Just now I had to go and check New Jersey's abortion laws, because a conversation I had today made me wonder if I had just slipped into Alabama without knowing it. Still a little shaky, but believing the Kaiser Family Foundation when it tells me that New Jersey does not require an ultrasound before an abortion.
I had a conversation with an acquaintance. I'll call her Davida. We've known each other a long time. The conversation went something like this:
Davida: Guess what? My son's going to be a father!
Anne: Really? Is he going to marry the girl?
Davida: No, but he moved in with her. They were fighting for awhile, but I kicked him out because he was drunk all the time, so he moved in with her. He's pretty shocked about the responsibility. But the girl says he's being nicer to her these days.
Anne: Does he have a job?
Davida: Yes! He works three days a week! He got his degree ... finally. And the mom is almost through with her college work too. Get this: The girl's mother tried to get her to have an abortion. I even talked about it with the girl's mother. I said, "Wow, that's a little life in there!" But the mother wouldn't hear it. She took the girl to the clinic, but they had to have an ultrasound, and when the girl saw the ultrasound, she couldn't go through with it.
Anne: I didn't think that was the law in New Jersey.
Davida: It is! But anyway, the girl is keeping the baby, and my son is just going to have to get used to the idea. He'll have to get a full-time job. Well, after all, he is 25.
Anne: Not making any predictions here, but it sounds like you're going to wind up with a lot of child care.
Davida: Oh no! I'm not going to give them a dime or spend one hour taking care of that baby! It's all on them. I told my son, "All that money you spend partying with your boys is going to have to go toward taking care of that baby!"
Anne: How about the girl's mom?
Davida: Well, she's just furious. She doesn't want a thing to do with it all. This girl hasn't ever gotten along with her mother. That mom isn't going to help out at all. Just think! She wanted the girl to have an abortion! Can you imagine?
At that point, I had heard enough about this little domestic arrangement. The part that puzzled me was the ultrasound. I just looked it up. New Jersey doesn't require an ultrasound. So, did the girl lie, or did the clinic misrepresent the law?
Either way, I feel like I just heard the pre-narrative of another poor human soul who will enter this world in less-than-ideal circumstances. Oh well. All I really wanted to do was to ascertain the laws of my state, because when our governor isn't rooting for the Dallas Cowboys, there's no telling what he's up to.
I suppose in due time I will meet this little tyke, since Snobville's a small town and I do run into Davida a good bit. But I needn't worry. Davida won't be hosting a baby shower. No way. Not one penny for that "little life in there" -- before, during, or after!