civilization.

  13. smrnda says

    It’s unoriginal how, but if my parents hadn’t have had sex on that precise occasion, same result. I guess I should be against celibacy then.

    I like to turn this around with religious people. They’re typically opposed to having sex outside of marriage, but a lot of people were conceived that way. Are they saying that those people *shouldn’t exist?*

  14. Anutherya says

    When my mother got pregnant, she was told that the pregnancy was going to be high-risk, either the baby (me) or her, or BOTH, could die at delivery. She could have aborted me. I mean, I wouldn’t be able to tell her so, but I wouldn’t hate her for choosing the less risky option and save her life and have had kids a bit later. But my mother, althought not that massively religious, is a stubborn one, and a nurse (I am not sure if my father, who is the openly religious one, had a say in this story), and decided to consciously take the odds. She even made arrangements so that my grandparents would take me over if she were to die. Fine enough, it went ok, and after two further failed pregnancies, I also got a brother and a sister. My point here is following: I said I wouldn’t hate her for choosing the easy option (not that I could, if I never existed), but, when I was told the story, already as a teenager, I was more relieved for me than for her. I don’t know what kind of person I could have been if my mother would had died and I would have survived. How could I have grown up with the regret of being the major reason for her death. How my father would behave towards me. I would have rather wished that she would have aborted me, that I would never have been born.

  15. Corvus illustris says

    It was a commonplace in western classical antiquity that it would have been best never to have been born. This is certainly true of Mr Perry, though he doesn’t seem to realize it.

    Not to be born is, past all prizing, best.

    (Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus.)

  16. gshelley says

    Unless you are the “19 children and counting” (or whatever) family, your parents will have stopped somewhere. There may be some hard core catholics, or people with no access to contraceptives who don’t make a conscious decision, but most couples actively say “OK, no more children”
    So, if my mother hadn’t aborted me, the answer is “I wouldn’t be here, just like my younger sister that was never conceived”

  17. sillose says

    what if my mother had been pressured (or flat out forbidden) into not aborting me (she considered it) and despised me since before my birth as the physical avatar of her oppression, her mistake, and the fact that the world does not care for her or her desires? a constant reminder that she did not have agency, did not matter, did not have ownership even of her own flesh? i dont think i could have endured living for eighteen years with someone to whom i was that. would i have been a queer autistic gender non conforming kid under state care? because that sounds like a story with an equally fucking happy ending, and im telling you one of those two things would have happened if it hadnt been her genuine choice (its not a choice if you dont have alternatives) to have me. why dont i ever hear this question asked? why should that ever be inflicted on both the mother and the potential child?

  18. leftwingfox says

    Looks like you were wrong Avicenna. The question is a few words, the answer is not an essay.

    It’s many, many good essays.

  19. lpetrich says

    This is the “look who would be aborted!” argument. It’s usually framed as someone good and great having been aborted. But that argument can work both ways.

    Consider the case of a certain Klara Poelzl of Braunau am Inn, Austria-Hungary. In late 1888, she had discovered that she was pregnant yet again. She had had three children earlier, but they had all died in infancy. Did she want to take that risk again? She decides not to, and she gets an abortion.

    Or the case of a certain Ketevan Geladze of Gori, Asian Georgia, in the Russian Empire. In early 1878, she had discovered that she was pregnant yet again. She had had two children earlier, but they had all died in infancy. Did she want to take that risk again? She decides not to, and she gets an abortion.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>