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We’d chosen to wait initially for a host of reasons, the strongest one for me being that I had been raising kids for the last ten to twelve years of my life and couldn’t see myself having the energy to plunge back into the world of poopy diapers and snotty noses. “I just think that I could love you again if you were a mother.” Speechless, I told him to get out of the car. “There’s no way in hell I’d bring a kid into this mess if we can’t fix this on our own.” It was our last big fight.

Two years into our marriage, I’d had a few pregnancy scares and each time as I waited for my period, I had had nightmares and panic attacks, unable to shake a deep-set terror of being trapped at home with a baby and no life outside the home. We stopped communicating shortly thereafter, and the next time I had a real conversation was at the courthouse after our divorce hearing. Because I was running late for my gynecologist appointment to get myself an IUD.

They celebrated Ronald Reagan’s presidency and encouraged his refusal to act on the HIV/AIDS epidemic, which was killing thousands, largely because they saw it as fundamentally a judgment from God on the “immoral” behavior of homosexuals. As a result, President Reagan eventually did act, releasing a series of PSAs about the epidemic…but these were all focused on kids, the future of the religious crusade for a Christian United States.

Also part of this movement was the rise of Operation Rescue, a Christian group that encouraged protest (and, loosely, some terrorist-style) tactics against abortion practitioners and those receiving abortion services.

I was raised in a fundamentalist Christian community — the church we attended could fairly be called a cult, and my parents took things a step further than even our church did, homeschooling and raising nine kids. We were part of a larger movement now called “Quiverfull,” the term taken from a Psalm where the writer talks about God blessing the man whose “quiver is full of arrows.” The metaphor refers to children, and our community understood this to be a command: Have children and raise them in this aggressively conservative faith, and then there will be more “true” believer Christians in the world to bring about cultural revolution in the name of Jesus Christ.

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