What Happens When the First Baby Is Born on the Moon?
A lunar delivery would be dangerous — and costly
In his new book The Day It Finally Happens, journalist Mike Pearl imagines future scenarios that seem absurd now, but will one day be a (complicated) reality. Here’s what might happen the day a baby is born on the moon.
“You may leave the delivery room at any time,” Nurse Collins kept telling her. “It’s your right.”
But of course Alexandria couldn’t just leave the delivery room. That made no sense. Sure, she could get up easily enough. That was the nice thing about the moon’s light gravity, one-sixth the strength of Earth’s. Tasks like getting out of a hospital bed while in labor are a whole lot easier on the moon. But where would she go?
It wouldn’t help to give birth in the hallway of Moon Base Hispaniola’s medical center, since Collins would still be there, ready with all her forms. She and Francisco could dart out the automatic doors of the lobby, and then what? Birth the baby themselves in the middle of Concourse A? Were they supposed to hop on the tram back to their residential block, fill the bathtub and perform a water birth? That would have been a terrible idea for a million reasons, only one of which is that it would use up a week’s worth of water rations.
Nope, she was stranded, and completely at the mercy of whatever these consent forms said. And they were long. According to the fine print in the Hispaniola Residential Compact, giving birth was considered elective medical care — never mind that once you’re pregnant, there’s nothing elective about giving birth. An abortion, unsurprisingly, would have been covered.
Alexandria had medical insurance, of course, through her employer. And they had never specifically mentioned anything about not covering the costs associated with delivery. Her brother Marco, a lawyer, had assured her that giving birth was technically legal on the moon. But the Hispaniola council had issued a non-binding resolution stating their preference that she abort.
Alexandria felt the baby move. It was almost time. It took all her strength not to instinctively push.
“They’re making an example of us,” Francisco said. “They can’t make giving birth…