For three days, I felt him move. I named him Fox, for one of the lost boys. They tried to keep him in, but I was unable. Which isn’t to say that I didn’t want to. I wanted to hold him forever. I could have. This isn’t one of those things they let you do. I tried to hold him, I wanted to. It wasn’t meant to be. I’ve had some time to think about it. I won’t be able to do anything else.
Twenty weeks. It’s a seemingly arbitrary measure that recently shattered the lives of Daniel and Taylor Mahaffey as the Austin couple was happily preparing for the birth of a son.
Late on a Wednesday, Taylor Mahaffey, 23 — who had been previously diagnosed with a condition known as incompetent cervix — felt something was off. Having suffered through a miscarriage during a previous pregnancy, the couple rushed to St. David’s North Austin Medical Center only to discover that Taylor’s cervix had prematurely dilated and their son’s legs were already emerging.
Hospital doctors attempted several emergency procedures to keep the developing baby inside the womb, said Daniel Mahaffey, 29. But nothing worked.
“We just wanted him out,” Mahaffey said. “We didn’t want him to suffer.”
But the couple ran into the state’s ban on abortions at or after 20 weeks of gestation, included in strict anti-abortion legislation known as House Bill 2 passed by state lawmakers in 2013. Because the baby and mother were technically healthy, doctors told the Mahaffeys they could not induce labor even though their son would not survive out of the womb.
An epidemic of angry men — their hot breaths melting our final winters — report daily to their small boxes to vent.
Hot rage, white.
Wearing paranoia like house dresses — furfuraceous bodies throbbing underneath — their duty to their country to point and make points from their gray cells, to “well, actually” themselves deep into the ground, to harass birds for bothering to sing in the morning.
The only cure: a mother to bend their molten limbs around cool, steel braces, to say: “I didn’t create you to lose you to the dark like this.”
Texas’ proposed rules requiring the cremation or burial of fetal remains will take effect Dec. 19, according to state health officials.
Despite intense outcry from the medical community and reproductive rights advocates, the state will prohibit hospitals, abortion clinics and other health care facilities from disposing of fetal remains in sanitary landfills, instead allowing only cremation or burial of all remains — regardless of the period of gestation.
Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.) was speaking at a town hall event in Frost, a small town not far from Arlington, when he said he opposed federal legislation protecting women from violence, because it is a state issue. The crowd erupted over Barton’s remarks, and the moment was captured on video.
“Violence against women — that’s a national issue!” an attendee shouted. “That is an issue that impacts everyone, everywhere — not only in this country but everywhere.”
“Cy-Fair has, what, 13 percent Black teachers,” Scott Henry said.
“Do you know what the statewide percent is for Black teachers? 10 percent. Houston ISD, which I’ll use to shine an example, you know what their average percentage of Black teachers is? 36 percent. I looked that up. You know what their dropout rate is? 4 percent. I don’t want to be 4 percent. I don’t want to be HISD. I want to be a shining example. I want to be the district standard. I want to be the premium place where people go to be.”
A mineral-rich nectar drips from our history — not a tart, targeted trickle, but a steady, syrupy stew of exhausted limbs remembering stories upon stories upon sugar — a pile of screaming colors, poking and pointing, straining for meaning, evolving a scene: a new kind of strength was growing.