10/17/2008 08:54 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Red State , Chapter Six: Waiting

A hundred plus years ago runaway slaves escaped to the North, pursued by their owners and the federal marshals. I was teaching my law students about the legal battles over the runaway slaves when I suddenly realized that this was what the world could be like if the Court overturned the abortion decision, and the states divided, slave and free. As the pro-choice majority of the Supreme Court has dwindled to a few old Justices, legal scholars predict a world eerily like America before the Civil War, with women fleeing anti-abortion states, the authorities a few steps behind. I wrote about that very real prospect in the Washington Post.

But there's nothing like fiction to engage the heart. What would it feel like to live in the world like the one the law professors coldly imagine? Starting with Lucy hiding in the claustrophobic confines of her brother's gem safe, and continuing every Tuesday and Friday until the heroine meets her fate, I will publish at this site an installment of her adventures and an imagined, terrifying, but not unthinkable America in the time after Roe. View previous chapters here.

Chapter Six

Richard was waiting anxiously by the bedroom door.

"I think she'll be okay," Howard said. "She doesn't know where the house is, because she was completely unconscious when we brought her here, and we'll blindfold her when we take her out. Who knew she was going to start wandering around like that?"

Richard nodded agreement, his fair hair falling over his forehead. "Anyway, I'm not sure they would do anything more to us for being gay than running the Road. And I don't know how much longer we are going to get away with it, anyway. The counselors are starting to come once a week, asking Faith and me why we don't have children."

"They're coming here, too. We're going to have to move, I think. Next time we move someplace, we have to bring a baby. Maybe the Guides will have a baby we can adopt. I hate to leave this beautiful house, though. And it's so perfect for the Road."

Richard gave a whispered hoot of laughter. "Going native? Howard Brown falls in love with Richmond, the capital of the old Confederacy, home to the Heritage Plantation Foundation, drafters of the new constitution of the Commonwealth of Virginia, providing, among other things, that no legislature may ever pass a law protecting the rights of gays. Boy, what a few Greek columns will do to a gay boy!"

"You stop that! I am as radical as you are. This whole two household partnership was my idea. If it weren't for gays like us, there would be no Rainbow Road. We moved here when no one was doing anything to get those gay kids out. And spoiled darlings like this tall drink of water with the snoopy disposition would just have to rot in their fathers' arms. Sometimes I feel like the last radical left in America."


"I'd be a lot calmer," Howard answered, "if I knew where that damn doctor was. He knows where we live." He began to pace around and chew his nails, as he did when things got tense.

"Come here sweetie," Richard said, "and let's forget our troubles for one more night."