My first born daughter is twenty six years old.
I was young, and pretty much on my own when I got pregnant. I had no family nearby, and her father didn't hold a lot of promise, either. Much of my ongoing young adulthood had been misspent, so to speak. I had no money, no skills, and no one with any power to stand between me and a pack of bullies.
Still, I never considered having an abortion. I don't know why -- I just didn't want one. It is a matter of choice, after all. One might think that was enough to keep the pro-life bullies from bothering me. One might have to think again.
Just about the moment it became obvious that I was expecting, a local minister approached me. I was sitting at a coffee shop and reading room where I sometimes went to meet friends. I was by myself that day, and must have looked like a vulnerable thing. Funny, though, he seemed to know a few things about me.
He started with no small amount of lubrication. He wanted to help me -- he wanted to make things easier for me. He knew I was single and powerless to fend for myself, and wouldn't I like to live at some place for unwed mothers? They could take care of me, and make sure that I was okay. They would make sure that my baby was okay, too. What he didn't say was that "okay" meant adopted out to be raised by someone who wasn't me.
This was obnoxious enough, and I told him I wasn't interested. If that was the end of the story, it would have been nasty, but ending in no greater harm. It didn't end there, though.
A few days went by, maybe a couple of weeks, and I was approached by a distraught woman whose daughter couldn't have children. My baby would be so much better off growing up in a stable home like her daughter's -- and her daughter wanted nothing more than to raise a child. The baby could have anything she wanted. The baby could have everything I couldn't provide.
A little more time passed, and I heard from the woman again. This time, she knew a whole lot about my personal life, and had turned it into something that sounded pretty scandalous. I was something of a party girl at the time, but I'd certainly never had trouble with the law or even with the neighbors. But I was a person of ill-repute, and the baby's father was just no good. In fact, he was much worse. I really wasn't fit to raise a child, and I was going to do real damage to any baby that I would try to raise with him. He was going to leave me, anyway, didn't I know? Didn't I want a stable life for my baby?
Good day, madame.
Maybe two weeks went by, when I ran into the minister again. This time, there was no lubrication. Didn't I know that I was unfit? Didn't I know that Child Protective Services could come after me and take my baby away? All he had to do was tell them about what a terrible mother I'd be, and I didn't stand a chance in front of a judge.
There is no earthy law against lying, even for ministers. I knew he was lying to me, but it scared me to the core, nonetheless. I went home, packed up, and moved to a nearby town, where the baby farmers couldn't find me. A couple of months later, I left the state.
These were the same people who organized against abortion. They were serious, they were ugly, and they wanted my baby. This traumatic experience leads me to think that forced ultrasound bills are after so much more than the immediate harassment at the time of the procedure. That fetus is a commodity, and they don't take losses well.
Margaret Atwood could only imagine.