By: Thomas F. Booher
"I can't wash my hands of these sins? I won't wear a fur coat but I'll abort a baby because it's my choice you say... what sins have I committed?"
This was what she said to me. Never mind that it was my child she carried. Never mind that she was all for having the baby at first, until the pain came, and the shame. Her strict religious family condemned her for getting pregnant, and me for getting her pregnant. Everything was against her, so everything was against my child.
"You killed our baby. I know you don't see it like that, but don't you feel even a bit of guilt? You are so sure that what you did was moral, was normal, was right, that you don't even consider the fact that your choice ended the life of a human being?" She tilted her head back and sighed.
"I didn't want to get pregnant. It was just sex. This wasn't supposed to happen. It's ruined my life. So I left town to start afresh. It's worked out well for me, so I'm pleased with my decision."
It had been nearly a year now since the termination. She moved out of her parent's home a month later to a place no one knew. I tracked her down because I wanted to let her know what she had done to my life, how her rash choice had murdered my son and in so doing destroyed me.
"You never hurt when you think of how you could be holding him right now? How he would be crawling by now? We never even heard him laugh. We never got to."
"We never had to hear him cry either. And you don't have to carry him inside of you, sticking to you like a parasite." Absolute disgust contorted her expression, twisted like a gargoyle.
"A parasite? How can you talk about our baby like this?"
"I can because that's what it feels like to carry something that leeches your life from inside your body. It's like hell. And you know how the doctor said it could be a troubled pregnancy."
"Could be. He never said it would be any harder than any other pregnancy. Neither you nor the child's life was in danger, until you put it in danger." She held up her hand, dismissing my words.
"Whatever. You didn't endure what I did, both the physical and emotional torment. Is this the only reason you came, to tell me all that you have told me before? Did you hope persistence and the passing of time would somehow change me? It hasn't. What I did was what was best for me, and for the baby. It wouldn't have had a chance in this world. I have no money, you have no money, and my family would never help me raise a bastard child!"
"We could have found help!"
I glanced around and lowered my voice, realizing we were on the brink of causing a scene. "There are many places, you know this."
"It's done. I've moved on. You can't change what happened. Are we finished here?"
"No. You've left me no choice. I'm taking you to court over this."
"Over what?" She laughed at the thought.
"Over murdering my son. You should have looked at the state laws before you moved here. I can do this, and I'm going to. If I can bring you the shame you should be feeling, it would be better than nothing. It's the least I can do for him."
"Do what you want, but it won't work. You know I won't have to show up myself."
"I wouldn't expect you to." I stood up and walked out of the coffee shop.
"But your honor, this was my child too. I had just as much a right to what was done as she did."
"Actually, you didn't," the judge said. "The baby was in her body, and as such, it is a matter of privacy and her personal health. Further, the Constitution provides no basis for viewing the unborn as a person."
Case closed. She won and didn't even show up.
The next day I met up with my friend to explain the ruling and lament.
"If discomfort determines who we may and may not kill, I fear more forms of killing will soon be made legal." My friend tried to comfort me by joining in my misery.
"It's the job of the courts, of the law to administer justice. How is it just to allow the killing of the unborn simply to alleviate the pain of the born?"
"Well, it's a unique situation, life inside of another life, which one takes priority? That's what they struggle with."
"Life," I said. "Life takes priority. Not quality of life. Her temporary affliction cannot justify the killing of my baby."
"Obviously," my friend began with care, "this nation doesn't see it that way."
I opened my mouth to add more, but the news reporter on the television caught my ear:
"Breaking news- this just in, yet another Christian has been beaten in the streets. Eyewitnesses say the man was preaching on the corner, telling others that they were sinners and needed forgiveness through Christ to avoid the righteous wrath of God. When a gay couple passing by challenged him to denounce their shows of affection, he obliged, saying their actions were a detestable thing in the site of God and that marriage was established by God in Scripture as one man and one woman coming together. This upset the couple and others who heard him in the heavily populated market, and the beating started.
Since the law change last month, which states: when a person provokes another person to attack him or her through hate speech, the provoker is to be charged with provocation, and the assaulter should not be imprisoned but only fined at an amount determined by the state, 47 cases of "provoked assault" have been reported, with each "provoked assaulter" paying their fines and being discharged within several hours."
The beaten man lay on the ground, his face swollen from the pounding he had taken, blood covering his face from a cut above his eye. His clothes were torn and he groaned in pain, barely maintaining consciousness. Some policeman had stepped in and stopped the brutality before he could be finished off, and an ambulance had just arrived on the scene. Some bystanders looked on with amusement, others in horror. It was clear by the expressions in the crowd who supported the beatings and who sympathized with the one beaten.
I looked at my friend, "This is not far from here. I would like to talk to this man who was beaten. I want to know where he finds such boldness to stand for what he believes."
"It's his religion. Some will die for it and their convictions."
"Well, maybe that kind of conviction is just what we need." I paid my bill, said goodbye to my friend, and made for Montgomery hospital.
It was January 3rd, and I passed by a billboard that still read:
Welcome to the year 2029.
I was determined this one would be different.
TO BE CONTINUED