My mother’s “birds and bees” talk began and ended with this simple directive: “Don’t bring no babies home because I’m not trying to take care of any.” She meant that. And I was real clear about it. I was to get a college degree. A career. Love. Marriage. And then babies. In that order. She never said it, but I have no doubts that if I’d have messed up her order of things and come home with a baby in my belly, Bettye would have tried to go out like the parents of the pregnant Texas girl who sued her mom and dad for allegedly trying to force her to have an abortion.
I mean, I can’t be sure that this would have been my mom’s reaction. But it sure didn’t seem far-fetched at the time. Which was more than enough for me to keep my legs closed and my books open. Apparently, that hard-line parental message didn’t really get through in time enough for the pregnant Texas girl, who claimed in a lawsuit that after she revealed she was pregnant, her mother took her phone and car and kept her home from school as punishment for refusing to have an abortion, and even threatened to “slip” her an abortion pill. Dad weighed in, according to the lawsuit, by telling the pregnant teen she “needs an ass whoopin’,” and that he was going to “look into canceling” her health insurance. Their ultimatum for their daughter, now 10 weeks pregnant? “Continue to live in misery” at her mom’s home or “have an abortion and tell everyone it was a miscarriage,” the lawsuit said.
Yesterday, attorneys for the teen announced they negotiated an agreement allowing the girl to keep the baby. Her attorney, Greg Terra, hailed the agreement as a victory for both his client and her “absolute legal right to choose life, even over the strong objections, pressure and punishments of her parents.”
I couldn’t agree more with Terra, who also serves as the president of the Austin-based Texas Center for the Defense of Life. The girl does deserve the right to CHOOSE life. Actually, I find it quite humorous that in defending his teen client’s right to have her baby, Terra’s hollering choice—a word that anti-abortion advocates never really give the respect it’s due when we’re talking about a woman’s right to “choose” not to be a mother. Oh, those pesky semantics. Shout out to Terra for helping to advance the arguments of Roe vs. Wade and pro-choice groups the world over, just as Planned Parenthood is fighting to remain a part of the state’s Women’s Health Program, despite a recent court victory giving Texas the right to remove clinics affiliated with Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers—a move that takes away CHOICE for Texas’s teens and women.
“We support this woman and every young woman’s decision, whatever their decision is about their pregnancy,” Heather Busby, executive director of the Austin-based NARAL Pro Choice Texas told The Los Angeles Times. “It’s a victory for women’s reproductive health. It confirms that women should have the ability to determine what happens to their bodies and what happens with a pregnancy, no matter what the choice is.”
Of course, I hope that in choosing life, that little girl is ready to take care of one. Because while that pregnant Texas girl can drop the lawsuit against her parents, call off the anti-abortion hounds and have the courts make her mom and dad pay her phone bill and part of her medical insurance and allow her to keep using her car and marry her boyfriend, she can’t make her parents buy or change diapers, warm up bottles, soothe the baby in the middle of the night, babysit, clothe or otherwise provide financial, physical or emotional support for a child they did not create. Choice, you see, comes with consequences. That much, my mother made very clear. Seems like the pregnant girl’s parents, no matter how misguided and foul they were being, are clear on this, too. All I have to say is, “Get ready boo.”
1. When It Comes to Teen Pregnancy and Sex, CDC Confirms: Teenagers Are Morons
2. How An Unplanned Pregnancy Changed The Way I Want To Talk To My Kids About Sex
3. Facebook Pregnancy Pact: Black Teens Proudly Show Off Group Baby Bumps
4. Roe v. Wade At 40: Pondering Reproductive Rights For Our Daughters
Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.