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Monday, March 26, 2007


by Rochelle Ratner

That's right, ladies. Step right up here and claim your money. Five hundred dollars to each and every woman who has the baby then gives it up for adoption, to be paid within thirty days of the baby's birth. Hell, they'll even throw in free medical costs, and that doesn't mean shipping girls off to Walter Reed. Scout's honor. But if that fifteen-year-old impregnated by her uncle decides to keep the baby, deal's off. If that twenty-year-old mother of six decides she can't give this one up either, deal's off. There are infertile women with their arms already trapped in a rocking motion. Registered voters. Republicans. There were 75,000 abortions in Texas last year. Our president's home state. Our former president's home state. Lyndon Johnson's home state. The state where future presidents might be aborted. If they can convince just five percent of the women to go through with their pregnancies, that would save 3,000 lives. Almost as many soldiers as have died fighting in Iraq. Or been caught in Baghdad terrorist attacks. Or struck by Friendly Fire.

Rochelle Ratner's latest poetry books include Balancing Acts (Marsh Hawk Press, 2006), Beggars at the Wall (Ikon, 2006) and House and Home (Marsh Hawk Press, 2003). She is the author of fifteen previous poetry collections and two novels (Bobby’s Girl and The Lion’s Share) both published by Coffee House Press). More information and links to her writing on the Internet can be found on her homepage.