I met a woman who is pro-life and doesn’t realise it. She’s one of those people with grit and strength learnt through hardship yet without the hard shell of bitterness that many battlers wear. Let’s call her Rachel. Before the law called her an adult, she had done many adult things. Drugs. Alcohol. Sleeping rough. Sex in exchange for a place to lay her head. And at sweet 16 she was pregnant, a child about to bear her own child. Rachel smiles and laughs through the telling of her story, slowing to emphasise the gut-wrenching bits, but not lingering there long. It’s in the past now. The present is her focus – how could it not be when it involves a happy toddler and the rollercoaster of motherhood! Why did you keep your baby? I ask. She was the typical candidate: young, emotionally unstable, no money and in the vice of substance abuse. “It never crossed my mind to abort my baby,” she says. “I couldn’t tell you why.” She pauses, eyes travelling to an …
The night of Rachel’s 16th birthday was the first she slept rough on a park bench in Launceston.
It was winter. None of her family called. Her boyfriend said she was a “Slut!” and pushed her out the door.
Sweet 16, it was not.
Rachel slept rough for a week before she started exchanging sex for a place to sleep.
How did it get this bad?