beatrice_otter: BSG's Six with red Cylon eyes (Six)
[personal profile] beatrice_otter
Title: Four Times Laura Roslin Regretted Banning Abortion, and One Time She Didn't
Author: [personal profile] beatrice_otter
Fandom: Battlestar Galactica
Word Count: 900
Written For: [livejournal.com profile] geekbynight in the Awesome Ladies 2012 ficfest.

Read on AO3.

Four times Laura regretted banning abortion:

1) The election. Baltar was a smarmy git who saw other people as disposable tools to be used, fantasized about, and stuck in the back the second it would give him an advantage. The idea of him having a moral quandry about anything was ludicrous to anyone who'd spent five minutes in his company. (Unfortunately, Zarek kept him from going out and campaigning on other ships by mouthing platitudes of not wanting to waste fuel.)

Zarek actually had principles, but he believed in winning more, and Laura did not believe for one second that he actually thought banning abortion was wrong under the circumstances. But he was quite willing to say otherwise to get his candidate--his puppet--to win. Unfortunately, there were only so many times you could say "He's a terrorist!" before people started comparing Zarek's body count to the Cylons'. In the fleet, numbers had ceased to be real. How could you compare the numbers living now to the billions killed? How could you grasp it? People were too concerned with the day-to-day struggle for survival to look at the long-term future of the species, which was why people still wanted abortions even though it did the Cylons' work for them. (That would be a good PR angle, and someone had suggested it, but Laura wasn't going to demonize people for doing something that, in other circumstances, would be their right. Not until things got a lot worse, anyway.)

The abortion issue was not what lost her the election--the discovery of a hidden, (barely) habitable planet did that--but it was a significant factor. If she'd known anyone could manage a credible campaign against her, she would have waited until after the votes were counted.


2. A month after they settled on New Caprica, the mother of one of her students died. It wasn't actually the abortion itself that killed her, done clandestinely in the back of a tent which couldn't be kept sterile even by the best intentions. It was the infection she caught while recovering, which went untreated until it was too late out of fear that going to a regular doctor would reveal the illegal procedure.

The ban on abortion was supposed to increase the population, not decrease it.


3. Sophia was a prostitute. Before the end of the world, she had been a high-class courtesan, traveling to a new lover. Now, there was no high-class anything, and her other skills (she'd been studying art history, with an aim to becoming a museum curator when she retired) were irrelevant. She wasn't suited to being a mother either by temperament or by profession. Laura had nothing against prostitutes, but she did regret Sophia's son Alessandro's life. She wasn't sure it would have better never to have been born than to be neglected, but it might have been. Laura didn't see Alessandro hardly at all, though she saw Sophia quite a lot as the other woman tried to keep herself in the circles of power.

Still. At least Sophia earned enough to provide for her son's physical needs, and even a toy or two, which was more than many parents could say these days.

4. Anti-depressants and psychiatric medication had run out shortly after the Fleet fled. Several ships had stockpiles of painkillers, antibiotics, and the like; one or two even had cancer medications. But psychiatric medications were idiosyncratic enough that only a fully fledged general pharmacy would carry a supply, and shipboard dispensaries tended to operate on the assumption that all they needed were general supplies for injury or short-term illness, and that if you wanted anything more specific you would visit a planetside doctor.

Maryam's meds had run out less than a month after the end of the world, they later found out. Nobody had noticed, because everyone was depressed, and Maryam had been traveling alone. She'd gotten pregnant--no one knew who the father was--and she'd been all right until after the birth. Then, she'd taken her child (a girl, though as far as anyone knew she hadn't named it) and walked out an airlock.

Given what they could piece together of her medical history, post-partum depression was inevitable. More accurately, post-partum depression added to her existing mood disorder. She should never have had the baby, and her condition fit the exemption clause for the mother's health. Maryam could have had an abortion quite legally, for the law prioritized the mother's health and survival over that of the fetus. But they hadn't publicized that, because they didn't want to encourage people to try and fake medical histories to get them the exemption. After all, it wasn't as if you could call up their previous doctor and ask. The doctors all knew, but Maryam hadn't told the one who did her prenatal care about her history of depression, so the doctor had had no reason to tell her.

They did make sure the medical exemption clause was well-publicized after that, and it was possible Maryam wouldn't have used it if she'd known about it. But she should at least have had the option.


And one time she didn't:

Every time she looked at the population stats. The whiteboard on her wall was updated every day with the number of the entire human population. It went down far, far, too often. But sometimes, sometimes it went up

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