No Exceptions

This commentary dialogue was submitted by WV CAG member Bettijane Burger. Burger is a retired teacher and a former president of the WV National Organization for Women.


     “Mommy, I feel bad that Daddy’s in jail.”

      Mom enfolded her. “Oh, don’t think that. He hurt you and now you have to have this baby.”

     “Mommy, the kids at school make fun of me. The teachers have trouble looking at me. The school nurse checks me with tears in her eyes. Can’t I just stay home and take school online?”

     “You know our internet coverage is spotty out here. I can’t stay home with you. I need to work now that Daddy’s in jail.”

     “Where do you work?”

     “At a shelter for kids.”

     “Why do kids need a shelter?”

     “Well, sometimes their families can’t take care of them. They have their own problems.”

     “Parents shouldn’t have kids unless they can care for them.”

     Mom wiped away a tear. “You are wise beyond your years.”

     The child looked out the window. “Do you realize the baby’s daddy is also her grandfather? What will the baby call him?”

      Mom laughed in spite of herself. 

      “Mommy, why am I having a baby? I don’t feel well and I’m only in middle school. I wanted to be in the school play. I’m afraid.”

      “Because a group of legislators said you have to have it.”

      “But I don’t even know them. My doctor is so worried about me. A baby! Is it like dressing up a doll and carrying it around?”

      Mom rubbed her forehead. “Oh, there is so much care involved. Feeding, changing diapers. I wish your grandparents were alive. I don’t know how we’ll manage.”

      “Oh, Momma, I don’t feel so good.”

      Mom hugged her and touched her warm face.

      The child looked at her, a puzzled look on her face. “Momma, I’m bleeding.”


      At the gravesite, the mom was gratified to see the now serious students, the tearful teachers, the doctor who tried to save their lives.

      He banged is fist angrily on the tombstone. “She never would have carried it to term.” 

      No legislators attended the funeral nor sent cards. One legislator murmured to a reporter, “It was God’s will.”

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