“Can I hit it raw?” Her face is in my hands and she teases, “Is that how you say love in thug?” Our legs are locked around each other. “And if I became pregnant?” We stare eye to eye, measuring the desire hidden in the dare. “If it’s a boy let’s name him William Bennett.”

I tell her that William Bennett, the former Education Secretary, made a case for the pre-natal genocide of Black people. On his radio show Morning in America, he was debating a caller when his thinking took a sinister turn. He said, “If you wanted to reduce crime, you could – abort every Black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down. That would be an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down.”

On Fox News Sunday, conservative Brit Hume affirmed Bennett’s position, while liberal Juan Williams countered, saying Bennett gave “power to an offensive idea.” He was half right. Ideas get power because power has to use ideas to justify itself. If violence were the only measure of authority, society would be a bloody scene. The ruling elite use ideas to create the illusion of tradition to sanction their power.

So we are told that poverty exists because the poor are lazy and crime will go down if Blacks stop having babies. What Juan Williams and other liberals should’ve said is crime doesn’t come from the wombs of Black women but the society that sanctions their poverty and that poverty itself is a crime against humanity.

Babies aren’t born poor or Black; their bodies are blank slates on which history is written. The history we inscribe on them will shape their lives before they have the power to read it. Inevitably the day comes when that child will look in the mirror and ask if this is who s/he wants to be. If so, the history will seem an eternal truth; if not, it will seem an alibi for their murder.

“I’ve had three abortions,” she said, “RU-486 each one.” Her voice was formal as if talking about someone else. She told me, at the time, having a baby seemed the only way to be loved. She would have a reason to live, to work and to triumph.

“I wanted the dream,” she explained, “to be a good girlfriend and mother, to feel complete.” Each time the dream crashed against the reality of no money, against the nagging suspicion that she did not know, much less love, the father and that she wanted more of the world than a child.

She was stiff in my arms as if bracing for judgment. I didn’t say anything but circled her navel with my hand. I remembered, years ago, lying in bed with my then-girlfriend after an abortion. She stayed in the bedroom all weekend, lights off, as if afraid of judgment staring back at her from the mirror.

Who was she afraid would see her, the ideal mother or girlfriend? If so, she was judging herself from the point of view of an ideal woman that does not exist. A fiction kept alive by conservatives, an ideal mother generations of women have struggled to be free from or to become.

Unwanted babies are the truth of a conservative ideology that returns women to the home, criminalizes abortions, cuts affirmative action and merges church and state. Black poor women are cornered in an isolated life. As the walls close in, many will reach for a connection to something larger than herself.

A child gives her a cause to believe in, an innocent being to love. If she can’t love who she is, she can love herself through her child, in the hope that it will justify her failed life.

I put the condom away and we held each other instead. In silence we locked our limbs around each other. I didn’t know what to say, after hearing her, except that I didn’t want to wage a war against history over her body.